Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting, Maryborough Chambers -
Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting, Maryborough Chambers - Valerie Horton

REPORT CARD: Councillors grade their 12-month performance

IT HAS been a turbulent 12 months since the current Fraser Coast Regional Council was elected.

Locals have seen their 11 councillors divided since being sworn in on April 8, 2016.

From the outset it was clear there were polar opposite personalities and ideas on the council when some of them refused to attend a controversial bonding session at the Bunya Mountains.

Just a few months later of continuous infighting saw the State Government appoint advisor and now Bundaberg CEO Stephen Johnston to help the council get along.

Revelations of bullying, a toxic work culture, the mayor requesting secret accessing to the CEOs emails, threats from the Queensland Government to sack them all and the council sacking CEO Lisa Desmond - it has been a busy year for the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

With a quarter of the current council's term already over, the region's representatives have looked back at what they have achieved, and where they would like to improve.

 

How would you grade the Fraser Coast Regional Council?

This poll ended on 07 April 2017.

Current Results

A: Doing an amazing job, could not be better

5%

B: Doing a pretty good job, but some room for improvement

8%

C: Just passing, but lots of room for improvement

17%

D: Needs a lot of work

68%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

 

Division 1 - James Hansen:

Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. James Hansen. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. James Hansen. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

 

What were your main election promises during campaigning?

My major election promises were to continue to fight for common sense, to fight for transparency, for basic infrastructure before "pie in the sky projects", to put people first.

Which of your promises have you delivered in the last 12 months?

I have stayed true to all the above promises, I'm happy to have voted against crazy things such as the sports precinct, and to have had things such as the sewerage in Howard finally on its way to become a reality, also major infrastructure works earmarked in the upcoming Budget.

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Which achievement are you most proud of from the last 12 months?

The biggest thing I'm proud of is standing behind the push to clean up the Culture of bullying within Council, to help make Council transparent, also working with the community.

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

The biggest thing I'm working on at moment is the upcoming sustainable farming conference, it's an international conference and the only one in Australia, September.

If you were to grade your own performance on a scale of A to F, what would you give yourself?

I won't grade myself, that's egotistical, I'll let my constituents grade me.

If you were to grade the council as a whole on a scale of A to F, what would you give the council?

Council a C.

In what areas do you think the council needs to improve the most, moving into the next 12 months?

Council needs to look after the whole area more so in my opinion, and to spend Ratepayer's (our boss) money wisely.

 

Division 2 - Anne Maddern:

Cr Anne Maddern
Cr Anne Maddern Contributed

 

What were your main election promises during campaigning?

I had a couple of main issues I canvassed during the election campaign, the first being a much greater communication between Council and the community, particularly all the smaller outlying communities and the second was to look at the rating system in an effort to make it more equitable and fairer. 

Which of your promises have you delivered in the last 12 months?

As for the communication lines, I have established a regular forum for organisations and members of small communities to come together to share ideas and raise issues with Council.

I have been pleased with the number of people attending and I believe we are making progress in that area.

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

In addition, we will be rolling out in the near future a customer service van to visit these outer communities once a month to provide customer service facilities and a book swap on a trial basis.

In relation to the rating system, Council is currently in the process of working with members of the community and a consultant to review the rates system. 

Many options are on the table. 

No decisions have been made but I believe that this is a first in terms of looking at the whole of the rating system and not just tweaking around the edges. 

Once Council has an adopted position, I look forward to communicating that to the whole of the community remembering that there are community representatives who have contributed to the adopted position.

In what areas do you think the council needs to improve the most, moving into the next 12 months?

In the future, I would like to see Council working in partnership with residents, a partnership that works effectively to develop infrastructure, policies, and a future vision for our community which is the "best fit" for all of our various communities.  I look forward to developing that partnership.

 

Division 3 - Paul Truscott:

Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. Paul Truscott. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. Paul Truscott. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

 

What were your main election promises during campaigning?

During the election campaign, I made it quite clear that I wasn't going to make any election promises, but the only promise I made was that I would work hard in the job, representing the Fraser Coast.

I believe I am working at that daily.

You can't make promises in this role, as it depends on the decision of a majority of the Councillors, not just what one person wants.

Which achievement are you most proud of from the last 12 months?

Some examples I have of working in the role include: Making the change to allow for more RV's into Maryborough. Footpaths throughout my division, particularly for the Maryborough Special School and Fairhaven Retirement Village.

Lots of work with numerous local community groups, local charities and local schools.

New equipment and alterations at Ululah / Anzac Park.

Formation of the Fraser Coast Aviation Advisory Group.

Working with Wide Bay Motor Complex to advance their development.

Working with our Sister City Committee (Leshan, China and Kasukabe, Japan).

The satisfaction of helping individuals achieve results from their concerns. Keeping locals informed as much as possible of what is happening around them in the region.

