Would-Be Mayors Go Head-To-Head
Moderator Rob Fitz-Herbert, centre, with South Burnett mayoral candidates Sheena Lindholm, Keith Campbell, Damien Tessmann and Michael Brown (Grant Newson was an apology)
February 9, 2016
Residents had their first chance to size up the candidates running for South Burnett Mayor on Monday night at the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s special Mayoral Forum.
Four of the five people who have put up their hands for the top job at the March 19 election – Michael Brown, Keith Campbell, Sheena Lindholm and Damien Tessmann – were at the forum, held at the Commercial Hotel in Kingaroy.
The fifth candidate, Grant Newson, submitted an apology.
The evening was moderated by Kingaroy TAFE Business Development Officer Rob Fitz-Herbert.
Each candidate was given five minutes (in theory) to introduce themselves and explain their vision.
They were then asked a series of questions, chosen from questions submitted by KCCI members. Each candidate had the opportunity to view these questions ahead of time.
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Some of the main points from each candidate in their introductions (listen to the full speeches, below):
- Michael Brown: Council needs to get back to its core business. Region’s roads are a disgrace and Council-owned assets are in a state of disrepair. Community would like greater input into what Council does. Council should be listening to the community. “Our tourism gems are ready to be polished”.
- Keith Campbell: 17 years experience on Council. Committed and loves working with people. Must keep existing businesses and help them to grow even bigger and attract new business. Wants to secure water storage so more farmers will be able to irrigate crops. Every person has the right to express their view. Proud of his decision to vote for the Benefitted Area at Memerambi.
- Damien Tessmann: Five key points in his campaign: roads, rates, economic development, natural resource management and building a 21st Century council. $6m currently spent on roads is not enough, should move more capital funding into road maintenance and need more support from the State and Federal governments. One issue that puts rates up is Council’s borrowing program. Industrial land could be sold to new businesses for $1. Wild dog bounty should be $100. Also need to tackle wild pigs, lantana and parthenium.
- Sheena Lindholm: Her life changed when she started a traineeship at Nanango Council. Believes Councils can do so much more for the community. Spent the last three years working on the day-to-day dealings of Council in the office of the Mayor. Communication is a priority. Council should be a direct reflection of the community.
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southburnett.com.au recorded each section so readers can hear the candidates in their own words.
The audio links, below, are in the order that they were presented on the night.
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A crowd of about 100 people gathered in The Nest at the Commercial Hotel to listen to the mayoral candidates forum
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Moderator Rob Fitz-Herbert then asked each candidate to provide answers to each of the following questions:
1. How would you attract investment or new industry to the town? And this could be in the form of agriculture, manufacturing or tourism.
2. What is your position on sports tourism and how do you think Council could partner with our local sporting organisations to achieve shared economic benefit from carnivals and the like?
3. What are your thoughts of the streetscape of Kingaroy and how would you effect change?
4. What’s your view about the road levy, and if you want to scrap it how would you then raise funds to continue roadworks at the current level or even increase spending on roads?
5. How do you feel about the proposed new coal mine?
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Some of the main points (the full audio is below):
- All candidates believed the Kingaroy streetscape was in need of upgrading, although some expressed concern at what it would cost.
- Only Michael Brown declared he would scrap the road levy; to achieve this he believed Council should do more lobbying of the State and Federal governments to get more funding, improve efficiencies and take unpopular decisions, closing “maybe a pool or two, and a dump or two. Maybe an unpopular standpoint with a few, to save the lives of the many is important”.
- All candidates were looking forward to tomorrow night’s forum at the Kingaroy Town Hall, organised by the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group, about the proposed Moreton Resources’ coal mine. Some expressed doubts that the mine could go ahead but all said they needed more information.
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Raw Audio Of Five Questions
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The mayoral candidates – as well as candidates for Division 1 and 2 – will next hit the microphone at the Nanango Tourism and Development Association forum which will be held on Thursday, February 25, from 6:00pm at Taras Hall in Nanango.
The Murgon Business and Development Association forum, for mayoral candidates and candidates in Division 5 and 6, is expected to be held in early March.