You asked, they answer: candidates weigh in
FOR the next three weeks, The Western Star will be posing a series of questions to the mayoral and councillor candidates for the Maranoa Regional Council ahead of the March 28 Local Government election.
This week, the focus is on population and regional growth.
We posed the same two questions:
1. How do you propose Maranoa Regional Council support growing the population of the region over the next 20 years?
2. What sectors do you believe need to be better supported to attract more people to the region? How can this be done?
The next few weeks will see our candidates answer your queries, so let us know about them.
- If you have a question you would like to pose to candidates, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. In the same way councils always have – providing better council services and roads and supporting social infrastructure. Advocacy will be the key – ensuring the state and federal agencies are expanding and improving their reach to the entire community so potential residents have improved confidence in health, childcare and education services. The reinstatement of the Centrelink office in Roma is a logical first step.
2. The traditional pillars of our community have long been agriculture, small business and industry, both independent of and supporting the resource sector! I am always aware of the less fortunate throughout our communities though and it is usually that sector that needs extra attention to secure jobs and other opportunities
1. To support growing the population of the Maranoa over the next 20 years, my number one priority would be to operate council locally in each area of the Maranoa. This model would guarantee increases in population, affordability and community happiness.
2. All sectors need support, as they are struggling with similar issues. Operating locally will be the support system that industry and residents need – increasing liveability and attracting people to our region. I will bring initiatives to council chambers to support every sector, eg: Partners Policy and Attractive Communities policy.
1. Population growth is linked to jobs growth. Therefore moving forward we need to strategically invest into areas that will grow our economy and generate jobs. The Big Rig development is one such example. Tertiary education is an area that has huge potential for growth. The Country University or similar hybrid model needs to be a high priority for the new council. The other area is converting existing workers who are fly-in fly-out to local residents. An example of how this has been done is the APLNG Landmark Agreement over the future of the Reedy Creek and Bungaroo Camps.
2. Rural Sector – Continued investment into the Roma Saleyards. Also a renewed focus on rural roads.
Resource Sector – Work with the Resource sector to convert more of their workforce to live locally.
Tourism Sector – Grow regional tourism because this has a direct benefit to all communities in our region.
Education Sector – Grow the tertiary education sector.
Commercial & Industrial Sectors – Continue to refine and improve our procurement and assist businesses by improving digital connectivity/ marketing.
1. MRC should proactively focus on our youth and advocate for greater trade training opportunities, with students undertaking further Traineeships/Apprenticeships. MRC could also initiate a council-based training hub, aligned with education sector, supporting local businesses who host these students, thus growing both future businesses and population by retaining them locally as married employed adults.
2. The self-employed/small business sector is our economic backbone and more MRC support through Economic Development could foster business growth and harness additional economic opportunities. MRC economic advisers could offer case management for these businesses to capitalise and actively “seek out” additional market initiatives to expand, increase income and attract further employees.
1. We need to diversify our industry bases to secure more jobs and opportunities. My goal is to partner with industry and Government to introduce a “Maranoa Homebuyers Grant” – a financial incentive to purchase an existing house in our region – encouraging families to invest so we can reap benefits for generations to come.
2. Tourism binds all of our communities together, all of our towns have tourism assets that when showcased together will hold our visitors for extra nights and stimulate our economy. Council’s role is to secure funding and work with tourism groups and small businesses to upgrade and offer new drawcards.
1. The Maranoa region has a strong agricultural base with a significant resource sector presence as well as being positioned along key drive trails travelled by tourists. By supporting a diverse range of industries it allow the region to survive the peaks and troughs that affect all industries.
2. Council need to support the small to medium private business in all our towns,
Council need to give some incentive by rates reduction, spend more money locally, by doing this you implement the flow on affect. This means the local business can employ more people who intern start families, more residents more growth.
1. To grow our population we need to provide and continually upgrade our great facilities, these include and are not limited to Recreation Areas such as the Big Rig, Mitchell Spa, Surat River Walk and Judds Lagoon. It is a constant cycle of growing our population and growing our facilities. They each must increase at the same rate.
2. We have three main sectors in the Maranoa. They are Tourism, Agriculture and the Resource Sector. We need to capture our tourist dollars by promoting the entire region to our visitors. Support our Agriculture sector by lobbying governments to help through the tough times. Last but not least work side-by-side with the Oil and Gas community to reach the best outcomes for everyone.
1. MRC can grow the population with employment opportunities and improved liveability. Encouraging new businesses, helping to expand existing business, promoting rural enterprise, lobbying government for services, sourcing materials, consultants and contractors locally, developing tourist facilities and events, encouraging oil and gas workers to live locally and beautifying the towns.
2. Council needs to support our businesses and rural sector through an Economic Development Unity, encouraging the oil and gas workers to town with their families, lobbying our political representatives for services, support for our existing aged care and health care industries including service providers to the NDIS and youth.
1. Growth in population is a goal set by many small communities, however, sustainability is key. Population growth can be detrimental in some cases, if existing infrastructure, water, sewerage, gas, road network, rail, power grid, rubbish and services, cannot cope, it can place extra burdens on services we rely on daily.
I feel we should look at what we currently have in place, and determine the services that will need to be upgraded in the coming years. Before committing to growth for the sake of growth.
2. Jobs: Local business needs to be thriving in order for them to require extra staff, council should do whatever is practical to support local businesses in all of our regions.
