COUNCIL Q&A: How candidate locations to inform decisions
THE future of the Southern Downs will be decided at the local government elections on March 28.
Prospective councillors don't require any formal qualifications but the Queensland Electoral Commission suggests an active interest in community issues, good communication and negotiation skills, and business or financial management skills.
In the lead-up to the mandatory elections The Daily News aims to provide daily insight into candidates' experiences, ideas, visions and priorities.
Candidates will receive a question each weekday, for which they will have 24 hours to respond, within a word limit, before the paper goes to print.
Should these councillors receive the public vote, they will have no shortage of issues with which to contend.
Fires, drought and potential flooding posed complex problems for the region over the past 12 months, and with a global pandemic looming, there are greater challenges to come.
The sixth question asked,
"Where do you live on the Southern Downs and how will that inform your choices as a councillor or mayor?"
"I represent all residents of the Southern Downs and so where I live, close to the middle of the local government area, has no bearing on the choices I make at a Council meeting. That said, living on a rural property with only gravel road access means I have a good understanding of the impacts of Council decisions on our rural residents. My role as Mayor ensures I am regularly in our main towns as well as the many communities across our region. This has allowed me to keep up-to-date with what is important to residents throughout the Southern Downs."
"I live on the northern fringe of the shire and it doesn't really make any differences I will still have to do the same amount of Klms to cover the shire. We will still have to do what is required to help all of the Southern Downs shire grow together with in the great diversities that we have in this great place to live and raise our families."
Mayoral candidate Peter Kemp did not provide a response to this question.
Mayoral candidate Vic Pennisi did not provide a response to this question.
BARTLEY, Ross Trevor
"I live in 'The Hermitage' district approximately 12km east of Warwick. Where I reside does not influence how I will make informed decisions as, I would be a Councillor for the whole region.
I am well aware of the issues that are important to both Urban and Rural."
"I have live in Ballandean, Glen Aplin Dalcouth, the Summit, and now Stanthorpe. There are no division in SDRC. It is extremely important to me to work from the entire shire regardless of where I live. Everyone needs are important regardless of where they live, how rich or poor they are. I would work hard for it. Like I have said before " We are together is time to work together."
"People from Allan to Yangan and every single town, village and locality in between; deserve to be represented fairly, with no bias and with consideration of the needs of that community relevant to their location.
I live on 50 acres close to Stanthorpe. I firmly believe that it should be irrelevant where a Councillor lives as to how they represent the people of the region. It's more important to take the time to truly understand what is important to people.
People deserve to have a say. They deserve to be heard. And they deserve to be valued irrespective of where they live."
"I live 10 km south east of Allora in an area known as Berat, on a small cattle property. Being out here in the northern boundaries of the shire, gives me an opportunity to see what's going on outside the towns as well as traversing different routes into town i.e. Freestone, Maryvale, Hendon, Yangan - to have the opportunity to be aware of and investigate any reported issues forthcoming. This will not be confined to the northern area, but I hope other like-minded councillors will do the same for their area."
"My wife and I are blessed to live on acreage within the boundary of Warwick. Town living in a rural setting if you can imagine. My business takes me all over the Southern Downs and South East Queensland, so I have an affinity for the entire area. My decision-making attitudes and the choices I will form will be based upon my devotion to the area, both rural and residential. I am a farm boy at heart with an affection for the land, but I live a 'townie' life. I know I can represent the entire area without favour or fear."
"I live in Warwick.
That doesn't affect me in any way. I am regionally focused.
I will continue to advocate for divisional representation going forward to ensure that smaller community voices are never lost."
"I live at The Hermitage 11klms from Warwick's town centre, surrounded by various farming and associated industry. Roads, rates rubbish, pests and water are constant discussion points. I am not a farmer but will have an ear out for those rural issues that are raised. Your residential location although handy for local matters, shouldn't make you exclusive to that area, and I look forward to seeking viewpoints from across the region."
I live 5 km west of Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt and I help run our family farm in a predominantly agricultural area. We have creek frontage and water harvesting licenses to harvest flood water into on farm dams. With my upbringing on a working farm I have a farming business background and know what it's like to do it tough with hail storms destroying crops and drought with all our dams currently empty. I have a beautiful wife and four young children who also help on the farm as I did growing up. I'm a farm kid at heart.
"I live on the Granite Belt on the outskirts of Stanthorpe and therefore have greater knowledge of that area than others. However, as a recently retired school Principal from the Warwick education district I am quite familiar with most areas of the Southern Downs. I have represented Warwick at State Hockey Championships, so I have an affinity there too. If there are gaps in my knowledge of certain geographical areas, as a Councillor it is my duty to fill them and my responsibility to represent and advance all parts of the Southern Downs."
"I relocated from Sydney to Yangan 35 years ago, I know the feeling in the small towns, they are no less important than the major centres, basic needs are neglected. Small towns & villages don't ask for much, when they do it's a major battle. *Water security, for 25 years I advocated for Yangan's water pipeline, now secure, the town would have run dry during recent drought *Town maintenance of Parks & verges *RV friendly bringing business to towns *Concise inclusion tourism marketing *Some want de-amalgamation *town planning changes to allow growth & attract business *They want Inclusion & Consultation."
