Lenore Wyatt's responses to the Community Questionnaire

Environment



1. What policies would you support to help protect the exceptional biodiversity within Mareeba Shire – and in particular protection of biodiversity in the Kuranda Region (Kuranda - Speewah – Koah)?

Absolutely believe all areas within the Mareeba Shire are biodiverse in different ways, which make them unique; for example the Staaten River National Park is one of the biggest National Parks in Queensland and sits within the Mareeba Shire Boundary. The planning scheme has many overlays, which govern planning outcomes such as the Flood Mapping, Environmental Overlays and the Wildlife Corridors – I will continue to work with and consult all concerned parties in relation to these policies. I agree areas like Kuranda, Julatten, Speewah and surrounds do have unique biodiversity that needs to be protected when making future planning decisions.


2. Do you believe that protecting and enhancing the remaining natural environment is important for tourism, clean water for domestic and agricultural use and for future-proofing our shire? Yes



Climate Change



3. How do you think the shire could address extreme weather events that are linked to climate change such as droughts, cyclones, fires, etc.?

Disaster mitigation is definitely a responsibility for local government and climate change is also a major identified risk to Council and community. Fire mitigation is one area I can see where Council can start making a difference. Council is investigating - leasing large council reserves for fuel load reduction. We are updating our current policy to reflect this, a direct action to the recent extreme fire events.


4. Do you think it's important to reduce carbon emissions in the shire, as a way of contributing to global reductions -and how could this be done? (e.g. building regulations for eco-friendly, tropical architecture that reduces/ avoids the use of air conditioning)

Yes, I am very happy that (during this last term, 2016-2020) Mareeba Shire Council embraced solar energy and have installed solar panels on our two main administration buildings. I am also very happy to say there are more plans for solar installations to offset carbon emissions and harness renewable energy. There is definitely scope to look at our building regulations and the re-design of eco-housing etc. - I will definitely be investigating this further. I am a vocal supporter of renewable energy sources for two main reasons: it is a cost saving to our Shire and it reduces Council’s internal and external environmental impact/footprint.



Water & Health & Safety



5. a) Do you think council should act to reduce soil and chemical run-off into the Shire’s waterways from both council-controlled land as well as private property and agricultural areas?

As the nominated Council representative on the Reef Guardian Group of Councils, I am very pleased with the work this group is doing in this space. Creating awareness campaigns in collaboration with the agricultural sector is paramount, as we all know where our main waterways eventually drain to. This is largely a State Government responsibility, but I will continue to lobby and work with the members of this group to help shape policies and positive action into the future.

b) If so, what measures would you support? e.g. creating a Barron River Catchment Improvement trust to facilitate re-vegetation; local planning laws requiring adequate protected riparian zones; stopping aerial spraying?

I am the current Chairperson of The Barron River Catchment Care Group – Central Zone (CZF). I would not recommend creating another group that would be lobbying and be running similar and parallel agendas to this already established organisation. Regeneration is something I strongly support and I think that Enviro Care and the Barron River Catchment Care groups, through
grant funding and volunteers, are currently doing a great job both in the planting, maintaining and monitoring of sites across our Shire.

6. What would you do as a councillor to support water security across the Shire e.g. council measures to increase uptake of rain water tanks in both town and rural areas; drought proofed public and private gardens (fewer lawns and more native trees)?

This is a policy that should be revisited - we need to look at the current regulations in relation to rainwater capture. I definitely support more water collection, working with the community through education and consultation, and aim towards the drought proofing of public gardens. Our family use rainwater for household use and garden irrigation as we live on a rural property without town water supply.

7. Neither Mareeba nor Kuranda’s water supply are filtered to remove pesticides and Giardia and Cryptosporidia. Do you think council should inform ratepayers of this risk so each household to decide what level of remediation they can arrange and afford?

I am aware and confident that Council adheres strictly to the “Australian Drinking Water Standards”, which are set and monitored by the Queensland Government Department of Health - this information is freely available on the web.

8. a) In light of the linking of glyphosate (Round-up) with cancers such as lymphoma, do you support chemical free methods of removing weeds from children's playgrounds and surrounding parklands?

I was very glad to see the Douglas Shire Council recently introduce this policy. A sustainable practice for reducing chemicals is definitely something that I can see being more of a hot topic for all Councils. There’s also a fine line to walk here around affordability to the rate payer, which is something as councillors we must always consider. I’ll be very keen to get in contact with the Douglas Shire Council to speak further to them on how they will be achieving this new policy and to see the associated projected cost analysis. I promise to give it some serious consideration for the future term ahead.

b) Until this occurs, would you support the labelling and dating of any use of herbicides or other chemical in playgrounds so these areas can be avoided- and ensuring that council workers applying the herbicides are taking all precautions to protect themselves- and the public- from unnecessary exposure?

Staff are trained in Chemical Handling and Safety and are supplied with all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Re signage etc, I would have to look into this further before making any statements either for or against – there is a lot to consider.

Development, Industry & Jobs

9. a) How would you help the Shire’s agricultural sector transition toward a more sustainable, water-efficient, and resilient production standard?

