COUNCIL Q&A: What qualifies candidates to lead the region
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.
This question asked,
“What working or life experience will assist you in being an effective councillor or mayor?”
“I am currently the Mayor of the Southern Downs Regional Council. Prior to being elected to this role I held management positions in a medium-sized privately owned business; in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and in the Australian Army. I have also been a primary producer.
I have experience and qualifications in disaster management, strategic planning, communications, media, asset management, project management and human resource management. I have successfully managed multimillion-dollar budgets in the public and private sectors; and in the last four years worked with Council to deliver four successive budget surpluses.”
“I have past work experience in a variety of fields from tradesman, contractor, construction manager and company Director for companies that have been preferred supplier for Governments and Local councils for there infrastructure. From Dams, schools, water towers/pipe lines buildings, roads, bridges, power stations, Being able to listen to the Ideas of everyone involved from planning through to completion and the vision to know how the product will turn out in the end. And putting some of the Biggest tower Cranes on the tallest buildings in Sydney with a 5 page JSA.”
“I have over 30 years’ experience in Project Construction management in Commercial, Industrial, Engineering and Civil Projects in Queensland, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.
I have also served as a Police Officer in the Queensland Police Force.
These business skills gained under many projects, including Government and Private will contribute to an intimate understanding of our region with our family living in the region for over 140 years.”
“I have 61 years of local knowledge having lived here all of my life and 16 years of local government knowledge as a councillor.”
BARTLEY, Ross Trevor
“I have a good working knowledge of Local Government, given that I have undertaken the role of Councillor in previous terms of Local Government. If elected this will assist me greatly in being conversant with the obligations of a Councillor in serving the community, not ruling the community.
My previous career in Telecommunications, and currently as a Primary Producer combined with my extensive local knowledge forms part of my valuable life experience.”
“As a winemaker you are a decision maker. Every minute of the day with big economic consequences. In Europe I made wines for companies where I was responsible for the income of every resident. In one town I made 6 million bottles for a population of 3600 people. I am a person that stands on my own. The only family I have here is my 10 year old daughter. I am capable, skilled, not scared to stand up for the people’s needs.”
“Life and career skills are like a giant jigsaw puzzle that fits together over time and has made me the person I am. There’s a whole range of skills from innovation in business (domestic and international), tourism, and public speaking I’ve developed over time, which is a fundamental piece of the puzzle. Combining this with my family background in farming and transport is yet another piece.
However, I believe the most important piece of the puzzle is my demonstrated desire to support and stand up for those in the community who feel they have no voice. I stand for you.”
“In my twenties I was a night manager in a business; giving me skills working with people, problem solving on the job, red tape and paper work. Having grown up on a dairy farm and now managing my own farm; I have acquired the skills of budgeting, communication, thinking outside the box, quality assurance, workplace health and safety. Throughout my years of farming, I have been involved in the local community in various positions – such as President of Allora Landcare Group for 5 years. I believe I have the life experiences to help contribute to the role of councillor.”
“As a Councillor twice over (somewhere else), I know local representation and I know what is required to be an efficient and effective councillor; honesty, integrity, openness and straight talking. No political “double speak”, no hiding behind closed doors and no “underhanded deals”. I have been, and still are, a business owner, a logistics professional and now I own and operate my own training and consultancy business. As such, I am a communicator, an educator, an organiser and a person who relies on my morality, honesty and integrity to go through life. I am also, and have been, a volunteer.”
“18 years as a police officer including as Officer-in-Charge of large police divisions.
14 years running a successful small business.
Widespread success in lobbying all levels of government for infrastructure and safety upgrades.
Very high level written and oral communication skills gained from extensive media experience.”
“Growing up in this region I can appreciate the characters, history and landscapes unique to each area.
As a young man – Investigating serious crime while a Detective, listening to all sides of an issue and making level-headed summations to determine the best way forward. Calm, responsible leadership.
As an adult – Travelling and working about this country for three decades seeing what works, what sells specific regions, and recognising clearly the attributes that define us. We have so much to offer to both residents and visitors alike.”
