Reflections on the first 100 days

Knocking on so many doors during the election period delivered a clear message informing my priorities as a Councillor. “Listen” was that resounding message. During my first 100 days, residents, community groups, sporting clubs, churches and social organisations have been expressing their hopes for the division and we’re doing our best to compile all the feedback to help inform some formal policy strategy moving into 2013.

There are three key priorities I’ll be focussing on to close out the year;

1. Community Consultations – Our first Street Meet, held 30th June, was a great success. We’re rolling out 8 similar events this financial year and hope the feedback collected can meet those “listening” expectations so many residents expressed. The Street Meet is a less formal forum for community feedback, where we sponsor a local community group to run a BBQ, bring along Council officers from departments relevant to the community needs in the area, and invite local sporting and community groups to promote their activities.

2. Raising Community Spirit – The 2nd most common feedback I’ve received relates to the community feel of Mudgeeraba and the Hinterland area. Residents love living in our village and the rural areas around it and comment that even the urban areas have a friendliness and community feel absent in other areas of the Coast. We’ll be collating a community calendar and restructuring some of our major events so they feed into one another creating a momentum that can add to this aspect of living in our beautiful division. Examples include moving the Mudgeeraba Street Party to April to act as a promotional event for the Mudgeeraba Show, and exploring the viability of a Country Music Festival. Of course, our smaller street meets are anticipated to contribute further to growing friendliness amongst neighbours and a collegiate approach to resolving issues with Council in our communities.

3. Strategic Planning for the future – One aspect appearing absent when I took office was future strategic planning documents for the review of residents and interested parties, to help inform our priorities and keep transparent about the work of Council in the division. We’ve commenced the work on a transport plan for the division (incorporating pathways, roads, bikeways, buses) and a playground audit (involving a review of all playgrounds in the area, their capability and expected life). We’re reviewing the 5 year plans of sporting groups and auditing their infrastructure needs (fields & facilties) as well as engaging with community groups who hold leases on Council property and ensure that model works best for them, allowing them to focus to doing what they love rather than getting overwhelmed with administrative responsibilities. We want to make sure that into the future community and sporting groups have the facilities they need to do their work. In this frugal economic climate for Council, we’re looking at public/private partnerships to ensure our future is secure.

Achieving the above wouldn’t be possible without my wonderful team in the Division 9 office. Helen, my Personal Assistant and the friendly face you see in the office every day, is running a tight ship but is very committed to making sure our customer experience is tip-top and we’re getting the everyday matters of Council (roads, rates & rubbish) resolved. Donna, my Grants and Research Officer, works closely with community and sporting groups to make sure they have access to available grants from Council, State & Federal governments and corporate/philanthropic sources. Chantelle, whose role is Community Development Officer, manages my community consultations, collating the data for our review and in the process connects the local resident with the community group right for their need. She’s also a great resource at connecting community groups to non-financial resources that can assist their objectives.

The first 100 days have raised issues relating to rates increases which must be mentioned. We worked hard in our special budget committee to deliver the average general rate increase of only approximately 3% but several anomalies appear to have surfaced affecting Division 9 residents where rates on some acreage properties have increased by significantly more. I’m collating these examples now for a case study that will be reviewed by the Director of Governance, Joe McCabe, so I can report back to residents about what has happened. Please be assured this is a high priority for my office. If your property appears to have been affected please contact my office for inclusion in the case study.

Thanks again for electing me to represent our area and contact my office for any questions on (07) 5581 1883.

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