What next for new Fraser Coast Council?
AS THE new Fraser Coast Regional Council begins to take shape, so too does the direction of the region in the coming year.
For weeks, topics such as the sports precinct, rates, the future of Fraser Coast Opportunities and business developments in the region have been the instigators of numerous debates.
But, now it has been made clear who will lead the region with a new mayor and 10 elected councillors, what will be the first steps of local government?
For new councillors such as division two Anne Maddern and division six David Lewis, it was getting their head around the council process which was at the forefront of their mind.
"I guess our first priority is to get our feet under the desk and deal with all the paperwork which comes with being a new councillor," Ms Maddern said.
As a new councillor, division eight's Dennis Chapman was looking further into the future.
"We need to all bond together and look at where we're going and work out where we're going as a council," he said.
The final new councillor Paul Truscott was just looking to get his job done.
"The first priority is to make sure that the people of division three are represented," he said.
"I want to get in there and see what we can do to start making a difference."
The four newcomers will be well supported by mayor-elect and former division three councillor Chris Loft.
Cr Loft has previously said he would be organising a buddy system to pair the new councillors with those who have done the job before.
Division four councillor Daniel Sanderson was also sympathetic to the new councillors saying they were up for a "big learning curve".
For the other councillors, they were looking at more substantial matters.
Two major elections issues were on division five councillor Rolf Light's mind.
"Sort out the future of FCO and future of the sporting precinct - those are the two big ones," he said.
"Some reports need to be done and then we'll review them."
Division seven councillor Darren Everard was hoping to help build tourism in the area.
"I want to continue to try and attract as many people to the Fraser Coast as possible," he said.
Cr Everard hoped to do so by bringing more events to the region.
Division nine's Stuart Taylor wanted to ensure all councillors understood what was in place from the previous council.
"We need to understand what we have achieved and move forward with the plans."
He said he also wanted to ensure the council was not wasting any time or money.
Division 10's George Seymour thought the first priority was for communication.
"Bringing about consultation in the community," Cr Seymour said.
"Create a council that consults and listens to the residents."
While Cr Seymour saw communication as the first priority, Ms Maddern saw communication as the region's biggest challenge.
"To have the community understand what council does and why, but more than that is having the council understand what the community wants," she said.
Cr Taylor said as well as community consultation, he hoped the region could come together and bridge the Maryborough-Hervey Bay divide.
A different kind of unity was on Cr Sanderson's mind.
"My priority is to make sure as we go into council, we're all on the same page," he said,
Cr Loft, Mr Lewis and Mr Chapman were all concerned about how employment and economic issues would affect the region.
"This council is going to be lobbying State Government and Federal Government to help lower that (unemployment)," Mr Chapman said.
"We've got to look at the bigger projects - bringing industry into Maryborough too."