ELECTION Q&A;: Your number 1 priority if elected?
WE ASKED candidates in the 2016 Southern Downs Regional Council election what their number one priority would be if elected.
"To get the new council operating cohesively so that they can hit the ground running to deliver an effective budget along with the provision of the required level of governance to ensure that the day-to-day operations of council continue."
"Council reform is the Number One priority. There are several elements to this: Councillor behaviour, waste and duplication, staff skills, and balance in service delivery.
"It is imperative that Council realises it is part of the community and that the community sets the priorities.
"All aspects of this reform centre around the councillors and council working for the community, to deliver the best service possible at the minimum cost."
"Set up communicating networks with outlying villages."
"Restore the community's faith in a positive, effective and proactive council, and attracting new business and industry to the Southern Downs."
"My number one priority will be establishing solid working relationships with the new council and working with them to develop and action solid plans to take council and our community forward."
"To review council services to ensure the resources are being used effectively and efficiently. Seek out the inefficiencies and find solutions."
"Number one priority will be working through the new budget to try and reduce waste and unnecessary items, along with possible changes in the planning department of council to be more friendly to developers and new applications with any investors who would like to come to Warwick and districts."
"No one priority - if elected ensure all on the team work harmoniously for ALL in the region."
"My number one priority is the region's debt and upholding the plan that is addressing this and will continue to do so over the next decade.
"Unless that is addressed we won't be able to do much more."
"Work together with the other councillors to rein in the debt."
"To support the mayor and other councillors working through the group formation process to ensure that open communication, respect and a clear understanding of the role and responsibilities that we all share will provide a solid framework for the next four years, for the region to grow and prosper."
"The number one priority should always be to formulate a plan for what we, as a council want to achieve for our community in the first 12 months and for each 12 months after, during our term. Without proper planning, all decisions that are made tend to be ad hoc. Formulate a plan, implement, review and adjust accordingly."
"Build a cohesive team. We all need to have common goals and be able to come together to accomplish these despite differences in opinion, personalities and work methods. We need to emphasise the team's mission and goals rather than individual advancement.
"Getting this right is the first priority."
"Making sure our core business is what council is all about and businesses that we have lost through red tape be revisited, also the budget to make sure the community is not hurt any more than necessary."
"To increase my community network so I am able to speak to more community groups and individuals throughout the entire region. I would be looking to join or become involved in a greater number of community groups in order to ensure that I am able to consult widely when I am making decisions that affect the community."
"It is difficult to name one priority, but I think relationship building between councillors, and council staff and management is critical to ensure that the council operates effectively over the next four years is important."
"The first job is to help the single pensioners and identify other vulnerable people in relation to the rates."
"The 2016/17 budget will be my number priority aligned to a full review of the financial position of the region with debt reduction a key outcome along with maintaining rates within an acceptable level of increase."
"To make myself familiar with the budget decisions and review the last budget with a view that one of the first things the new council will do is set a new budget. I would like to see the CEO request each department delivers a budget that shows at least 5% savings on the last budget, without affecting service."
"The No 1 priority is to get this council and region more efficient, more receptive to ideas and new business, by being more welcoming in having incentives and that we are the first group of people that commence working towards the future so that we leave our term of council with directions for the future."
"My main focus will be to address planning issues. We need to be able to keep rates down expand population and we need jobs to be able to do that."
"To see if the council can't be more proactive toward new development and helping existing business to prosper."
"My main focus is to in courage existing business to expand and try to bring more business to the shire."
"We must have a serious conversation surrounding core business and we must get the next budget bedded down ASAP. Advocating strongly that in conjunction with debt reduction we review "spendings, core business, and efficiencies" within the organisation will also be a primary focus."
"If elected, my number one priority will be to work with the other councillors in a constructive manner, to identify areas where immediate improvements can be made, and implement them."
"It is very apparent, after hearing most of the candidates speak, that the needs and problems faced are reiterated by all.
"What we need are solutions and my priority would be to find sensible and reasonable solutions. Thinking out of the box for innovative solutions."
"My number 1 priority will be getting out into the community and talking to people, talking to people about what they want from their local government."
Declined to participate.
"I aim to build a positive culture change, where our staff look forward to seeing their councillors, where the people of our region look forward to seeing the people who work on their behalf, and vice versa. One starting point is to conduct a management audit to identify council's strengths."
"First and foremost has to be the 2016-2017 budget.
"My goal would be to reduce the recommended rate rise to as minimal as possible."
"Making sure that council adhere to the budget and where there is overspend, we need to find savings in other areas."
"My number one priority will be to focus on a balanced budget. Staying on course for maintaining council services while continuing to pay back the debt. I voted against the big debt borrowings of the last term, 2008 to 2012, and now the responsible thing to do is to carefully pay it off without impacting the services that the community needs."
"Debt reduction first"
"To review currently planned expenditure in detail with a view to prioritising and cutting costs by focusing on real needs."
No response received
"To communicate effectively with the community to ensure their views are being adequately represented."
"To see if we can work on a new Town Plan that will work for our region, not against it.
"To cut red tape in development applications to give more timely decisions and outcomes for those entrepreneurs who want to bring their business here. We should be saying "How can we help you with that?"
"Be a member of a new team that will quickly demonstrate that they can work effectively together to exceed the electorates' expectations."