Planning A New Way Forward

I’m a candidate for Mayor because I want to deliver the region, that I’ve grown up in, that I live in, that I’m raising my young family in and that I’m running my small business in a Council that we can all be proud of.

A Council that delivers good regional local government for all of us.

A modern and progressive local government that excels in the basics like roads, rates and rubbish and that consults and is open with the community with how these basics are achieved.

A Council that creates new jobs, cares for the environment and makes sound choices when investing in infrastructure and many other things.

A Council that understands its the third largest in Australia and accepts the responsibility for being the lifestyle level of government closest to the people.

That’s the type of Council that I want to lead from 2020 and beyond.

Our Council is in great need of reform and a new regional focus on the real business of local government so that it can become a proper regional Council.

I contested the last election and after that loss decided that I would stay engaged with the Council and the region on a daily basis and run again.

I’ve made a close study of what I consider to be a very bad Council.

We all know of the bad experience of this one over the last 12 years.

That’s an experience not worth having and not worth repeating and the region can’t afford more of the same.

Together we have to end the bad old days of this Council.

The next statement I make in my campaign platform is that our best days are ahead of us which means I can recognise those mistakes of the past and how to turn them into the opportunities of the future.

So I also know what a good Council should look like. I’ve looked for examples from across that state and around the country.

Now I am putting forward to our region the opportunity for a new way forward.

The way I see it our region is faced with a clear choice at this election

more of the same

or a fresh start and a new way forward.

The Moreton Bay Region deserves to be led by a Mayor who is a long term local and values the interests of residents right across our entire region.

Someone who can fix our Council and deliver on a vision to protect and enhance the lifestyles of residents and the local environment in such a rapidly growing region.

Working together alongside the community we can deliver in the next four years the policies, strategies and plans to ensure that the growth over the next two decades does all of those things and more.

I would be mayor to lead by a vision, strategy, policy and good governance, and a solid long term plan.

I know that working together with the community that good outcomes can be achieved.

What are the most significant issues facing the local region?

In our region, there has been significant growth and there will continue to be over the decades to come.

Some of the types of housing that we’ve seen built to meet that growth hasn’t been all on traditional lot sizes.

For some people in our community, this is a difficult adjustment to make to come to terms with others living in housing which is traditionally different from their own.

For those who are focussed on this change from the perspective of getting the balance right between maintaining the lifestyles of existing residents while many more come to join us I understand those concerns.

But it’s people who make communities not bricks and mortar alone.

The region is facing and will continue to face a challenge of balancing growth and development with maintaining and enhancing the lifestyles of all of us.

Our planning needs more black and white and fewer greys areas to ensure it delivers a region that’s a great place for us to live, work and play.

I’m standing up for our community because I want to play a positive role in making sure that our region can be the best it can be.

It’s time for a back to basics approach;

  • Keeping rates low
  • Delivering quality services
  • Protecting and enhancing the local environment
  • Planning in black and white for growth
  • Delivering a transformational, reforming the dynamic organisation
  • Restoring confidence in our Council

It’s time to rebuild respect and confidence in council as being for the community and service focused

As I campaign across the region all 2037km2 of it……it’s apparent to me just how critical the next four years of our Council will be.

I know we have to take action to address a decline in the overall vegetation across the region by encouraging the planting of more vegetation in public places.

Let’s focus on the Urban Forest, the trees and other vegetation in public and private spaces. It includes, for example, street and park trees, front and backyard vegetation, grasslands, shrubs, wetlands, nature strips, balcony plants, and green roofs and walls.

There is strong evidence that improving this urban forest through quality urban greening activities such as the planting of trees and vegetation contributes to liveability, community health and wellbeing, cooler neighbourhoods, higher property values, asset protection, and amenity values.

Improving tree canopy cover throughout the Moreton Bay Region will increase community health and liveability of our region.

I want our Council to take action to respond to these challenges. To be strategic about this problem and commit appropriate resources to improve public green spaces across the region as well as enhancing tree canopy cover.