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

I am particularly looking forward to the huge number of projects that are due to be completed this year throughout the entire region with the funding from the State Government. 

I am happy working with my current portfolio responsibilities of Aviation and Innovation and looking forward to seeing outcomes such as fuel hopefully becoming a reality at the Maryborough Airport, and developing the Fraser Coast Aviation Advisory Group; and for when we can officially open the Fraser Coast Innovation Hub, this will be a great boost for our region.

Council's staff are a great asset worth acknowledging and working with these skilled people to make the region a better place is an achievement to be proud of.

There are more developments in the pipeline and I look forward to sharing information on them as they come to fruition.

If you were to grade your own performance on a scale of A to F, what would you give yourself?

I'll let the community grade myself and the Council on performance.

In what areas do you think the council needs to improve the most, moving into the next 12 months?

Over the next 12 months I would like to see Council provide a united and stronger leadership, to strengthen the community for it to grow from within, building on what we have and who we are.

 

Division 4 - Daniel Sanderson:

Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. Daniel Sanderson is sworn in. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. Daniel Sanderson is sworn in. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

 What were your main election promises during campaigning?

-          Continue CBD Revitalisation - Achieved and in progress - continues to roll out with Local and State Government support

-          Safer City and Community (CCTV and Youth Participation) - achieved with CCTV Cameral rollout across City and also extension of Maryborough Skate Facility - also in the process of establishing a Youth Leadership Taskforce for Region, improved lighting and surveillance for Queens Park to also roll out this year

-          More activity and events in City (dinners, festivals, parties, markets)  - achieved and in process - more street parties occurring this year, new event/s to kick off in Hervey Bay this year as well, a new style market to occur later this year and a new and very exciting event coming to region this year also

-          Grow the RV Market and opportunities - achieved and in process - Maryborough now an RV friendly City - Council recently changed policy to allow RV's into Maryborough City and smaller communities - also airport now being able to be used for RV overnight stays

-          More business assistance and incentive packages - achieved and in progress - removal of fees for A Frames and seating in front of businesses, new policies being created to increase business patronage and standards (Scores on doors program, Celebrate Maryborough program aimed at filling empty shop premises, Infrastructure Incentives Package, changes in MCU process to allow investment and changes into businesses and premises much easier and streamlined

-          Best possible return on investment (rates) - achieved and in progress - keep rates to a minimum whilst delivering strong services

-          Advocate all of rate revenue spent 80% or higher locally - jobs creation - achieved and in progress - State Government grants recently awarded (Work 4 Queensland Program), over $12 million being spent locally for large and small projects, this on top of our budget adoption and projects included in this budget rollout of 17/18.  Some workforces double, also other projects, solar farms, approvals for health and medical facilities, aged care, etc. - all these approvals allow for and create new jobs within our regional community

-          Strong experienced leadership and action - achieving - new projects rolling out, secured investment for new and ongoing projects, facilitating and coordinating new projects and events across region, driving masterplans and changes within those plans (action)

-          Major park enhancements continuing (new small water play area) - achieved and in progress - BH Park seeing new enhancements with solar lights built for safety at nights, Queens Park about to receive over a million dollars through State Government funding for new lighting and improved surveillance at night time which will help build community confidence, allow people to explore City at night, help build investment and new business into City and would love to see a small water play area go into a major park in Maryborough (in progress)

-          To listen, respond and deliver the best I can for you - always ongoing 

Which of your promises have you delivered in the last 12 months?

Majority I have been able to help advocate for and see come to fruition - some are also works in progress which help you remain focussed and deliver on what our community desires and would like to see occur

Which achievement are you most proud of from the last 12 months?

I am most proud of all we have achieved through a team effort, team works makes dreams work, in other words a team can achieve much more than one person.  We have been able to achieve some amazing milestones for our community - I think one standout would be the amazing community responses to our CBD Street parties which are built and created to help strengthen our community and business community (I have attached a couple of pictures of our recent Christmas Street Party)

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

Most can be extended on which is an exciting opportunity for each objective.  One large focus will be to see a new party style event kick off in Hervey Bay later this year and also see a new event for our region also be established which will be announced over the coming months. Exciting plans in store for our region.

If you were to grade your own performance on a scale of A to F, what would you give yourself?

I give 100% effort and dedication in all that I do and will allow the community to make a decision on how they see my and Council's performance. In all that I do, I will always give my best.

If you were to grade the council as a whole on a scale of A to F, what would you give the council?

There is always room for improvement in any team.  I think we are making our regional vision clear which is imperative on delivering what our community wants to see occur.  I want to now focus on delivering what the community want to see happen which drives me each and every day to make the changes people want to see happen.

In what areas do you think the council needs to improve the most, moving into the next 12 months?

