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)?
I would support policies that protect the biodiversity within our Shire. It is the flora and fauna, especially in the Kuranda region that many visitors come to see with some being uniquely FNQ, eg the Ulysses butterfly and the Cassowary.
It is this mix of eco tourism and saving natural habitat that places a significant monetary value on these areas. My wife and I continually marvel at the small pockets of uniqueness of nature within the Shire and I feel that this is to some degree under appreciated within the whole Shire.
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?
Tourism, agriculture and the lives of the people within the Shire go hand in hand. People from around the world visit our region for its uniqueness and it is this very bio diversity that draws people to our region. We all have a vested interest in the protection and development of our region.
1. a. How do you think the shire could address extreme weather events that are linked to climate change such as droughts, cyclones, fires, etc. ?
The Council has a responsibility to provide information and direction for the safety of its residents. As you would know the last six months of extreme weather patterns both in Australia and as well as the Northern hemisphere have had significant bearing from the transition period of solar cycle 24 to 25. It is this data and my interpretation based upon my two science degrees that this phenomena is obviously outside the scope of human control, however, these cycles are known and being prepared as best as possible would minimise the effect for the residents within the Shire. Other climate events that we have more direct input on, the Shire should continue to strive for outcomes that minimise their effects.
2. 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)
No one could suggest that the continual polluting of the planet does not jeopardise the survival of the human race. Council should provide leadership in educating its residents to reduce the individual footprint by minimising as best able those practices within the Council. Change begins by a single person – I have minimised my corflutes signs to Mareeba town area and 2 in Kuranda to minimise my carbon footprint. I have not and will not print unnecessary election materials, how to vote cards etc. which would use up valuable resources. This is my contribution that is true to me and I will bring these ethics with me into my possible role as Councillor.
Water & Health & Safety
1. 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 a Councillor I will never hide behind the excuse that we are performing to State Laws and Guidelines if these are insufficient for what the community wishes. The Council may not be able to influence directly changes in private property, but it certainly can set a high standard on its own properties. Just because we currently might meet the accepted Standards, we should continually strive to achieve better.
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 would support practical measures that would reduce erosion and degradation eg restoration of river banks via native plants and the removal of exotic weeds which improve natural water filtration. This could be achieved by supporting and promoting local volunteer groups with information and possible planting guides to enable landowners to restore areas at minimal costs.
2. a. 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)?
Water is a precious commodity and Australia is the driest Continent. We should encourage the community to be self sufficient in managing and capturing valuable natural resources as best as possible. Planting gardens that are more drought tolerant, that allow native animals and insects to thrive, would not only improve our environment but also support the direction of tourism with our diversity. My wife and I have a 375,000 L water tank for our water supply that minimises the load on our local underground water system.
3. 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?
As a person that has lived here for only 2 years I still find it incredible that in 2020 I still see “boil” notices within the Tablelands. We currently run a two stage filter with UV lamp filtration to protect ourselves from water borne bacteria. The Council could have an information pack on how people can improve their water quality.
4. 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?
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?
The protection of staff from any possible contamination and future side affects should be paramount in any organisation be it Council or private. Proper and effective PPE is a proper procedure within risk management. As a person with a science degree further research will be needed to monitor the long term outcomes of these chemicals, however, as this is now come to light there should be consideration of minimising exposure to the public, one possible aspect could be that playgrounds could be closed for a short period of time whilst the chemical degrades its half life. As a Councillor I would support the investigation of chemical free options as they became available.
Development, Industry & Jobs
1. a. How would you help the Shire’s agricultural sector transition toward a more sustainable, water-efficient, and resilient production standard?
We all need to be water wise and use water effectively. It is in the agriculture sector’s best interests to continue to look for ways to become more and more water efficient. This is an economical reality to farmers today due to the high costs. Any education, research or method that Council may find should be shared.
b. Do you think that Council has a role in encouraging the sharing of expertise about regenerative agriculture1 in the Shire e.g. via workshops?
Yes. Whilst there is a focus on large agricultural enterprises the Shire also consists of smaller lifestyle blocks where people live and may not necessarily belong to large lobbying groups. We ourselves have been to seminars on soil structure and permaculture where we are trying to improve our own block and wish to leave it in better condition than we found it. Again, each individual can make a big difference if we are working in the same direction.
2. What are your thoughts on prioritising new economic opportunities (like Nature Tourism) that depend on healthy, intact and extensive areas of environmental value?