HARROLD, Amanda Joy
"I live at Thulimbah, on the Granite Belt. Where I live has no impact on my role if I am elected as a councillor for the Southern Downs. A councillor is elected to represent the people, it's not about me or what I think - it is about YOU and your community!"
"I live in Stanthorpe, and has been in the same address for 39 years.
Having travelled to all parts of the region in that time has given me a good sense of location and direction as to where and what residents reside and require t maintain their patch of the world.
No doubt, if elected to council those demands and requests will become more noticeable as residents become familiar with those elected to serve.
It becomes part of life to know those around you and I intend to keep in touch with all ages and genders, as well as cultures, including existing and new residents to the region, who bring new values and experiences."
JENSEN, Michael Damian
Council candidate Michael Jensen did not provide a response to this question.
JOHNSON, Gregory Glenn
"I live in Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt, and as much as I want a good deal for the Granite Belt region (especially water security), I am committed to a the best outcomes for the whole Southern Downs. We are one now, and as much as I have supported de-emalgamation in the past, I have realised that it may not be possible going forward. It would be a decision of State Government, and it does not look any where near being considered. I am happy to embrace our future as the "Southern Downs", and as such I look forward to great outcomes for the entire region. I still want good outcomes for the Granite Belt (obviously), but as an SDRC Councillor I will focus on driving forward agendas that will benefit every part of the Southern Downs."
Council candidate Julia Keogh did not provide a response to this question.
"I live rurally west of Warwick near Leslie Dam. During my 40 years in banking and finance I lived in a number of towns and cities across Queensland. I specialised in agriculture with vast experience in small and commercial business lending during my career. These long-term skills, as well as living in urban and rural locations, have benefited me enormously during my first term in Council in delivering the many positive outcomes to residents, industry sectors and locations across the entire Southern Downs and Granite Belt region."
"I live just outside the beautiful town of Tannymorel, my husband's family has lived here for over eighty years and we decided to make it our home as well. We are not remote by any measure but Council services for us seem to be constantly downsized, cut or close, a service like the mobile library is just one example. Upkeep on the one-lane roads and gravel roads is patchy at best. As a councillor from a rural area, I will always be an advocate for the rural people and make sure their concerns are raised and their voices are heard."
"I live at Applethorpe on the Granite Belt. I think that my residential position will not influence or inform my choices as councillor. I intend to be available to all residents of Southern Downs. I am available by phone or email and can usually respond in a short time for a physical visit to a resident.
I have found, on my travels around the region, that residents appreciate visits from councillors, and I have made commitments to visit regularly. Communication is something that can always be improved, and my place of residence will have no bearing on that."
"I live on a property 25km West of Warwick. This provides me with a good perspective on the challenges faced by those in the Agricultural sector. I also work with charities assisting the community with drought relief. My community involvement provides me with a good sense of what will need to be provided to rebuild and strengthen our economy in the future."
"I proudly reside in Warwick. Should where you live influence your decision making process, no it should not and it must not. We are legislated to represent the best interests of the entire region. I believe I am a fair and informed representative for our entire region."
Council candidate Marika McNichol did not provide a response to this question.
"Within Allora township.
My choices as a Councillor will reflect and address the needs of the whole Southern Downs.
Being a resident of the northern end of the region will though have me very aware of issues and community concerns local to that area. It also allows me a focus on and first hand knowledge of the challenges of the rural community and small towns and villages.
While overseeing the needs of the whole region, I feel it is vital concerns experienced by the small towns, villages and rural areas get to the Council table."
"I live in Warwick. It shouldn't matter where I live in the region when it comes to making decisions about Council matters. In this Council we have portfolios to look after, which means that we have to be across everything, across the entire region.
The Councillors travel around the region quite a lot, to meet with community groups and residents.
I believe it is much better to cover all of the area, otherwise, the danger is, there could be "silo mentality" when it comes to decision making."
"I live on Mt Marley in Stanthorpe. We built a prize-winning home there three years ago - it was designed by Ian Darnell from Nspire in Warwick. This tells the readers two things; I'm here to stay, and I'm happy to use craftsman from anywhere in the region. To be a good Councillor I don't think your address plays any role. Except how early you need to leave home to be at Council meeting in Warwick, or attend Australia Day at Killarney, or go to a trivia night at Allora, or a bush dance at Pratten or Sunday markets at Wallangarra."
"I live at Eukey, right next door to Girraween National Park on the Granite Belt. I have lived, breathed and travelled the Southern Downs my entire life and over the years have developed a great understanding of what it is that makes this region tick. Living in one of the small villages on the Southern Downs has taught me that it doesn't matter where we reside, every single village and town has its own point of difference and as councillors we should be standing together as one community, celebrating these diversities and tearing down any walls that exist."
"I live in Warwick and have done since I was 4 years old. Prior to that I lived in Allora for 2 years. I love this region, and in particular, I love the diversity that the Southern Downs and Granite Belt offers. As a Councillor, I have travelled from Wallangarra in the South, Allora in the North, Maryvale in the North East, Leyburn in the West, Killarney in the East and everywhere in between, to represent the community. If re-elected I will continue to be a representative for the whole region, regardless of where I live."