New crop of SDRC councillors plan to make changes
THE people of the Southern Downs have placed their votes, and their faith, in a new team of soon-to-be-declared councillors.
With only 105 votes remaining and little change predicted, the Queensland Electoral Commission is expected to announce the current frontrunners as the region's chosen leaders.
As it sits, the successful candidates will be Ross Bartley, Cameron Gow, Jo McNally, Andrew Gale, Sheryl Windle, Marco Gliori, Cynthia McDonald and Stephen Tancred.
The eight councillors, once declared, will join mayor-elect Vic Pennisi to create a new agenda for the Southern Downs Regional Council.
Many of the successful candidates campaigned on a message of greater communication between local government and the community.
Newcomer Marco Gliori said he hoped, even while social-distancing, the new team of councillors will be able to heal that relationship.
"I just want to do a good job recognising when people are upset, or have a particular problem. I'm keen to find them an answer," he said.
"It's important that all councillors still hit the streets of the Southern Downs, getting out there, popping into stores and getting that word on what's happening, what people are talking about, and taking that back to council."
Returning councillor Sheryl Windle said she worked incredibly hard over her last term to develop relationships with progress associations, community groups and local organisations.
"I tried to keep them informed as best I could throughout my four year term, and I'm pretty proud of that," she said.
"I'm a people person, I've actually formed friendships out of my term in council and I'm happy I got to meet so many people.
"They put what they want on the table and we try to help them achieve that outcome, even though sometimes it can be a long, drawn out process."
Mr Gliori said he was eager to get started on the induction process, so he could ultimately start having a positive impact on the community.
"I want to know where we'll sit in council, what our responsibilities are, and then get busy contacting those local people who can steer us through those responsibilities," Mr Gliori said.
"I want to know what we can do for them in this time of shut-downs, unemployment, food scarcity and all of the other things happening day-to-day in their lives.
"Welfare will play a big role in what the council does over the next 12 months with the coronavirus, and just trying to make the hurt a little less."
Ms Windle said the economic pressures of the pandemic means the budget will have to come under tight scrutiny.
"The budget is going to be the big thing, with this virus putting another spin on things," she said.
"It's another whammy for our region, and we need to find a way to get businesses back on track, and we won't be able to do it alone."
"Onwards and upwards, we need to come together as a team and get on with it."