I’d institute a stand alone Planning a Related Matters Committee. That would be an open forum for residents and the community to discuss applications and the decisions to be made. It would also hear from applicants.

Councils legal budget has blown out to $7.3m per year. Each party meets their own costs in the Planning and Environment Court.

It’s time to get the regions planning decisions out of the court rooms and back in the Council meeting rooms and on the floor of the Council chamber in an open forum.

Also, a Regional Housing Advisory Committee that would provide timely advice to Council would be the principal consultative body advising Council about its housing agenda.

The Committee would have an interest in exploring innovative housing approaches and engagement; and considers the diverse housing experiences of tenants, homeowners, potential homeowners and those with very insecure housing.

What are your top three economic development priorities for the region?

A strong and vibrant regional economy.

We’re one the faster-growing regions in the country Heading towards a population of 690,000 in June 2041, 1.8% per year and along with the opportunities of that growth, there will be a number of challenges for the local economy too.

What’s lacking right now is a coordinated focus for action right across the region by Council.

Across the region, it’s time to re-energise the community, investors and Council policy-makers in support of a strong and vibrant economy

It’s by working together that we’ll thrive in the better days which are ahead for our region.

Strong leadership and collaboration is therefore required.

A Moreton Bay Region I would lead would be on a pathway to growth characterised cutting edge ideas and smarts ways of working.

Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy so engaging with the sharing economy, on-demand working, maker spaces, co-working offices and business incubators will be a new way forward.

That’s a Moreton Bay Region that becomes a place for testing new ideas, products and services, and becomes an incubator for startup success.

Engaging in these growing industries should, therefore, be a key part of a revised Council strategy for sustainable economic development.

Most resident workers travel outside of the region
Council will have to lead the way in action and advocating to maintain and improve the required infrastructure to ensure good connectivity with jobs outside of our regional economy.

One of the obvious challenges ahead is in ensuring that the growth in local jobs keeps pace with population growth and unemployment is managed to be below the state average if not significantly better.

An increase in local jobs is important for improving the sustainability and resilience of our regional community.

So, therefore, another challenge that I am very mindful providing is for the development of job creation and employment opportunity land.

Council has to ensure the availability of employment land can cope with the pressure of the need for the development of housing that in turn increases population and the need for employment land.

I don’t want to see our region continue on a path of high unemployment and that ratio of 50%+ of residents working outside of the region.

Over the next four years, I want to see Council set in motion that concept of creating great places which are complete communities.

Putting into action the words of great places to live, work, visit and play.

My vision is not about a continuous urban sprawl out to the North West of the region.

My visions is about creating many great completer places and complete communities. Within that 20 min walk ability there are great places to live for all stages of life, to work, to play and enjoy community and to visit.

For those reasons, the Council needs an Employment Growth Land Plan as part of its Economic Development Strategy.

Our best days are ahead of us when Council;

  • Promotes the creation of new employment through sustainable investment and jobs, building on the region’s strengths and encouraging innovation
  • A Council that provides the leadership to maintain the partnership required to support enterprises, to develop the skills of the local workforce, and promote our region as a place to invest in complete communities where people, live, work, play and visit in one great place.
  • Council must deliver the action required and work through Councils partners to improve economic development outcomes across the region, ensuring that more and more residents have access to a wide range of employment opportunities right here in the Moreton Bay Region.

What do you see as the role and contribution of development activity to the region?

3500 blocks per year
2915 urban lots registered in 2019
2051 standard lots
864 unit and townhouses
2504 ha greenfield/brownfield sites that are greater than 2500m2 currently listed as suitable for residential development
Expected yield of 17283 dwellings
10,000 stock of uncompleted lots
150-200 vacant res blocks a month
Pushing $630m2 vacant urban land
25% of business is in the construction industry

I’ve seen and heard stories which are damaging to that respect trust and cooperation between developers and council

At the upcoming election on the 28th of March 2020, there will be 300,000+ voters across the region.

That’s a lot of people who need to have the opportunity to hear about plans for what’s on offer when they vote for me as the Mayor of the Moreton Bay.