“I have been farming for over 30 years. Our farm grows on average between 800,000 and a million capsicum plants each year. We usually employ 30 to 40 staff peak season and send over a semi trailer load each day. I’m also trained and experienced in disaster management with experience in managing floods and bushfires. Training includes courses delivered by the Australian Federal Police at the Australian Institute of Police Management in Manly, Sydney. I’ve been or currently am chair or president of several community groups such as current president Football Stanthorpe and a past president Stanthorpe Show Society.”
“School Principal – empathy, diligence, work towards specific goals and targets, work to strict timelines
Chair Granite Belt Community of State Schools (GBCoSS) – chair meetings, work collaboratively and collegially across all areas of the Granite Belt and communicate with other Principals throughout the Warwick education district
Peer Reviewer (School Improvement Unit) – gather data, analyse, negotiate and collaborate sometimes in tense situations
Director, Board of Queensland Cricket – familiar with Council operating methods (Boards and Councils operate almost identically), negotiate with organisations, bureaucrats and government officials at the highest levels, chair portfolio meetings; analyse, discuss and approve large budgets.”
“Coming from a secretarial background, also managing in interstate transport companies & working for a Government Dept & Hospitality holds me in good stead. During this time I have advocated for local community over various contentious issues, Water, Health, Sport, Mining, to name a few, having too converse & interact with various Mayors, State Members, Ministers, Premiers & Government Depts to gain favourable outcomes of which I’ve mainly been successful in fore filling for community need.”
HARROLD, Amanda Joy
“I have always been actively involved in the community and my experience includes over 8 years as Secretary on community groups, reference panels and associations including the Stanthorpe & Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce. My work experience includes over 12 years in executive support, 2 years in hospitality and 7 years in retail. I have a deep understanding of corporate governance through my time on the Chamber which will help me in the role of councillor if I am elected. I have learnt a lot about the community, and I am ready to take the next step and represent the broader region!”
“I am a Plumber, Drainer and Gasfitter by trade and profession, having served in local government for 35 years.
Having developed my experience in commercial and high rise construction in Brisbane during the 70s, I commenced as a Plumbing and Drainage Inspector with Stanthorpe Shire Council in 1981. With amalgamation into the Southern Downs Regional Council in 2008, I continued in the senior role until my retirement in 2015.
My involvement in the industry has also been in management of water supply and sewerage treatment processes, as mentor and conference facilitator.
My life experiences have been in community volunteering.”
JENSEN, Michael Damian
“My wife and I currently own and operate the Granite Belt Motel and Pink Poppies Living Creatively in Stanthorpe. I have been an active community member for many years as a volunteer and committee member with many local sporting clubs, local tourism associations, business and community organisations. Prior to this he also had a successful career with Queensland Rugby League, the Stanthorpe Sports Association, the Commonwealth Bank and Suncorp Bank.
I have had extensive experience in financial/business management, establishing and implementing strategic plans, and grant writing, identifying funding opportunities and improving administrative functions of associations I have worked with.”
JOHNSON, Gregory Glenn
“In my young live I spent time growing up on my grandparents farm. Skip forward many years to city life. I worked for the Social Security Department (now Centrelink) as an ASO2 (Australian Service Officer level 2) on a six month contract. I completed a Diploma in Information technology (Network Engineering). I have worked as a level 2 (network) support technician for WorkCover Queensland and also as level 2 support technician for Incitec Gibson Island. I was employed as an Account Manager for Cellnet Brisbane Airport where I managed a portfolio of business clients (Cellnet was a Business to Business wholesaler of Computer hardware and software).”
“With a proven track record working with grassroots to senior management identifying issues through collaboration with community members, I have led teams from design to implementation of sustainable solutions to achieve positive outcomes.
With over 30 years community services experience, I have also run my own successful commercial cleaning business, increasing state government contracts until 2016 when elected Warwick Chamber President. I led the Chamber to achieve financial stability and transparency, introduced a strategic plan and delivered innovative and tangible benefits for our region.
I bring integrity, motivation, business and financial skills and a willingness to do what is right.”
“Debbie and I raised in the region
5 wonderful children
12 beautiful grandchildren
Family early pioneers in Stanthorpe, Allora, Allan and Karara
Retired from banking 2015 (40 years career)
Specialised in agriculture, retail, small and commercial business
Use work-life experience ensuring the region is sustainable for future generations
Qualifications – Accounting and Banking & Finance
Graduate Australian Rural Leadership Program
Completed Company Directors Course
As State Manager active consultation in State and Federal Government drought and mental health policies; AgForce, National and Queensland Farmers Federations
Has been an esteem honour representing the region since 2016
I care about the future.”
