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Julie Guthrie

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? 

The key word in this question is “perceived”….. Focus on factual information/timeframes about REX would assist discussions.

Pre - November 2021 - Council organised a regional survey, seeking feedback by 23 April. Community Forums were held with locals expressing concerns about QANTAS, with feedback/comments sent to Queensland Government prior to tenders being called.

Post - November 2021 – State awarded the “regulated contract for Central 1 route” to REX.  Negotiations between MRC and REX airlines took place for financial contract for landing/accessing facilities at our Council owned airport. Our two key issues were securing community fares/SME tickets and confirming our local travelagent’s authority to sell tickets. A 4-year REX contract was signed confirming base annual revenue of $1,301,805 with additional CPI increases. Performance Outcomes of frequency, regularity, punctuality and accessibility are embedded in the Queensland RPT with concerns directed to TMR. Any Council’s Airport Fees’/Charges’ concerns should be directed to Maranoa Regional Council.

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.

My vision to facilitate business community growth involves either sourcing new investment/business initiatives or alternatively fostering growth in established/existing businesses. The Maranoa has many small business/home-based enterprises so there is no “one-size fits all” solution. Affordable rates for commercial/industrial categories positively assists operating costs. We provide organisational support for businesses starting up in the Maranoa ( eg one business that commenced 12 months ago, now employ 5 permanent and 15 casuals). We updated the Procurement Policy to introduce a 5-star rating preference for local goods/services with up to 20% allowance for Maranoa businesses. We will pursue a Development Incentive Policy to provide financial benefit to businesses wishing to expand. We will continue to assess Material Change of Use and Planning Applications and consider waiving fees/additional support on a case-by-case basis.

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?

Councillors receive agenda items/attached materials in advance of meetings. I read the agenda multiple times, highlighting and making notations on my hard copy. I seek further information via s170a Requests. I verbally seek clarification/consult with identified community individuals/groups who can assist my decision making.  I attend briefings, deputations, and possible site visits prior to the council meetings. Questioning/discussion takes place based on current Standing Orders prior to voting. Democratic process requires a majority of votes to secure resolution. Afterward I reflect on the decisions made and possible consequences, to learn and seek further  improvement.

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.

Maranoa Regional Council’s current Liveability Strategy contains an action plan with 9 focus areas. This document underpins many council decisions, including the “scope” for the $500,000 APLNG Grant Liveability monies. MRC allocated funding for medical scholarships ($70,000 per year) as well as Childcare bursaries ($100,000) to attract workers and their families to our region. We have substantially provided monies for sporting clubs and recreational associations. We have purchased CCTV security cameras to address security concerns. MRC have many projects underway - EOI/Design Brief for the Denise Spencer Pool: Campbells Park turfing/irrigation; Roma Pump Track; and tourism initiatives eg Calico Cottage and Injune Museum. MRC partner with external groups eg TSBE. Key priorities for next term will be Corporate Plan priorities eg housing shortage and MRC making residential land available.

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