September 8, 2017
More than $1 billion worth of new development proposals were lodged with the South Burnett Regional Council in 2015-16, a meeting in Kumbia heard on Thursday night.
Those developments will support between 300 and 400 construction jobs over the next three to four years, and the projects they create will bring an extra 100 to 150 permanent jobs to the South Burnett.
This bright forecast was delivered by Property Portfolio chair Cr Terry Fleischfresser at the first of the Council’s 2017 Roadshows, which was held at Kumbia Hall.
Over the next few weeks eight similar Roadshow meetings will be held in Nanango, Wondai, Blackbutt, Murgon, Kingaroy, Durong, Proston and Maidenwell.
Mayor Keith Campbell said this year’s Roadshow mirrored the Council’s “Listening Tour” last year.
It was being run as part of the Council’s obligation to keep the community informed.
What was different this year was that Councillors were able to report on what they had achieved in the 12 months since the 2016 elections, and tell residents about some new approaches the Council was adopting to road repairs, council contracting and economic development.
The Kumbia meeting was attended by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and all councillors except Cr Roz Frohloff, who was an apology. Each Councillor delivered a report on their portfolio areas, and Cr Frohloff’s report was also read out.
Cr Spud Jones said the last time he was in Kumbia he attended a standing room only meeting to hear the community’s complaints about local roads.
He was relieved numbers at Thursday night’s meeting were much smaller, and took it as a sign that recent roadworks in the Kumbia area – and many more which have been scheduled for the next two months – are having a positive impact.
Cr Jones explained how the Council’s new Road Asset Condition Assessment System (RACAS) was improving road maintenance by automating the assessment of road conditions, and several other changes that have been introduced to the way Council road crews worked.
Cr Ros Heit said she was pleased to report that the Council’s Budget decision to reduce its head count by 13 had been completed through voluntary redundancies.
Cr Heit also urged anyone who was having difficulties paying their rates to contact Council staff and work out a repayment arrangement.
The Council had decided to engage a debt collection agency to lower the amount of outstanding rates from 10 per cent to 3 per cent because the high level of outstanding rates was affecting the Council’s ability to do its job at maximum efficiency.
Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff and Cr Danita Potter also gave reports on their portfolio areas, with Cr Duff urging everyone at the meeting to join in the South Burnett Rail Trail’s opening celebrations on October 1, and Cr Potter revealing the region’s libraries received more than 170,000 visits last year.
WH&S Advisory Officer Sarah Saxer said the Council’s register of pre-qualified suppliers will be opening up again in December when the current two year registers expired.
Advertisements about this will begin to appear next month.
The SBRC maintains two preferred supplier registers – one for plant hire, the other for general services – and local businesses who get listed on them have the opportunity to secure business from the Council.
What will be different this time around is new software the Council will be using to ensure all suppliers are properly compliant with things like insurance and licences.
Suppliers will receive automatic email reminders when licences or insurance policies are due to expire, and will also be able to update their account details online if they need to submit documents or change their details.
The new software has been used by Toowoomba Regional Council for the past year, and the South Burnett recently became the second Queensland council to use it, Sarah said.
Senior Economic Development Officer Craig Tunley also gave a talk on the Council’s 2020 Economic Development Plan.
He said its ambitious goals of creating 3000 new jobs and tripling tourism revenue from $84 million to $252 million by 2020 were designed to provoke community debate.
Mr Tunley said he believed there were already 3000 businesses in the region, and if every business employed just one extra employee in the next 3 years the goal of 3000 jobs was achievable.
Tripling tourism revenues posed a greater challenge, but he believed this was also possible if residents talked up the region’s businesses, their communities and the local economy.
The Roadshow concluded with a question and answer session where Councillors fielded questions covering everything from how many cows or horses can legally be held on a five acre block to the process for approving developments than can impact on a community’s lifestyle.
Other roadshows will be held at:
A barbecue lunch or dinner to help raise funds for each town’s community organisations will be available for purchase at each event.