Division 2 candidate Faye Whelan. Picture: Contributed.
Division 2 candidate Faye Whelan. Picture: Contributed.

Broad knowledge and expertise brought to region

THIS week North Burnett residents will cast their vote on who they want to sit on the next council.

Seventeen candidates have officially registered through the Electoral Commission Queensland to run for North Burnett Regional Council across six divisions, with mayor Rachel Chambers running unopposed for the mayoral seat.

We spoke with Division 3 candidate Faye Whelan and asked her 12 questions to understand how she ticks, what her priorities are, and where she sees the region heading in the next four years - and these are her answers.

1. Why do you want to be a NBRC councillor?

There are both Council and Community initiatives that must be seen to fruition. I have an obligation to the people that are relying on these initiatives. It is also important that there are some Local Government experienced people remain in Council so we don't remain stagnant while new councillors complete their training.

2. What relevant experience have you had that qualifies you to guide the council forward?

Having served since amalgamation I have a broad knowledge and expertise of all aspects of this Council's business and the region. I have 46 years of private business experience and served on multiple committees across diverse sectors.

3. If elected, what are your top three priorities?

1) Water reliability for the whole region but in particular the Boyne River Catchment at Mundubbera. I would love to 'Just Add Water' to Coalstoun Lakes and raise the Jones and Claude Wharton Weirs.

2) Higher education opportunities across North Burnett to retain our young people and upskill people of all ages together with a STEM program for people with disabilities similar to Substation 33.

3) Advocate for more desperately needed Aged Care Infrastructure and funded beds across the region.

4. In your opinion, in what areas is the North Burnett leading the way?

North Burnett is held highly across the State for our Asset Management Systems and Disaster Management implementations and recovery.

5. What challenges do you see impacting the region in the next four years?

Financial Sustainability. There is just not enough rate revenue to support the roads, bridges and other infrastructure to an acceptable level. Council realises that the ratepayer cannot afford increases to achieve a balanced budget. We have to be very good at sourcing outside money from both levels of Government.

6. What business, residential and investment interests do you have locally and beyond?

I started my multiple local businesses with $1650 in 1974. From that, I have built a commercial and residential portfolio in Mundubbera, Gayndah and Woodgate with hard work.

7. What's more important - supporting small businesses in the region, or attracting big businesses to the North Burnett?

Small business is the biggest employer in our region. I wholeheartedly support them. I will however, continue to lobby for large manufacturing businesses that will supply permanent jobs because North Burnett needs growth. I would hope that a secondary agricultural processor would look to us so that our primary producers of fruit tree crops and berries could benefit too and have confidence to expand which means more jobs.

8. What is the first thing council should do to improve health services across the North Burnett?

Health is not within Council responsibility. It belongs to State, however my portfolio over the past 12 years included Social Wellbeing. I used that platform to advocate for better health services. I have been a strong voice and I'm seeing positive changes in the delivery of health services.

9. What community and volunteer activities have you engaged in prior to the current election campaign?

I have volunteered all my life and sit on many committees too numerous to list. I hold two Australia Day Awards and an Australian Medal for service to sport awarded by the Governor-General and Prime Minister of Australia as testament.

10. As councillor/if elected, how do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for our region?

I have always consulted community when funding timing permits. My consultation planning is always dependant on what the project is and who that project effects. My door is always open to suggestions. As an elected representative I do my best to make informed decisions for you. Unfortunately, because of timing restraints it is impossible to consult on every decision that has to be made within Council.

11. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the region any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Q11 An open $1 Million Grant … it has to be spent on rural road upgrades. No question.

12. Tell us something about yourself that others may be surprised to know about you.

My work ethic allowed me to be the first married female to be employed by the electricity industry. My boss lobbied for a change because he did not want to lose my service.

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