COVID-19, rates priorities for mayoral candidates
COMMERCE Roma are tonight hosting a Meet the Councillors event at the Roma RSL Hall.
In attendance are council candidates Dennis Hurle, Joh Hancock, Leen Kindt, David Bowden, John Birkett, Sherrill Stivano, Puddy Chandler, Wendy Taylor, Joy Denton, Cam O'Neil, Gabby Barron, Geoff mcMullen, Julie Guthrie, George Ladbrook, Steve Merrick, Mark Edwards, Dave Grace, and Travis Holland.
Mayoral candidates Tyson Golder, David Schefe, and Rob Loughnan.
Chamber of Commerce president Cyril Peet said it was important time in the Maranoa, and the elected councillors and mayor would be responsible for continuing to grow the region.
"We need to continue to grow our region, and tonight is an opportunity to listen to what they have to say," he said.
"We need to make informed decisions at the ballot box."
CORONAVIRUS was a priority for mayoral-hopeful Rob Loughnan. Having served on council for 22 years, including 16 years as mayor, Mr Loughnan said the COVID-19 crisis had left our region in the dark.
Mr Loughnan said if he was elected mayor, he would work to lobby for the region so as not to be overlooked in potential future grants.
He also issued words of concern for the rural sector.
"A couple of cases in an abattoir would mean extended closures, and would harm our rural sector as they rebuild from the drought," he said.
He also cautioned voters of incumbent mayor Tyson Golder's false rates freeze promises.
"There is no attempt to freeze rates. This was necessitated by big spending spree," he said.
Incumbent mayor Tyson Golder was elected to the position in 2016. His big-ticket items for this election remain the same as they were in 2016 - the more efficient we operate as a region, the more we can get our rates under control.
Cr Golder spoke of working with four like-minded individuals in the hopes they would form a majority, in order to freeze rates, ensure better local operation, improve roads, among many others.
"We've got troubling times coming ahead. The more we can make the Maranoa the best place to live, the better it is for our people," he said.
"It should be about liveable communities. Operating locally means we don't sack anyone, we operate it locally and more efficiently.
"One of the issues is by operating locally, we can put a magnifying glass on each area, and find what it is that will make the area grow. This is about each region deciding what it needs to grow - jobs, services,
Mr Golder said his proposed rates freeze would be on all residential, rural, commercial and industrial, which he sees as being imperative to growing the region.
"This is our time to put the Maranoa first for the future," he said.
Current councillor David Schefe brings 12 years of local government experience, and is committed to delivering a growing and thriving region.
"I will, as an independent mayor, bring together a team focused on delivering community's needs," he said.
"Changes are coming that will impact our community, we must be prepared.
Mr Schefe said at a local and state level, he is respected because of his work ethic.
"I also bring to the table a proven track record of listening to the community, and delivering," he said.
Cr Schefe also spoke of his involvement with the My Maranoa business initiative, his advocacy for adopting renewable energy on council assets, and his work on the landmark agreement with APLNG on transitioning 78 workers from FIFO to permanent residents.
"The transition is generating over 100 new jobs in our communities," he said.
"We will be boosting our local economy by $10 million per annum."