I think we need to settle any personal agendas, place any egos or personality clashes aside and work for the greater good of our region - that is I am sure why we all placed our hand up to help lead our region, we now need to ensure this happens and not let anything else get in the way. 

 

Division 5 - Rolf Light:

 

Fraser Coast Regional Council 2016/17 budget - Cr. Rolf Light.
Fraser Coast Regional Council 2016/17 budget - Cr. Rolf Light. Alistair Brightman

 

What were your main election promises during campaigning?

To maintain to be a strong voice for Division 5 constituents. My promise was to make sure the council was financially sustainable and did not waste money on "pie in the sky" ridiculous projects.

Also to manage a good finance structure for the council and to be a strong voice for my community.

Which of your promises have you delivered in the last 12 months?

I still continue to be a strong divisional councillor and voice Division 5's issues.

I continue to facilitate for the community's issues through meetings, grant funding and discretionary funds.

A playground was put up in Craignish; they didn't have one and now that's opened.

And we delivered the best budget this regions' ever seen; a 1% increase.

Which achievement are you most proud of from the last 12 months?

I think the delivering of a very effective budget that recognised the burden on the rate payer.

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

Upgrades for several streets in Dundowran. There are some other projects that in terms of drainage in Toogoom that I really want to try and advance, and achieve by the end of the term.

If you were to grade your own performance on a scale of A to F, what would you give yourself?

That is so hard. I think other people should grade you, not yourself.

If you were to grade the council as a whole on a scale of A to F, what would you give the council?

For some things I would grade it an A; for finance and budget, and for others things I would grade it a D+.

In what areas do you think the council needs to improve the most, moving into the next 12 months?

Respect for each other and the respect for the position of mayor, that's what we really need to concentrate on, and we need to be more strategic, not operational.

 

 

Division 6 - David Lewis:

Cr David Lewis
Cr David Lewis Alistair Brightman

 

What were your main election promises during campaigning?

My campaign revolved around general issues like improving the culture of the council, improving consultation and collaboration; large issues such as resolving traffic problems at Eli Waters and the Burrum Heads Rd area, maintaining foreshore vegetation, supporting and enhancing the arts, developing the Hervey Bay - Maryborough rail trail for example; and smaller one-off matters like saving the Pialba Memorial Hall, beautifying the Bay entry etc.

Which of your promises have you delivered in the last 12 months?

Many of the smaller matters have been achieved, eg planting of trees along the city entry (with more to come), overturning the plan to relocate the Memorial Hall, and removal of fees for the Main Street car park. I have used my discretionary fund to extend footpaths in Division 6, and this is continuing. Various park improvements are in train. Matters like improving consultation have been put onto the agenda (see below).

Which achievement are you most proud of from the last 12 months?

I have been able to secure $1M from the Works for Queensland program to develop another 7 km of the Rail Trail, which hopefully will enable us to extend that to Takura. Under the WFQ program I am also delivering on another election plan to provide better drop-off facilities in Endeavour Way for Xavier students, thereby relieving congestion for the residents. And, with Cr Stuart Taylor, we have amended the plans for Nielsen Park to provide extended facilities, creating exciting spaces, with an extended boardwalk, while preserving vegetation. And I believe we have been able to  provide increasing support to our vibrant arts sector,  including a writers' festival planned for September.  We have re-established the Environment portfolio thus bringing environmental considerations back into focus, including establishing an Environment Advisory Committee.

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

Improvements to council's consultation processes, its collaboration and culture are and always will be works in progress. The distraction of and disruption caused by the disputes between the mayor and the former CEO have meant that plans I was working on in the governance sector have had to take a back seat, but I am determined to continue with developing as good a consultation model as we can get. At the same time I am striving to achieve a cooperative, inclusive and harmonious council. And we all need to work towards providing adequate sports facilities for the region, a task that is exercising our skills both in planning and in advocacy.

If you were to grade your own performance on a scale of A to F, what would you give yourself?

I will let others judge, but I too understand the need for continuous improvement.

If you were to grade the council as a whole on a scale of A to F, what would you give the council?

I think the staff deserve a B+ at least.

They are hard-working and diligent with hardly any exceptions, and it is up to the elected members and executive to provide the platform for them to achieve A+ standards.

The mayor and councillors still have some work to do.

A scorecard of C perhaps? 

 

Division 7 - Darren Everard:

Cr Darren Everard
Cr Darren Everard Blake Antrobus

 

What were your main election promises during campaigning?

•             Continual improvement of the draining system across Division 7

•             The securement of a fixed jetty structure for River Heads

•             Continual improvement of the local Division 7 road networks

•             Continual delivery of improvements to Division 7 parks open spaces

•             Protection of the conditions in place at the Hervey Bay Airport

The Fraser Coast has its fair share of broader challenges that are matters that need major attention from higher levels of government that the Fraser Coast Regional Council we need to form workable partnerships to deliver more for our whole community.

