Mayor's YouTube foray to prime region
NORTH Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers has released a video advocating for the region as she continues working towards lifting its profile within Queensland and securing additional funding.
"Advocating for the North Burnett" features Cr Chambers profiling her "essential and diverse" region and listing funding priorities for the "10,665 innovative and proactive residents and almost 1700 small businesses" contained within.
"For us, bigger isn't better as it brings with it particular issues, the key one being a mismatch between ratepayers on one side and the cost of delivering services for our communities on the other," Cr Chambers says.
She argues that 7000 ratepayers are shouldering the burden of a road network which is the "fifth largest... in Queensland and the 12th largest in Australia," and that, to fund council's annual maintenance shortfall of $3.4million unilaterally, rates would need to increase 42.5 per cent.
"This is not a viable option for our community and I would dare say any community," Cr Chambers says.
Another priority she discusses is eliminating telecommunications blackspots, especially along major highways.
"We don't just desire communications, we desperately need it for our business, our industry and our communities' connection to the world," she says.
Cr Chambers says many issues in the region could be solved by the Federal Government restoring its annual Federal Assistance Grant payments to councils back to one per cent of Commonwealth taxation.
It currently only sits about 0.57 per cent.
"This one change for us would mean, at the current funding levels, and increase of around $9million dollars," she says.
This could fund both the road maintenance shortfall plus an extra $5.2million needed to replace 15 wooden bridges identified as required urgent work.
Alongside Cr Chambers' video council has released an Advocacy Action Plan 2019-2023, which includes other requests of the Federal Government, including $300,000 to celebrate indigenous history at the RM Williams Bush Learning Centre and other funding for investments in water infrastructure.
You can watch the video here.