New council candidate focusing on growth of Maranoa
PROMOTING growth in the Maranoa and making our region more attractive to potential residents was at the forefront of Steve Merrick's mind when he decided to run for Maranoa Regional Council.
As a business owner for the past 30 years in the building and construction industry, Mr Merrick was inspired to run for council because he believes it gives him the opportunity to help grow the economy of the district and improve the amenities of all towns.
"The Maranoa has all the resources, but we're just not utilising them to their full potential," Mr Merrick said.
"I would work to improve liveability in the Maranoa, arts and cultural events, parks, town entrances and street beautification. It's about increasing our quality of life and attracting new people to our region."
He said if elected, he would also like to see an Economic Development Unit established within council, with a sole focus on growing the Maranoa.
This unit would ideally be the first port of call for developments, reviewing development applications and conducting programs to help local businesses.
Mr Merrick said this would attract new businesses to the region, as well as expand opportunities for existing business and rural enterprises.
Mr Merrick also believes that council must be transparent and accountable to residents.
"I feel Council need to provide more information to the community to justify their decisions," he said.
"It is important for the new council to be open and honest right from the beginning and focus on the needs of the residents."
Mr Merrick grew up in Armidale, New South Wales, and completed an apprenticeship in carpentry at the local TAFE. He then moved to the Northern Territory, to join his wife Wendy, who was teaching at Victoria River Downs cattle station. In Darwin, he worked as a foreman, building multi-storey commercial buildings for eight years. While travelling through Queensland they were impressed by the Maranoa regions' potential and decided to settle in Roma to start a family in a safe, rural environment.
Mr Merrick and his wife Wendy, have raised two daughters on their cattle property, 20km outside of Roma, and have always had the region's best interests at heart.
"I believe councillors need to listen, be available and promote the needs of their community," he said.
"Councillors need at all times to speak boldly and listen humbly."