All economic opportunities within the Shire should be looked at on their merits.
3. 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?
I was involved at the beginning of the aquaculture industry in Tasmania in the late 1980s. I managed an Atlantic Salmon and Trout farm in a bay on the south east tip of Tasmania. It has now become one of Tasmania’s highest producing industries within the State. The Shire should look at and be open to all possibilities to improve its economic opportunities. I can see as a newcomer that the Shire has a history of doing this, eg when it went from tobacco into other crops.
4. a. What policies would you support to reduce and /or recycle waste?
We at home try to recycle as much as possible. We feel that some education and insight into effective recycling by the Council could help people reduce their waste output. Big business cannot be relied upon to help solely minimise waste. It is only recently in Queensland that single use shopping bags have been banned. The next issue should be single use plastic bags for our fruit and vegetables, plastic wrapping on meats etc. The Council could lead and support this region in people power to pressure these conglomerates to reduce waste, eg take your own string bag and containers. Councils support on this simple action is a cost effective initiative to provide leadership in this field.
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)
There is a lack of recycling within the Shire thankfully Containers for Change is a positive step forward. There are other recyclables that could be introduced to help reduce our reliance on the raw materials.
1. 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?
As an individual at this stage I am not totally au fait with this question. However I support the business of government must be run by the elected officials that are held accountable to the electorate. Whilst Council employees are responsible for performing duties as services of the Council, it should be the responsibility of the Council executive to make the ultimate decisions.
2. 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?
By the question I can assume that this 2 week period used to be in effect. Why has it been removed?
1. What are the three most important things you hope to achieve if elected?
To continue to support and promote Mareeba Shire as a place of diversity and opportunity for people to succeed.
To provide leadership and support to the elected Mayor and hold them accountable as necessary to promote all aspects that affect the Shire to upper levels of Government – State and Federal.
To continue to provide service delivery of Council business to the Shire whilst managing the budget.
2. Are you a member or supporter of any political party- and have you ever been?
No. I am an independent that will make his own mind up regardless of how others vote as a block.
3. a. Do you intend to reply in a timely manner to emails and communications that are sent to you by concerned residents? Yes
b. Do you have any commitments that might limit your capacity to do so? No.
c. How would you make yourself accessible to residents wanting to meet you and discuss issues after being elected? Yes I will be available by phone and email. I also would plan to have published Council office hours to discuss issues with residents at my practice.
4. 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? I currently have patients from the breadth of the whole Shire and they can be relied on to give me their opinion and express their concerns. I have always worked hard to advocate for all my patients and this code of conduct will follow me through to representing all the people of the Shire.
b. Do you think that divisions would be a good way to ensure such representation in the future? I don’t know! I have not been here long enough to truly understand this question and its issues and how they affect the community as a whole.
Dean Mineall threw his hat only recently and we have not yet had time to request his biography and photo- but are in the process of doing so. These will be posted as soon as they are received. We thank him for his swift reply to the questionnaire.
To find out more about the Mareeba Shire council 2020 candidates, Friends of the Earth FNQ together with other groups in the Kuranda region, have asked them for their biography and for responses to a questionnaire about a range of issues including climate change; water, health and safety; industry, jobs and development and council process.
As this information is received, it will be posted online. To see the responses to the questionnaire, you can click on the links below (in order of time of replying):
Our Team 4 Your Shire's answers (Nipper Brown as mayoral candidate, Kevin Davies, Mary Graham, Mladen Bosnic and Mario Mlikota)
To read their biographies, just click on the candidates' names below.
So whose standing?
There are 13 council candidates.
There are eleven candidates for the six positions: Kevin Davies, Mary Graham (both members of Our Team for Your Shire) and Independent Lenore Wyatt are currently councillors- and are standing for re-election.
Ann Bell , Locky Bensted, John Brisbin, Mladen Bosnic, Mario Mlikota and Dan Bird plus latecomers Terry Newman and Dean Mineall are new names looking to join council. Mladen Bosnic and Mario Mlikota are members of Nipper Brown's Our team for Your Shire with the other six being Independents. Both Ann Bell and Dan Bird have been councillors before. Ann Bell was a councillor in South Australia and Dan Bird in Flinders Shire west of Townsville.
Let us hope we can all become fully informed and vote in a council that can lead us into a sustainable, just future for our Shire.