Council hasn't done enough for jobs: Mayor hopeful Blackburn
THE mayoral race has kicked off.
Bundaberg Regional Councillor Helen Blackburn has announced she will be running for the top job in March.
The announcement comes after Mayor Jack Dempsey announced, just over a week ago, he would be running for mayor again.
Cr Dempsey, who was elected in 2016, faces a formidable challenge.
"I love our Bundaberg region, I was born and raised here, it's where I chose to raise my own family and now I want to serve our community as Mayor. We need a fresh approach," she said.
Cr Blackburn outlined what she would focus on if elected mayor at the local government elections on March 28.
"As mayor my number one priority will always be keeping rates and charges low and helping keep locals employed," she said.
"If I'm being honest, I don't think as a council we've done enough to keep jobs here in Bundaberg.
"I'm going to change that and I'll start by always being out in the community listening to the locals. Cr Blackburn was elected to represent Division 4 at the 2016 election.
"It's important to keep a finger on the pulse of the community, to listen and to be transparent in decision making," she said.
"Supporting small businesses helps them stay open and keeps locals in jobs, as the founder and previous owner of Vanish Ink in the CBD, I know this first-hand.
"That's why we need to reinvigorate business confidence in our region to help give our local job-creators and their employees a boost and to fill empty shop fronts."
As a local councillor, Cr Blackburn has had a front-row seat over the past four years.
"One of my biggest frustrations is that transparency and collaboration are lacking," she said.
"I feel that we could be working more collaboratively with the other levels of government to secure the future of this region. There's money on the table from the Federal Government that's just waiting to be spent.
"We could be further adding to our RV friendly status in Childers and ensure that we get Gin Gin that same standing.
"We could be supporting and creating local jobs but instead nothing seems to be happening.
"This must change."
Cr Blackburn has a diverse career background, from serving in the defence force to working for large telcos as a state manager and national marketing manager and running a small business.