“I think the years my husband and I have spent farming have given me so many skills that will be valuable in the role of councillor. Applying a practical solution to problem-solving and the ability to get things done is in the farmer’s DNA. Interaction with a variety of federal, state and local government departments, planning and budgeting are also a key part of the farming business. As is keeping up to date with the latest innovations and market trends. I also believe that being a new member of the council will allow me to have a fresh take and I will always be listening, learning and striving to do the best everyday.”
“I have worked all my life in many managerial roles. I achieved President of North Granite Belt Lions club in 1996 and then became chair of Carramar Home for the Aged, then a member of Ergon’s GRG for the installation on a new power line. In recent years I built and managed a business owned by my husband and me which was very successful and we ran for 17 years. In 2000 I achieved my Graduate Diploma in Management while working full-time in a senior management position. In recent days, I have been co – manager and treasurer of Granite Belt Drought Assist who have provided drinking water to all residents”
“I have extensive experience in the Agricultural sector in my youth and for the last 12 years. I own and operate a 5500 Acre cattle property at Rodgers Creek. I can empathise with the many facets of rural life including the impact of the last few years of drought in our region.
My career as an Army Officer both nationally and internationally has provided me with experience in Senior Policy Management, Logistics and Human Resources Management. During my career in the military I also studied a degree in BA Arts (Honours Politics) at The Australian Defence Force Academy.”
“As a Councillor for 10 years, I have found that you learn something new every day and if you do not possess the skills and desire to learn and improve your knowledge than this is not the position for you. You need to keep current with legislative changes, adapt to change and possess excellent problem solving and negotiation skills. I constantly look to improve these skills by undertaking professional development courses including being a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors. My husband and I run two businesses, and I continue my involvement with Local and State Committees and Boards.”
Council candidate Marika McNichol did not provide a response to this question.
“My previous experience as a two term Councillor.
My more than four decades volunteering in committees of groups, sport and community also had me in a position meeting people and appreciating their concerns and needs, as well as community needs. I was also representing our community organisations at governing levels in the State.
As a former career fire and rescue officer earned community respect and developed an awareness for community needs. I represented firefighters locally, regionally at across the State over two decades as a State committee member of the United Firefighter’s Union of Aust. (Qld Branch).”
“I have been a Councillor for the last 4 years, and have an accommodation business, and storage facility. I was a real estate agent before that.
I have been in business and marketing all of my life.
In the past 10 years, before I became a councillor, I did some small developments within the Warwick area. This piqued my interest in bureaucratic red tape, and the burden it put on developers. Some work has been done to reduce red tape, but it could go further.
Helping find solutions for all levels of the community is what I like to do.”
“I have worked within Government for 10 years (CSIRO, Qld Dept Primary Industries) and I have been engaged as a consultant by many State Depts (Energex, Co-ordinator General, Main Roads), the Stanthorpe Shire Council and the Southern Downs Regional Council. So, I have a reasonable appreciation of how Governments work. I have been a successful small businessman for 26 years, so I know how the private enterprise system works. I’m a father and am active in many community organisations, which all add to my useful skill set. Importantly, I know how to listen and I know how to ask questions.”
“There are so many life/work experiences that will aide in my role, but the one that has the most bearing is the last 8 months founding and working with our charity Granite Belt Water Relief. I feel I was always a great listener and even better problem solver (I have three daughters), but dealing with over 400 families a week, some at the worst point in their lives, has taught me that to truly help people you have to completely understand them. That involves talking, listening and then acting. This council needs to connect with the community and without these three skills, we cannot expect to be a unified, prosperous region.”
‘Over time, I have gained many key work and life, experiences, which led me to being a valued team player, as a current Councillor, for the SDRC. As a committed, team player, my part in the success in reducing the debt from $32m to $20m, achieving budget surpluses, successfully gaining almost $100m in State & Federal funding, which enabled Council to carry out long overdue repairs and upgrades to infrastructure, and, keeping the rate increases down to 2% compared with up to 13% in previous Councils, proves that I have the ability to continue working for this region.’