MP advises Gympie council on transparency, spending and more
GYMPIE'S soon to expire Economic Development Strategy, transparency and confidence in council, and keeping local assets maintained were under the spotlight when Gympie MP Tony Perrett addressed Gympie Regional councillors this week.
Mr Perrett, a former councillor and deputy mayor, said all three levels of elected representatives could productively advocate for the region if the Gympie Regional Council updated the Economic Development Strategy and kept state and federal members of parliament properly briefed.
"It is not only a blueprint, it is a vision for making sure we can get the best bang for the bucks that are spent here and that investment in the region is properly targeted,” Mr Perrett said.
"The council also needs to bring those plans to their state and federal members of parliament so they can advocate for the region.
"We can work as a team if the residents, the community, stakeholders, chambers of commerce, local members of parliament, and local advocates are kept informed.
"Successful regions present a united front to treasuries in Brisbane and Canberra.
"The strategy needs to be current if it is to be properly used as the foundation of infrastructure and funding allocations such as the $30,000 budgeted for the multi-purpose event and sport facility feasibility study.
"I cannot over emphasise the importance of local government's role in creating the vision for our community.
"This region not only has businesses either struggling or shutting up shop we also have to cope with systemic problems of low average weekly earnings and high unemployment, including youth unemployment.
"Every dollar spent by council, and sought from the state and federal governments, should be relevant to growing our region and creating new opportunities.
"Commitments need to link back to the core responsibilities of council and not be made on a whim or for grandstanding on issues which can be picked up by other levels of government.
"Trust in local government is achieved through using ratepayers' money prudently, and transparency and confidence in council decisions such as how money is spent, planning and development, rates, and road maintenance.
"I was therefore pleased to be informed that council is still committed to purchase freehold land for the proposed sporting shooters complex, which had hit a bureaucratic brick wall from the State Government.
"Council needs to be extremely careful that it is managing its more than $1 billion in assets and not falling behind by pushing out funding and depreciation of local assets including roads, bridge renewal, and road planning.
"The Queensland Auditor-General has reported that a $9 billion underfund by the Department of Main Roads on the State transport network has resulted in risks to the sustainability of the transport network and falls well short of target standards.
"It faces a risk that it will not be able to maintain or improve service standards on the network to meet Queensland needs.
"The State Government is not a good role model as it has no hesitation to cost shift onto ratepayers, such as the waste tax and other responsibilities, for council to administer and short sighted water charges.
"As local government only exists through an Act of the Queensland Parliament it is subject to any government legislative and regulatory changes.
"That is why it is using the smokescreen of the Belcarra Report to impose unsubstantiated changes to electoral voting for local government but will also force council to fund the increased costs.
"It is up to the council to fight these changes though they have to remember that the government has previous form when it changed the state voting system with only 18 minutes notice.”