Where your candidates stand on the budget, road upgrades
KEEPING rate increases under the consumer price index and delivering major road improvements are some of the key issues your candidates have promised if elected as mayor.
The Fraser Coast will go back to the polls to decide their next mayor in less than two weeks.
The Chronicle asked your candidates a number of questions on their first budget and how they would improve the region's roads.
The questions, and your candidates' responses, are below.
1. If elected, what do you want to implement in your first budget?
2. Will you commit to a zero per cent rate rise or a rates rise under the consumer price index in your first budget?
3. What will be a major focus in your first budget?
4. What strategies will you implement to improve the region's roads? Will this include more funding for road projects/improvements or lobbying the State/Federal Governments for assistance with these roads?
1. We need to pass a budget this year that looks after the needs of the whole community whilst planning for the future.
2. The budget currently being drafted by the council is based on a zero increase in the total amount of rates collected (so not even going up by CPI). It is a valuation year, so we cannot control some individual rises and falls, but what we can control will be frozen.
3. My major focus would be to ensure that the infrastructure we are delivering is meeting the needs and expectations of the community. As representatives, we need to look at where we are going and what we need to be planning for.
4. The council needs to work better with State and Federal governments on identifying needs and delivering road upgrades and improvements. We need to be able to cooperate constructively with other levels of government on behalf of our community. This will be a priority for me.
1. The mayor has one vote at budget time, it is the mayors budget but the mayor needs the support of the elected body.
If elected I would want to continue our CCTV program across the Fraser Coast, public safety region wide has been a topic during this election campaign.
I will also focus on Capabilities Fraser Coast and get out and sell our region to the business community.
With the continued upgrades to the Bruce Highway, the Fraser Coast is becoming more attractive to business and nearer to the South East and we need to be ready to take these opportunities.
Maryborough boasts a proud manufacturing history that the region needs to sell to the rest of the world.
The Fraser Coast is home to many innovative businesses and leaders in their respective fields and we need to refocus and celebrate our business successes and use their stories as tools of attraction.
We need to invite our business success stories to become our regional ambassadors to assist investment attraction.
The development of a united business community to attract new business, lobby service providers and government will be a focus.
2. Going forward the commitment to any rate rise or capping is not in the best interest of the council or community.
As our region continues to grow council needs to ensure the 10 year capital works program is on track and funded. As the cost of doing business increases for everybody, council needs to be committed to business improvement to deliver the services the community demand.
3. Infrastructure for future growth (roads, drainage and smart lighting region wide), progression of the Hervey Bay CBD project, progression of the Maryborough Military Trail Projects and the Capabilities Fraser Coast.
4. The first stop if elected will be the Federal and State Transport Ministers and ask them for assistance with our regional road networks; the Fraser Coast is a massive region and we need help with the upkeep of many of our rural roads, as we do not have the rate base to support our network.
We have many rural bridges that need replacing as well as intersections right across the region that are under stress; meeting the expectation of the community going forward is going to be a challenge without assistance.
I publicly stated at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Hervey Bay on Wednesday to the State Member that I would like to have a discussion with state government about Council taking over the management of Boat Harbour Dr and the state constructing the Boundary Rd extension.
Boat Harbour Dr is struggling to handle the traffic and I think this is a reasonable request as a cross-city link for Hervey Bay.
1. Focus on efficient approaches to all council services to minimise the need for rate rises. To control any remaining councillors misbehavior and direct council forward in a professional manner.
2. I will commit to an absolute rate freeze. Zero percent. There should be enough savings from clever planning to cover the value of any rise. Think smarter.
3. I come from an infrastructre providing workplace. My main focus will be on clever ways to create better roads and infrastructure services, by observing whether council itself is more efficient than contractors to carry out its own works.
The region has a large percentage of capable workers to join council in these projects. To tidy up the high volume of minor projects.
To promote the Fraser Coast region as one of the most tidiest with its services. This will bring new residents and visitors to our region.
4. I have worked in roadworks contracts throughout the Fraser Coast. I have great knowledge and main roads contacts.
I would continuously apply for support from both state and federal levels to better our roads and infrastructure beyond council standards.
