June 12, 2013
“It doesn’t have to be our idea for it to be a great idea” … this is the concept behind the South Burnett’s new economic and tourism development body, South Burnett Directions, launched in Kingaroy on Tuesday by Local Government Minister David Crisafulli.
South Burnett Mayor Wayne Kratzmann, speaking at a gathering of local business people in the Glendon Street Forecourt, said the idea for the new body was a plan that he and his fellow councillors have had since the 2012 council election.
“My thought was to bring economic development and tourism together, something that in our region was not the case,” he said.
He said he went to his fellow councillors and discussed the idea of bringing together an external group of people who had a vision for the region and who were able to “open doors” in Queensland, Australia and overseas.
Mayor Kratzmann said there was a need for an organisation that wasn’t just made up of councillors.
Prior to the 2008 Council amalgamations there were 37 councillors looking after the South Burnett region; now there were just seven.
“We have to look at strategic issues, the way the South Burnett will be in the future,” he said.
“To do that properly we need help, we need the insight; we need to be happy to accept some criticism and positive thoughts from people outside our council network, and that’s where South Burnett Directions originally came from.
“There’s an enormous amount of talent in this magnificent region which needs to be harnessed and brought together. A lot of those people would never want to be a councillor; a lot of those people don’t even live in the South Burnett but have the South Burnett at heart.
“So that was where South Burnett Directions was born.”
Mayor Kratzmann said the South Burnett Directions committee had a united vision.
“This will not be a committee to write reports and come up with plans. This will be a committee that will bring forward projects that will make the South Burnett a better place to live and work. And if we don’t do that… if our report card doesn’t bring positive changes to the South Burnett, we haven’t done our job.”
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said he believed the South Burnett Regional Council was heading in the right direction with the formation of South Burnett Directions.
He said it reminded him of “Townsville Enterprise” which had brought about a change in direction in Townsville.
“I am sensing in every way, shape and form that you are heading in the right direction,” Mr Crisafulli said.
But he warned the group not to get bogged down in day-to-day details.
“Pick the projects; pick what will make you special,” he said.
Mr Crisafulli urged the South Burnett community – and business community – to get behind the group, to start “hunting as a pack”.
“It is hard for government to say no when there is a common sense of purpose,” he said.
“If Council puts forward a project, that carries a great deal of weight; but if all of the sudden there’s groups like the Chamber and Directions, and you are all rowing in the one common direction …then it makes it very difficult for government to ignore that.”