I'm not angry I'm disappointed: blogger to run for council
I have a genuine affection for Gympie. I love this town, this region and the people in it.
I fell for Gympie when I spent three weeks here on relief staff with the Bank of Queensland back in the late 1980s. I went back to Brisbane, where you can be alone in a crowded shopping centre, thinking people in Gympie had it so good.
I knew I'd made the right choice to move here when I walked into the Jones Hill store a week after settling into Lasiandra Drive and Bruce Russell said something along the lines of: "You must be that new bloke that works at the Pineapple."
I don't think I stopped grinning for hours. This was a town where people knew each other and took an interest in their town.
Right off the bat I want to make it clear I won't be running because I dislike this council or I have a beef with Division 4's current representative, Dr Daryl Dodt, or any of the other of our currently elected councillors.
But an important part of the role of council leadership is to bring public sentiment with you and it feels to me like they've gone and made a bit of a lumpy bed for themselves to lie in. So as I say to my kids from time to time: I'm not angry, I'm disappointed. What this council has failed to do is take the community with them on this revitalisation journey and adequately answer the questions people are asking.
There's no doubt in my mind our region needed work. Eighteen months on the road with my family showcased for me just how far Gympie lagged in terms of community infrastructure. Some big improvements were made or announced while we were away and I was thrilled to see that.
So while I don't necessarily disagree with all the decisions of this council, I am hearing the questions bouncing around the community.
In my everyday chats and discussions online I see so many other ratepayers and residents have genuine concerns with what's going on and some of the decisions being made on their behalf.
In particular people want to know where all the money has gone and how things are going to be paid for - especially now we've only small change rattling about in the piggy bank. As a ratepayer, resident and father of a horde of potential future residents, I do too.
But even more than that, I want unity and trust back with this region's decision makers. I want to help our council communicate their vision for our future.
Part of what I'll be running on is trying to address the issue of communication with the electorate. They need to stop assuming people know the reasons for their decisions, including those which may be unpopular.
I make my living online. I've long been prepared to fight for things I'm passionate about and I'm prepared to take the hits if it means getting my point across. You want answers. I do too. And I don't care if I upset people by asking for them.
Which is essentially why I believe you might want me representing you.
Within your council you want someone who will put people first; ratepayers first; residents first; you and your families first.
As a councillor your concerns about everyday infrastructure, the roads leading to your home, how we deal with your rubbish, the small business you run or work for and the region you live in would be the big concerns for me. Not to mention the ever increasing rates you're expected to fork out. My job as councillor would be to put the effort into the things which worry you.
And the fact is your council shouldn't hesitate to speak honestly and openly and in ways you will hear what they're saying. That, to me, is core in what's gone wrong these past few years.
Essentially I want what you want when it comes to our council - integrity, reliability, transparency, communication and to not be treated like an inconvenience. A healthy dose of fiscal responsibility probably wouldn't go astray either.
If I do win the support of people in Division 4 in 2020 my foremost concern will be what the people who voted me in care about.
Council is paid for and works for us, the ratepayers of Gympie. And the role of councillors must always be to inspect what the ratepayers and residents expect of their local council, and to bring the community with us on this journey to create and maintain a region we can all enjoy and take pride in and which reflects our collective values.
Blogger, Keyboard Warrior, Mispronouncer of 'Memes', Father of Seven, All-Round Self-Titled Nice Guy, Appreciator of Fine Hops, Coffee Snob and now...
your Soon-to-be Candidate for Division 4