This is not really an area of Council’s core business. I believe we have very competent agriculture bodies, such as Department of Natural Resources/FNQ Growers Association, in our Shire who are working with producers to continually investigate innovation in relation to water efficiency and sustainability. This makes financial sense with water being a tradable commodity that actually affects profit margins. Therefore water sustainability and efficiency is of the utmost importance to this sector as it should be to everyone.

b) Do you think that Council has a role in encouraging the sharing of expertise about regenerative agriculture in the Shire e.g. via workshops?

No I don’t see this as a role for Council, but currently Council supports Workshops and Innovators with in-kind support. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries plays a leading role in this space.

10. What are your thoughts on prioritising new economic opportunities (like Nature Tourism) that depend on healthy, intact and extensive areas of environmental value?

I would welcome more Nature Tourism opportunities in our Shire as we have such diversity. I see Council’s role in this to ensure that appropriate conditions
and infrastructure are in place where possible to support any of these economic opportunities in our Shire.

11. Are you interested in learning more about new, innovative industries such as the emerging Industrial Hemp industry in FNQ? Do you support developing local processing and ‘value-add’ industries creating local jobs?

Yes and definitely. I am always interested in anything that assists with local jobs and to boost economic development in our Shire. This is also a space that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is the lead agency for.

12. a) What policies would you support to reduce and /or recycle waste?

• A broad reaching Recycling awareness campaign. • Main Street Recycling- working with local community groups to benefit from this fundraising through the Cash for Containers scheme (especially focusing on Kuranda initially, as I have personally witnessed first hand how the visiting international tourists struggle with the fact we do not have recycling whilst being situated so close to the Great Barrier Reef) • Reassessing and Revisiting a Kerbside Recycling Scheme for our Shire or other circular economy options.

b) Do you think that the circular economy concept should guide council policy? (This might function on a local level by, for example, local recycling of e.g. plastics, glass & building materials as job-producing industries)

Yes, if and where relevant. I was so inspired, after travelling down to Brisbane recently for a Waste Conference, with the theme of “Rethinking Waste - Resources from Rubbish”. I am thinking of participating in the Circular Economy Master Class which is run by two innovative and inspiring sisters Jaine and Ashleigh Morris – the Doers, Shaker and Directors behind the company “COREO”… worth a Google ?



Process



13. Would you undertake to undo the Chief Executive Officer's delegated authority power in regards to code-assessable development applications, and insist that all the elected Councillors should be responsible for these decisions?

Delegations to CEO, or any Officers for that matter, are always being reviewed. In relation to Code Assessable Development applications, I would be more than happy to look at this further in conjunction with fellow Councillors in the new term.

14. If elected would you support restoring the two week period of consultation between release of Council Agenda and Council Meeting for both councillors and public?

I would need more information about how this would affect all concerned i.e. Staff, Councillors and Constituents, before agreeing or disagreeing with this question; knowing how much time is spent on gathering information and data to compile these comprehensive reports. I would much rather see staff ‘doing’ – instead of being in a constant reporting cycle. The existing requirements are set by the Local Government Act.

Personal



15. What are the three most important things you hope to achieve if elected?

• Looking at circular economy opportunities within our core industries such as agriculture and tourism and any other relevant sector

• Regular community catch ups across all towns throughout our Shire. Both as an individual Councillor and as a collective Council.

• Continuing to work with Constituents on achieving personal or economic outcomes

16. Are you a member or supporter of any political party- and have you ever been? No and no

17. a) Do you intend to reply in a timely manner to emails and communications that are sent to you by concerned residents?
Yes, as I always endeavour to do.

b) Do you have any commitments that might limit your capacity to do so?

No, I am very aware of what is involved with being an active Councillor and I have thoroughly enjoyed the honour of being elected in this role by voters in the Shire.

c) How would you make yourself accessible to residents wanting to meet you and discuss issues after being elected?

I am accessible by email, mobile phone and meetings.

18. a) How would you balance your obligation to represent the large voting bloc in Mareeba with giving proper regard to the views of small outlying communities?

By continuing on as I have in this term ensuring I keep in regular contact with all that is happening. I have also developed some excellent networks in all small outlying communities within our Shire. These residents never hesitate to pick up the phone or send me an email if they feel there is something that should be brought to my attention - I’m sure that won’t change. Also, a principal part of the Local Government Act states that we as Councillors must act in the best interests of the whole of our Shire.

b) Do you think that divisions would be a good way to ensure such representation in the future?

No, after serving the last four years in a non-divisional Council, I feel that this is the most fair and equitable way to conduct decision-making and representation.

• All Councillors are aware of happenings across the entire Shire. • A non-divisional Council sees Councillors coming together as a team to solve and evaluate community issues, funding allocations and infrastructure priorities.
• Non – divisional Councils offer more opportunities for constituents to contact/lobby or connect with multiple councillors in relation to concerns, community issues and economic opportunities. • A divisional Council relies on an individual Council representative to deal with the concerns of their collective constituency. Sole responsibility falls upon that Councillor which can often be overwhelming - possibly leaving the interests of that division not being heard. • All Councillors – being responsible for outcomes across our shire - creates a unified Council supporting all of our Constituents.

For more information about Lenore Wyatt, click here