Gina sets sights on top job
HAVING owned Showtime Saddlery for six years and with executive management experience under her belt, Gina Doulis says she is confident in any business management system - and she hopes Southern Downs voters will give her a chance to showcase those skills as the region's next mayor.
The single mum, who moved to Warwick from Cedar Grove, is the latest to announce her intention to stand for the position at the election in March this year.
Ms Doulis, Deputy Mayor Peter Blundell and Kim Olsen are the only three vying for the top job at this stage.
Ms Doulis said she had plenty of ideas to improve the region through local government.
"From a management point of view I'd like to see the councillors out and about more," she said.
"We don't know what councillors handle which service and I don't have their phone numbers - if I had a problem I wouldn't know who to ring.
"Councillors aren't representing because people don't know who they are, and from what I've heard I don't think they do enough hours on the job."
Asked how she would juggle the position of mayor with running a business, she said it was "neither here nor there".
"The business basically runs itself. I've set it up to a degree I don't have to be there," she said.
"I have very good staff and I'm only a phone call away, and the shop is over the road from the council chambers.
"I'd be 100% focused on the job if I did become mayor."
Ms Doulis said she didn't support a divisional council. Instead, she argues councillors should be using their skills to their advantage.
"One thing I'm tossing about is whether it might be viable to have councillors within an area of expertise and have them look after a particular area," she said.
"If someone has a passion for tourism, why should they be looking after something they have no interest in?
"You're going to throw yourself into a job more thoroughly if you're devoted to that. We've got to look at where the skills are at rather than we're you're from."
The mayoral contender has a 15-year-old daughter, Zoe, who she said was supportive of her decision.
She said watching Zoe grow up in Warwick has made her realise more could be done to keep young people in the area.
"I'd hate to see my daughter leave Warwick because she couldn't do what she wanted to here," she said.
"I'd like to see higher education facilities in Warwick. I thought Slade Campus would have made a wonderful USQ campus. I'd like to see young people staying in Warwick. It's a beautiful town and so close to Brisbane."
Owning an equestrian shop, Ms Doulis said she was involved in sporting circuits and would like to see Morgan Park used more frequently, and for a "wider range of disciplines".
That, she argued, would improve tourism and help bring people to Warwick.
The other important issue for the business owner was to make rates more affordable, although she was reluctant to reveal her plan to make that a reality.
"I'll look at the logistics of it all but it comes down to the volume of ratepayers," she said.
"If we try and increase the development of available areas in town to bring more ratepayers to Warwick, you can reduce the rates for those already here.
"The more ratepayers you have the more it brings the cost down. I won't divulge too much but it's something I'd like to look at more closely."
She also said rates notices should be given out quarterly instead of yearly, to help reduce the burden for families.
Ms Doulis said she felt confident she was already a recognised business figure in the Southern Downs region.
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