New North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers (Photo: Facebook)

April 4, 2016

Gayndah resident Rachel Chambers has taken over as Mayor of the North Burnett Regional Council after defeating incumbent Don Waugh by 223 primary votes.

Mr Waugh, who had 16 years local government experience with Eacham Shire Council before relocating to Gayndah, was elected as Mayor in 2012.

The surprise result was declared at 8:18am on Monday, April 4.

Ms Chambers is known to many people in the South Burnett.

In November 2014, when she was working for the Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation, she was a special guest speaker at the Murgon Business and Development Association’s “Business Bucket List” dinner.

At the dinner, Ms Chambers talked about the problems Murgon businesses faced – which she said were common to many rural and regional centres in Australia – and possible solutions to them.

Ms Chambers said she had first thought of running for Council in 2014, and had spent the last year attending Council meetings and reading minutes to get on top of local issues.

She promised, if elected, to restore “good governance and good manners” to the NBRC, and said she felt her inexperience in local government was no hindrance to doing the job.

Ms Chambers has also promised to generate economic growth in the Region, which has a projected zero population growth over the next 20 years.

“Some say it’s not council’s role to be proactive in anything but roads, waste and water but I disagree,” Ms Chambers said.

“My focus is to ensure NBRC becomes a proactive facilitator of community’s needs/desires, a leader in the community and a council with vision, strategy and ideas which can take us into the future.”

Ms Chambers said she believed the tone and direction of NBRC needed changing and she was capable of changing it.

“This council needs to become transparent in earnest, improve its communication and consultation processes, display positive community leadership, show respect for all people regardless of their financial, social or family situation and demonstrate good manners at all times,” Ms Chambers said.

“In regional areas councils are more than roads, waste and water, they are community leaders and thus need to lead by example.”

Ms Chambers, 41, is married to Brent Chambers, the eldest son of retired Monto and Gayndah police sergeant Glenn Chambers, and has four children – two sons aged 19 and 21 who live on the Sunshine Coast, and two daughters aged 6 and 8 who attend St Joseph’s Primary School in Gayndah.

Other Councillors elected were Paul Lobegeier (Division 1 – Monto), Peter Webster (Division 2 – Eidsvold), Faye Whelan (Division 3 – Mundubbera), John Zahl (Division 4 – Gayndah), John Bowen (Division 5 – Mt Perry) and Robert Radel (Division 6 – Biggenden).

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