The contributing an additional $21m council revised upwards this week that you would be taking contributing in cash to the Councils budget taking that estimate to $44 million this year.

This is creating jobs in our region.

There are many communities though who have had to fight against the development.

Without the consultation and processes available for those concerns to be heard and acted upon.

Like in any large industry there are going to instances and practices which bring the entire industry into disrepute.

We all have to sensibly acknowledge these things and that the unacceptable does occur.

The development industry in our region though needs to turn a page and begin to build capital and goodwill in the communities bank accounts and no longer for that opportunity of filing the of election candidates accounts.

I want to be able to acknowledge developers for committing to work together with me and a new Council and the community to build our region to be the best it can be.

  • Protecting the environment whilst accommodating growth
  • Keeping the MBRC planning scheme up to date to attract appropriate development into the region
  • Ensuring our region is competitive Discount rates for first home buyers
  • The use of risk-based assessment and decision-making pathways (e.g. basic/ standard/complex), with appropriate timeframes, will be expanded too
  • Clear and easy-to-apply criteria is developed and arrangements put in place so that applicants can seek early agreement from assessors regarding the appropriate assessment stream for a planning proposal.
  • I want to see more black and white to planning and remove the grey areas

Closing Statement (5mins)

For four years now I’ve stood alongside residents for years who’ve been fighting against Council.

A Council they elected and they pay rates to.

I frequently said in those issues and disputes that it’s the planning not the just the players at fault.

It’s time for Council to fight for all of us…..in fact, there should be no need for fighting at all…..just implementing good policies which are focused on our community balancing the growth with lifestyle

Let’s end the fighting against our own council and end the bad old days too.

So this won’t be a continuation of a business as usual result election.

There is an opportunity for a new way forward.

It’s time to be positive about the future of our region.

I’m excited about the growth yet to come in our region.

Because the visions I have for growth is about enhancing and protecting the lifestyles of the residents who already live here whilst welcoming ten of thousands of more to come and share complete communities which are great places to live, work, visit and play.

Underpinning the future Strategic direction of a Council I lead will be the following Foundations, which can be thought of as guiding principles or values, which in action will demonstrate the approach of a responsible Council to all that it will do.

We are Action: We will do what we say.

We are Inclusive: We are open to all.

We doInnovation: We are bold, new and creative.

We are Sustainable: We acknowledge that climate action is required by all levels of government, including Council.

We are Fair: We are balanced and equitable.

I still believe in our Council and our Region

A Council that exists to serve our region not the other way around.

Any government at any level that doesn’t listen will ultimately fail.

It may take two years, or it may take twelve, either way, they have no future because they aren’t aspirational.

It’s my hope that at the next election our community will place that trust in me to be the change that we need.

The reward for doing so will be a Council that’s better for all of us.

A Council that will listen and adopt a positive changes approach to representation and this be the way forward.

This is local politics though and my role right now is to condemn this Council for all of its wrongdoings.

It’s a long list.

The destruction this organisation has caused in people’s lives goes beyond just seeing a block of townhouses built on a semi-rural block.

Overdevelopment is just the tip of the iceberg.

I have frequently first hand heard stories of life-changing consequences.

I’ve in-depth knowledge of the bad old days this Council.

I pledge that if elected that I will work to
restore a belief in Council that’s is inherently positive.

A Council that listens and responds to the people of the Moreton Bay Region.

I don’t have all the answers right now but I can put the Council into a position where it can deal with the challenges and make the most of the opportunities.

My aspiration for the future of planning is that our region will have a planning scheme that is designed to sustain liveability and prosperity in the context of growth and change, and that will deliver great outcomes and great places across the entire Moreton Bay Region.

I want our region to be the best it can be. If we can deliver our region a Council that provides quality services without putting pressure on the cost of living, enhances and protects our lifestyles, that listens and consults, that’s just for starters, that sounds like a council that we can all be proud of and our region will be better off for it. I will deliver for our community. I’m ready to serve Moreton Bay and ready to ensure council serves our region too

Planning A New Way Forward