Our infrastructure is the most important aspect of council services.
1. The removal of the $75 Infrastructure Levy Fee - this is what our rates are for. I will look at how the base rate was introduced and revert back to cents in the dollar on the value of land.
2. There is no need for any increase at all. 80% of ratepayers pay the minimum rate.
If we reverted to cents in the dollar 40% of ratepayers would benefit immediately and this would lower their rates.
This requires only a slight amendment to the legislation being the only fair way to go.
3. Vital Infrastructure - instead of beautification, the focus will be on practical application.
I will ensure compliance of the Local Government Act and validate rates with appropriate motion at Council meeting.
4. Local councils have responsibility for the management of assets like road pavements, kerbs and channels, road shoulders, pathways, bridges, retaining walls, traffic management infrastructure such as roundabouts and speed humps, signs, pavement markings and street furniture such as bollards, seating and bicycle racks; with this in mind the focus must be on prioritising the worst for upgrades and improvements.
I will work with State Government to join the road from Tin Can Bay to Maryborough, value adding to many portfolios.
Plan for future parking requirements. Trial a new road with waste products.
1. I will seriously look at the flood mitigation of Maryborough.
2. Rates are high, but they do pay for the things we want so I think CPI is okay at the moment. So I would monitor closely and consult regularly.
3. Reducing council expenditure, trim the fat so to speak and again the flood mitigation for Maryborough and surrounds.
4. I would like to see a surface finishing code in place for repair work and lobby the hell out of State and Federal Governments for more cash so that all new roads especially main arterials to be wider.
1. Building a cohesive well trained Council team that speaks with one voice of consensus is my first priority and this will help frame the team discussions associated with budget preparation. If supported by fellow Councillors I will introduce a 50% discount for Council fees and charges including infrastructure charges across the Fraser Coast for new businesses. This discount to apply to any new non existing business types that presents a satisfactory to Council business case and established within the next two years.
2. I will encourage a zero % net rate revenue increase for the Council over the next budget period. This is important as the region suffers from very low medium wages/fixed incomes and therefore residents are very sensitive to cost of living pressures.
3. With the support of a cohesive council team I will focus on quality maintenance of all road infrastructure. I will encourage the operational arm of Council to explore opportunities to effectively reduce odour pollution from our sewerage pump stations. I will support the establishment of an all abilities recreational park at Tinana and explore opportunities to enhance business confidence and viability in Maryborough.
4. I will advocate strongly for the Cooroy to Curra Bruce Highway upgrade as well as future government plans to address the black spot sections of the Bruce. I will advocate to extend Urraween road via the existing road reserve through to Boundary Road. I will also advocate for a future upgrade to the Booral road flood crossing near Main Street. My previous experience with quality assurance and engineering processes will help me explore opportunities to improve quality outcomes for roads so that the job is done right and done once. Roads are also reflective of our culture and therefore must convey a message of pride.
1. Firstly, I will review the previous budget to identify any oversights and wastage. Our rate payers pay top dollar and expect a budget that is balanced between maintaining our services, investment into infrastructure and a contingency for natural disasters and the unexpected. Building a foundation to reunify the councillors is paramount, budgets and decision making will hit brick wall if we don't start working together as a team.
2. Yes, rate payers should not carry the burden of a rate increase when the efficiency of the councils duties have been potentially overlooked. The council chambers have been so busy combating chaos and controversy, it is likely councillors duties of making the Fraser Coast a lean efficient and effective council has been overlooked.
3. To attract investment, expansion and population growth in our region, the key infrastructure is water. Roads are easily planned and built however, planning for an increased population growth in the foreseable future requires increasing our water reserves. Some of your readers would be surprised to learn that there are rate payers in our region that do not have the luxury of town water and/or sealed roads.
4. To attract investment, expansion and population growth in our region, the key infrastructure is water. Roads are easily planned and built however, planning for an increased population growth in the foreseable future requires increasing our water reserves. Some of your readers would be surprised to learn that there are rate payers in our region that do not have the luxury of town water and/or sealed roads.