Gympie Regional Council Mayor Glen Hartwig addressed the region's business leaders recently, outlining his priorities as the council begins to close in on its first year in office.
Gympie Regional Council Mayor Glen Hartwig addressed the region's business leaders recently, outlining his priorities as the council begins to close in on its first year in office.

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Ensuring Gympie Regional Council tender and procurement processes are about fairness and honesty - "not jobs for mates" - are among the focuses of the council as it closes in on its first year in office.

Mayor Glen Hartwig and council CEO Shane Gray addressed a full house at the first Gympie Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting for 2021 last week, outlining the state of the region and the council's top priorities moving forward.

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Mr Hartwig listed roads as a major focus, saying good roads would further stimulate the local economy, especially in light of the fact that agriculture, timber and fishing account for more than a quarter of the region's businesses and are its second biggest export after manufacturing.

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A new planning scheme, RV strategy, instilling cultural change in the organisation, rebuilding the public's confidence in the council, revising the corporate plan and ensuring sound project delivery were other top priorities.

Scott Rowe, Mayor Glen Hartwig and CEO Shane Gray at the Chamber of Commerce meeting State of the Region presentation.
Scott Rowe, Mayor Glen Hartwig and CEO Shane Gray at the Chamber of Commerce meeting State of the Region presentation.

"We have a lot to do," Mr Hartwig said.

Changing the culture in the council's planning department was also high on the list to ensure it was more "customer focused". The vast majority of subdivision applications were coming from "mums and dads".

Over the next "many years", tens of millions of dollars would be spent on pipes in the region's water network and attention also had to be given to ensuring the fresh water supply of a growing region.

Mr Hartwig said that in less than a decade the region would run out of fresh water to supply its population, so options such as raising the height of Borumba Dam were being examined.

The sell-out crowd at the Gympie Chamber of Commerce meeting on February 10, 2021.
The sell-out crowd at the Gympie Chamber of Commerce meeting on February 10, 2021.

Creating an appropriate site for industrial land "based on what is best for the region" is also high on the to-do list.

Mr Gray also addressed the meeting, and announced a new integrity and transparency hub for the council website where ratepayers will be able to view information including how rates are spent and tenders chosen.

"I am fielding four or five calls a week from people looking to invest in this region," he said.