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Meryl Brumpton

Question 1:

The community have expressed significant concerns regarding the perceived lack of consultation, insufficient information disclosure, unquantified financial decisions, and overall lack of transparency in Council's actions, particularly concerning agreements like the one with REX airlines and asset acquisitions such as the old grain depot.
 
What process would you implement to ensure adequate consultation with community, as well as ensuring financially prudent decisions are being made within the chamber? 

Community consultation avenues should be in place for all major council decisions – not just paying ‘lip service’ to consultation such as the recent limited ‘survey’ regarding the purchase of the Romavilla Winery.  I am supportive of the return of councillor portfolios so that the community know which councillor to speak to regarding specific issues (whilst keeping in mind that community members should be able to speak to any council member they wish).

I question the validity of why many decisions have been discussed in closed sessions of council – the legislation is clear on what decisions are required to be in closed session and I think a very liberal interpretation of the legislation has been used to determine which discussion are held in secret.

The incoming council needs to be fully briefed on the council current budget position, asset portfolio, forward projections and what projects have been shelved/deferred. A look at the 2022/23 annual report shows that council is failing on 2 of the 3 Financial Sustainability Ratios and whilst the latest meeting of council discussed the ‘peaks and troughs’ of these ratios - a look at the annual report shows a steady and rapid decline – not a peak and trough situation. 

Question 2:

RCAT recognises the vital role that businesses play in our regional economy and community. With this in mind, we're keen to understand your vision and proposed strategies for supporting our local business community into the future. Could you outline specific initiatives or policies you plan to champion to support growth, innovation, and resilience among our local businesses.

Attracting and retaining staff across all areas, not just the businesses themselves but also vital services such as medical professionals; tradespeople along with retail workers, is the key to business sustainability. We need to partner with state and federal government to assist with these issues including tapping further into the backer packer and immigrant workforce; and addressing the housing and childcare issues. For main street business some more immediate strategies include investigating further solutions to customer parking and more CCTV for crime prevention and safety.  

Question 3:

As a councillor, the importance of having a well-defined set of personal values and ethics cannot be overstated. With this in mind, how do you intend to equip yourself with the necessary information and understanding to form your own position on important issues before voting? Additionally, what strategies do you have in mind to actively contribute within the chamber to ensure that decisions lead to impactful and beneficial outcomes for our communities?

As a councillor, I am only one person and I fully understand the need to fully consult and gather information from multiple sources to be informed and weigh up the pros and cons before taking a position on any item. I will not only be consulting with community members and groups, other councillors and relevant government departments and other partner organisations, but also find out what is working and not working in other local government areas for ideas.

My strong work background; tertiary study; board experience and Institute of Company Directors training means I am well equipped to contribute fully in council meetings – I am not afraid to challenge the status quo, ask questions to be fully informed, and ensure I have the required knowledge to make informed, reasoned decisions.

Question 4:

Both RCAT and Maranoa Regional Council (through the APLNG Liveability Fund) have jointly invested significant funds and time over the past 12 months to support regional liveability initiatives.  We are keen to hear your perspective on enhancing liveability and attracting and retaining a local skilled workforce. In your view, what are the key strategies or initiatives that our local council can undertake and/or support to improve the overall quality of life for residents, while also making our region more attractive to workers and ensuring they choose to live local and remain within our communities.

The council needs to continue to advocate for better, more reliable and cost effective air services to the town – this affects workers; those going to medical appointments; businesses and personal travel. Accessibility is an important factor for liveability and staff attraction and retention.

We need to find tangible solutions to the housing crisis by investing and partnering with appropriate organisations, individuals and groups to find innovative solutions.

Maintaining and improving community infrastructure – parks, gardens, walking tracks, dog parks, sporting facilities, libraries also needs to continue and improve for liveability.

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