Phil is already proven himself as a Leader, he will do justice to the job; he is a dedicated and very committed person. He will be the Mayor 100% of the time, make himself available and keep ratepayers completely informed of decisions and changes.
Phil wishes to reduce rates for residents, reduce consultancy from outside the region, create more jobs within the council for locals, reduce council expenditure, improve communication with community, maintain road network, keep roadside tidy and safe, look at innovative activities for our youth, introduce quarterly rate notices, lessen red tape for investors.
Phil has a proud family history. His father and grandfather served in the two world wars. His dad was a prisoner of the Japanese for over three years.
Phil holds University degrees including a Masters degree in Science. He has been a High School Principal, member of Rural Fire Brigades for 30 years, a Surf Lifesaver, a Justice of the Peace.
Phil was elected as Mayor of Uralla and served the Community once again with great distinction. Phil led his Council in defeating amalgamation some years ago and was instrumental in securing a huge satellite tracking facility.
WEB SITE- www.phillipjohnbuddle.com
• There is a concern about bureaucratic control stifling the power of council. What way is there to stop top management from having so much control? Is the red tape in the planning department stopping development? Does the CEO have too much power?
Yes the CEO has the power to direct his staff. The Mayor has the power to direct the CEO to ensure all decisions of Council are put in place. It real power is in the decision making processes of the persons elected by the community.
• CSG issue. Would you as mayors move to protect the region? Do you see opportunities for this region to benefit from CSG or only dangers?
My initial thoughts were good - process coal underground, methane comes up and we have an energy source. However, as well as the methane, several other toxic chemicals (some known carcinogens) make their way into the water table and contaminate this precious resource. Here in this region, our people use underground water to look after their stock, grow crops and for their homes (Allora and Pratten for example). With only 4% of Australia arable, we cannot afford to lose any good land.
• The key to a successful team is its members. Pick your team of eight councillors with a brief explanation of why. Pick your deputy. Who wouldn't you have?
Selecting the council is the task of the electorate. I will be happy to work with any eight councilors selected by the electorate.
• What would be your five specific priorities in your first 100 days after election?
The budget which includes looking at relieving rating pressure. I would work to convince the team to reduce rates by at least two percent in each of the four year term and to bring in quarterly or half yearly rates. The budget is where we have to start bringing down the councils previous borrowings.
• How would you support and encourage council and the wider community to shop locally? What do you think about the current shop local campaign? How would you address the issue of Warwick businesses being used for Stanthorpe jobs and vice versa?
Local shopping issues I feel lies mainly with the shop keepers. The council must reduce red tape on any initiatives which may be developed. Small business is under huge pressures, one of which is rates. I believe that Stanthorpe business is rated at twice that of the Warwick CBD. This seems indefensible and must be addressed. Our two towns have very different character and assets which are complementary. I see no need for competition, but only cooperation between the two towns. Each town should capitalize on the other's strengths.
• There is a fear council jobs in the south are being whittled downs by natural attrition and indeed the office could close. What will you do to ensure council jobs still exist in Stanthorpe?
Jobs on the workface should be preserved. It appears from outside at the moment that there are more administrators than workers.
• What is your opinion on deamalgamation?
Deamalgamation might sound good in theory but State government made the rules and unless there are major changes in the rules we should work at making our joining a positive thing and not an excuse to make jobs disappear. I would like to see an end to all consultancies and use local workers for many of the traditional jobs as in the past.
• There was an obscene rate rise in last budget. Was it acceptable, what would you do to ensure no more of the same?
Rates must be reduced. Increases in land values must not be used to increase overall rating. The amount in the dollar has to drop to maintain or reduce the individual rate bill.
• What do you think council needs to do to facilitate business and help business growth in the region?
Growth will occur only when council and state barriers are brought back to common sense levels.
• WIRAC would you privatise. Mowing of sports fields in either end of region?
If WIRAC can generate an income by efficient running and give our ratepayers a return then privatizing could be a good option. The numbers need looking at closely.
• Tourism. What do you think of the current tourism structure? What is your vision for tourism in the region?
Tourism model has been thrust upon council by the state. I think that our two main towns are capable of supporting each other as well as their surrounding smaller locations. We have the talent in our region to continue to bring in the tourist dollar. Being RV friendly would generate income for a wide range of existing businesses.
• What parts of the community plan would you implement as a priority? How would you do so? Have you read the community plan?
The community plan is useful as a reference but should not be the only dictator of our future directions. I agree with one of the forum speakers that there are plenty of motherhood statements in the document (which I have read)
• How would you cut the budget? Do you have the economic skills to put together a budget in such a short period of time?
Budget cuts in consultancy, using little out of town contracting, reducing waste.
• Have you recently been to a Southern Downs Council meeting? If so, what did you learn, if not how do you know what to expect from your job?
Yes I have attended a Stanthorpe meeting and found the structure similar to that of the council I served as Mayor in Uralla Shire.
• Why should we vote for you?
I believe my previous experience and achievements in the past qualify me for the role. I do not have any business interests. I am a retired secondary teacher and would be completely focused on the issues of our total region.
• Tell us your vision for the region
Reduce debt substantially; enable all residents to continue to enjoy what nature has for us in this area. Let us make if affordable for our older members and make it much easier for investors to make their developments.
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