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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The importance of Local Government

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By Bruce Hedditch, chairman Bowen Chamber of Commerce

ON SATURDAY, March 16, this year, the Whitsunday communities will be expected to record their vote for a new Mayor and for Councillors in their respective divisions.

I applaud civic minded people who have taken the initiative to nominate as a Councillor for the Whitsunday Regional Council. It is a grand way to serve your community this way.

This endorsement also applies to the candidates who have nominated for the position of Mayor.

It is demanding and costly for people to nominate for Council and the public must record their vote to ensure that democracy of Local Government elections remains paramount.

My greatest concern relates to the notion that seems to permeate within our community of the ‘Them and Us’ attitude by Council.

The Whitsundays Local Government Area is unique compared to other Local Government Areas, whereby we can boast a wide diversity of employment opportunities with tourism, water recreation, horticulture, mining, agriculture, minerals, fishing etc.

So, we must eliminate this soul-destroying attitude that one area benefits more than others and the responsibility rests with the new Mayor and Councillors.

Nothing hurts local government more than unfair and unjust Council decision making.

This responsibility also passes to the Senior Officers of Council in their administration. 

It must be objective and impartial and, at no time, should personal interests override the greater good for the community.

Local government is confronting financial stress, as we move forward with the increasing costs of providing standard services, that we all expect, but the increasing capital costs for infrastructure is a major strain on local government.

The ratepayer cannot be expected to shoulder this burden and local government needs to confront the issue of a share in GST revenue; if not’ our future is questionable.

Finally, may I convey to Cr. Julie Hall, the retiring Mayor of the Whitsunday Regional Council, our appreciation for her Mayoral role that was very well supported by the people.

Julie became the people’s Mayor and I congratulate her on those achievements.

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