Attract new businesses to area: Reduce red tape and lengthy waits for building permits and development applications, try to entice new businesses to towns
Tourism, Attractive entrances to towns, some smaller centres do this well already. RV friendly towns, liveability, Inclusive community. Wheelchair access, disability services.
Minimise fly in fly out, where practical.
1. Population growth will come about by making the Maranoa more attractive through reasonable & affordable rates for businesses & residents which attract more people to the area. If we operate locally in each area that will stimulate growth & with reasonable & affordable rates will attract more people.
2. All sectors through a more liveable Maranoa due to reasonable and affordable rates, better roads & buying locally.
1. Economic development needs encouragement and support through red tape reduction. Council should support appropriate business developments, existing and new, which will provide opportunities to grow our population. Council must also meet service expectations of the community to ensure liveability and make our region attractive to both business and residents.
2. Agriculture underpins our region economically, followed by mining and government, which in turn support our local businesses. Improving liveability, training opportunities and supporting major sectors will allow sustainable growth. Maintaining infrastructure, providing key services and meeting business expectations will improve the Maranoa’s ability to attract people to the region.
1. If we can make setting up business – expanding business a far easier procedure people will look to expand and grow. With business comes people, comes children, comes the need for more services. Encourage people to spend their hard earned dollar in town.
2. Retail needs supporting to help maintain and grow – support Shop Local.
Medical Services – we need all the services in the Maranoa so that people don’t have to travel for medical. To achieve this we may need government incentives to entice medical staff to come.
1. Assist the Agricultural Sector in the restructuring after the ravages of drought. Re-establish the Horticultural Industry – especially in Roma, Wallumbilla and Mitchell and other places where viable. Support the growth of the Education and Health Industries in Roma and all our satellite towns.
2. Agricultural – support Meatworks Project. Promote Horticulture. Recognise and assist TAFE and higher Education with Roma as the Centre for the future. Promote new Tourist possibilities like the State of Origin Captain Park and visits to smaller businesses for tourists (has been recognised lately as a growth area), Encourage Retail. Service and Professional Offices in Roma and surrounding towns.
1. Continuing to provide a sensibly managed financial business at Maranoa Regional Council.
Support the development of Tourism, one of the economic pillars of our economy, this will lead to more jobs and businesses.
2. The sectors of Agriculture and Tourism need more support from State and Federal Governments.
1. Employment is the key driver and I’ve always found our region good for work. Plenty of people move to our region for work so the growth is there, but we need to retain these people with better facilities and services for young families.
2. Agriculture-more viability more jobs
Tourism-with an emphasis on things to do rather than things to see. There’s a lot of talk about water infrastructure at the moment, a large water impoundment in our region could provide irrigation, recreation and mitigation.
1. Going back to local will help all towns within the shire, which in turn will strengthen the shire, also to concentrate on bringing industries to the area. It will boost our economy and tourism industry. Educating the younger generation on what it takes to run businesses & committees.
2. Tourism, support & grow existing & foster & nurture new ones.
It has been the backbone of the communities, big or small during the winter months. Local industries need to be supported, no matter how small, 1 or 2 jobs could turn into more.
1. Maintain and grow the businesses that have stuck to this town through the tough times, by keeping costs down and encouraging the use of their services. Lobby and advocate for continued and improved technology, health services, educational facilities and transport services. Maintain and improve efficiently services, staff and facilities.
2. Agriculture – still our most important industry. Maintain saleyards as number 1 selling centre. Meatworks – a possibility. Lobby – to maintain strong government services and workforce to counter any boom/ bust industries. Tourism – we must continue to develop, showcase and believe we’re a special community with history, art, culture and a liveable environment.
1. I do not propose to reinvent the wheel, we are all aware that Council have had liveability studies done regarding population growth and liveability, I also believe gas companies have had consultants working on these type of projects. without the benefit of having that knowledge available to us all we are at a disadvantage to those that have had that privilege.
2. The talk regarding the Meat Works at Wallumbilla would be a benefit to the whole region this in turn would increase throughput at the Roma Sale Yards bringing population growth to both Wallumbilla and Roma, we all need to progress this if possible
1. Reasons why people move to an area are often work or family related. MRC should support existing business and attract new business by cutting red tape and simplifying the process through better communication. MRC should concentrate on infrastructure and beautification, as well as maintain communication with all levels of government
2. Tertiary education is fairly non-existing which drives local apprentices to Dalby or Toowoomba to complete their theory parts and offers nothing local for young people or mature students. We are getting a new hospital but will that increase the services? Thorough communication with State and Federal government is a must.
1. By supporting the growth of local business & industry to employ our homegrown young people so they stay in the Maranoa instead of moving away to get employment & never returning. To create a region where our young people stay, families want to live and our seniors stay to retire.
2. All sectors are equally important and need support to grow the region. Tourism and Agriculture are two key areas that need growth especially in the smaller regions where there are no major industries. Ensuring the gas sector abides by the agreement of moving employees from camps into local towns and supporting local business.
1. I propose that MRC support growing the population by promoting tourism in the region, encouraging people to visit, encouraging new business &, helping existing businesses stay in business.
2. Ensuring the approaches to the towns are maintained kept tidy first impressions are lasting impressions. Promoting the different attractions in all communities.