Boarder Council Vision

•             Continue the development of the Fraser Coast into the regional events capital of Queensland

•             The securing of the HMAS Tobruk as a premier dive wreck for the Fraser Coast attracting 1000's of new visitors every year

•             Improve community relations with council to the best of my ability

•             Improve council relationships with the Federal and State Governments to the best of my ability

•             Offer a more open and community focused business model

•             Protect the Fraser Coast lifestyle

•             Balanced planning for the future of the Fraser Coast

Which of your promises have you delivered in the last 12 months?

·         The commitment of a fixed jetty structure for River Heads

·         The securing of the HMAS Tobruk dive wreck for the Fraser Coast

Which achievement are you most proud of from the last 12 months?

 All projects are important

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

The listed project as works in progress.

If you were to grade your own performance on a scale of A to F, what would you give yourself?

I would not like to offer a grade but add that I think my own performance is a work in progress and I have been giving it my best shot.

If you were to grade the council as a whole on a scale of A to F, what would you give the council?

I would not like to offer a grade as I think again it is a work in progress.

In what areas do you think the council needs to improve the most, moving into the next 12 months?

The council is a work in progress and the elected body needs to focus on the important task of planning for the future of the region.

 

Division 8 - Denis Chapman:

Cr Denis Chapman
Cr Denis Chapman Blake Antrobus

 

(Awaiting response)

 

Division 9 - Stuart Taylor:

Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. Stuart Taylor. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. Stuart Taylor. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

 

What were your main election promises during campaigning?

During the election campaign I focused on my achievements from the last term and avoided making too many election commitments.

I did make the following commitments in progressing the following: 

·         Increase construction of footpaths and bikeways. Over the past year Council has invested a considerable amount in footpaths across the region and working to improve pedestrian access. This is an achievement that I and other Councillors are committed to delivering. I am very proud of the further construction and expansion of the mobility corridor. 

·         Cap dog and cat registrations. The cost of cat and dog registration was capped at the last budget.

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

Increase to the pensioner rebate from $150 to $200: this is still going through negotiations with the Council Budget process and has yet to be achieved. 

Support USC's aspiration of 4000 students on the Fraser Coast: Council is progressing Masterplanning for the Hervey Bay Education Precinct and Hervey Bay Transit Centre.

This commitment to infrastructure will support USC's future growth. 

If you were to grade your own performance on a scale of A to F, what would you give yourself?

I give 100% effort and am committed to my role of serving our community. I believe that in a democracy it is the voters that determine whether I have delivered. 

If you were to grade the council as a whole on a scale of A to F, what would you give the council?

I am very proud of the effort of Council staff in their achievements this year.  The parks and gardens are looking fantastic, roads and footpaths are being constructed, development approvals are being progress and our staff are representing the Council with distinction.

If I was to give staff a grade it would be A+. 

In what areas do you think the council needs to improve the most, moving into the next 12 months?

Our greatest area of improvement is our setting our strategic direction for the coming years and respecting the democratic vote of the Chamber. 

 

Division 10 - George Seymour:

Fraser Coast Regional Council Deputy Mayor - George Seymour.
Fraser Coast Regional Council Deputy Mayor - George Seymour. Valerie Horton

 

What were your main election promises during campaigning?

More pedestrian footpaths where needed, particularly connecting schools, shops and residence.

The extension of the Mobility Corridor, including missing links in Hervey Bay as well as further work to connect to Maryborough

Which of your promises have you delivered in the last 12 months?

Major footpaths including over a kilometre being constructed right now beside Boat Harbour Drive in Urangan as well as other ones near schools and shops.

Which achievement are you most proud of from the last 12 months?

The highlight over the past year for me has been working with a great group of community members to organise the Urangan Pier Centenary Celebrations, which was last month.

Which ones are you still working on, and when do you expect to achieve them by?

In the previous term we built the missing link in the mobility corridor at Urangan.

Earlier this year we extended the path out to Nikenbah and by the end of the year it will be extended all the way to Takura.

I think the old railway corridor is a great way to highlight our rail heritage her as well as promoting bicycle use and pedestrian access.

If you were to grade your own performance on a scale of A to F, what would you give yourself?

B

If you were to grade the council as a whole on a scale of A to F, what would you give the council?

B

In what areas do you think the council needs to improve the most, moving into the next 12 months?

We as a group need to better focus on our shared values and shared commitment to the community.

It is easy to see where we differ on specific issues but we have all become involved because we want to see the Fraser Coast prosper as a healthy, vibrant and productive community. 

We need to focus on what unites us, not what divides us.

 

Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft:

Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor - Chris Loft.
Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor - Chris Loft. Valerie Horton

 

(Awaiting response)



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