‘We need a change’: local butcher in council race
POPULAR Roma butcher and town stalwart George Ladbrook has announced his plans to become a Maranoa councillor at next month’s Local Government elections.
This week the businessman launched his bid for a spot on the Maranoa Regional Council with a campaign focussed on increasing accesibility to councillors and curbing council spending.
Born-and-raised in Roma, Mr Ladbrook thinks there’s a lot that can be done around the region, and he’s excited to finally do what he’s always wanted to do, pending his election at next month’s council election.
Known around town as the friendly face behind the counter at Ladbrook’s Butchers, Mr Ladbrook has also owned abattoirs over the years, and lives on a family property north of Roma.
“Running for council is something I’ve always wanted to do. I just want the region to work, and be a good place for everyone,” Mr Ladbrook said.
“One of the big things for me is I would prefer councillors to not have their own council car. “We could save a lot of money by only having a pool of one or two cars instead of seven councillors all using their own car which the ratepayer pays for.
“We could use that money for local community things, like with things to help our young ones.”
Mr Ladbrook said he was aware of issues with keeping the youth entertained in town, and said he wanted to ensure there’s more activities and support to keep them out of the streets.
“We could provide them somewhere to go and have a bit of care, like a halfway house or something,” he said.
“Where our young ones can go and get some care until the problem is fixed.”
“All levels of government and the community need to work together but these are our community’s children.”
Supporting small towns and local business is another priority for Mr Ladbrook, particularly ensuring local contractors have a better shot at big works.
“It seems to me that the big fellas get the jobs, not our local blokes,’ he said.
“There seemed to be a bit of concern with some jobs such as the saleyard development. While this issue has been addressed to an extent, it needs to be continued.
“The big companies don’t buy the new cars or the groceries or rates, so if we can get local contractors to get these jobs we are helping improve the town, keep residents here and guarantee the continuation of services.
“If our smaller towns like Injune, Wallumbilla, Mitchell and Surat are all thriving, then the whole region will - we need to help them move forwards.”
Mr Ladbrook said he thought tourism in the region had been positively addressed, however the longevity of the livestock selling interest needed to be prioritised.
“The new Saleyards complex has been completed, however unless we maintain our position as the number one selling point, we will have nothing to show,” he said.
“I think we need to have a yarn to the sellers and the buyers, they are our customers,” he said.
“We’ve got to keep them happy and find out what we need to do, because we want to be the best and keep moving forward. We need to support our agents and keep our customers happy.”
Mr Ladbrook won’t let being a councillor get in the way of running his beloved butchery, instead, he’s hoping to merge both roles and make himself more accessible to constituents.
“Most of the time when not on council duties I’ll be in the shop, so I want people to feel free to come in and see me and tell me what the want fixing,” he said.
“If they’re not happy about something, they should tell me and we can do something about it.
“We really need to continue to improve on work done by previous councils and improve our wonderful towns.”