Coronavirus is in the forefront of most people’s thoughts and how each region responds to the unfolding health and economic crisis could make a difference.
The Fassifern Guardian has given the opportunity to both mayoral and divisional candidates to respond to a series of questions which will be published over the following week..
For the first Question the Fassifern Guardian asked the following question, to which, candidates were given 200 words to convey their thoughts.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, emphasised the importance of holding the Local Government elections to ensure that Mayors and Councillors are in place to lead their communities at this time. If you were elected Mayor, how would you position Council to support the community through the COVID-19 health crisis?
The COVID-19 situation across the globe is evolving rapidly.
This is a challenging time to be asking residents to stay calm when a lot of hurt has already been caused particularly to our small business community in the Scenic Rim who have seen spending decrease significantly.
Having previously been mayor for many years, I have experience and expertise in managing the community through difficult situations.
Your role as leader of the council is to maintain and ensure a balanced response. Keep the information flowing, follow rules and guidelines appropriately set by Federal and State governments.
Do not confuse the issue by making your own personal judgements and proposals when what the nation needs is a uniform and unified approach.
Your response to crisis or disaster situations is as much about how you structure and lead your council in normal times as it is about your ability to communicate effectively with your constituents. It’s about trust, strength and stability.
If elected mayor, I will be immediately asking my councilors and the community if the current response is meeting their expectations.
If it is, we will continue under a stronger and experienced leadership.
If it isn’t, immediate action will be taken to adjust accordingly.
The community is who we are serving in these times.
The measures I have already taken have included consultation with the offices of the Federal Member, Scott Buchholz and State Member, Jon Krause confirming logistics plans should an outbreak occur.
The current evacuation destination is the Gold Coast University Hospital at this point in time.
I would also consult with all relevant health organisations to ensure they are prepared in terms of their needs in ensuring the essential services they provide can continue unabated.
Our region has already suffered terribly through drought, fire and now coronavirus, the DFC triple.
I have been engaging people across the region and in business to hear the effect and need now. Before the current “shutdown” measures put in place our people were already suffering badly.
The policies I have already released in terms of addressing the ever-escalating rates issue and delivering the services people want along with proper engagement and consultation go a long way in assisting our region through this crisis.
If elected I would be immediately engaging with the Federal Government with regards to their stimulus package with special regard to regions heavily dependent on tourism and agriculture and ensuring we can direct as much of that funding stimulus in to our region.
I would also investigate the potential to access the traineeship and apprenticeship funding to be provided by the Feds to deliver more boots on the ground to roll out services and retain money in the region for our economic benefit.
COVID-19 has now been declared a disaster by the State government, as Mayor:
My primary responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of staff and the public.
Activate the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) to coordinate the response from council. This would be in conjunction with both Logan Disaster Group, State and Federal government.
An immediate response from the LDMG would be to provide information to the community about the need to keep safe, including links to State and Federal health alerts. This information would be prominently displayed on council website home-page and promoted through local media outlets
I would be seeking to keep council operating where safe to do so and monitored and reviewed daily, including such measures as working from home and taking leave, if facilities are to close then inform residents with message that any outstanding rates, fees or charges would be put on hold until such time as council could be fully up and running.
· One emergency measure that could be implemented, depending on the budget implications is to provide rates and fees and charges relief for 6 months
The Fassifern Guardian wrote this story to give the readers an idea of what the potential mayors thought about the coronavirus situation. We sent out our proposal for a story to the five candidates for mayor to give them the opportunity to have their say in the newspaper. Mr Christensen decided to publish his response and our question in a media release and sent it out to other media organisations