FIGHTING FOR NOMINATION: WBBROC’s 2018 chair Mick Curran, North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers, Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey and Bundaberg port manager Jason Pascoe in Bundaberg 2018. Picture: Jessica McGrath
FIGHTING FOR NOMINATION: WBBROC’s 2018 chair Mick Curran, North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers, Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey and Bundaberg port manager Jason Pascoe in Bundaberg 2018. Picture: Jessica McGrath

Mayor fights for WBBROC chair nomination

A ROLE that could see the mayor leave the region for long periods of time has drawn concerns from councillors.

The nomination for Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Council’s (WBBROC) chair was tabled at the North Burnett Regional Council’s general meeting on May 27.

Formed in 1999, WBBROC represents the interests of the entire Wide Bay Burnett region, and advocates to other tiers of government.

The board consists of representatives from the Bundaberg, Cherbourg, Fraser Coast, Gympie, North Burnett and South Burnett councils.

It has a number of priority areas, including economic development, minerals exploration, and road infrastructure.

The newly elected North Burnett Regional Council practising social distancing. Picture: North Burnett Regional Council
The newly elected North Burnett Regional Council practising social distancing. Picture: North Burnett Regional Council

Councillors were asked to endorse mayor Rachel Chambers as the North Burnett’s nomination for the chair position.

Cr Chambers spoke at the meeting, saying she had a truly regional viewpoint, and would be a strong advocate for the region.

“If WBBROC succeeds, we’re part of that success, and if it doesn’t then we have to deal with that,” Cr Chambers said.

“That was the basis of asking for this report to come to council, as I want your support, and if you don’t want me to do it, I’d like to know as well.”

Debate then ensued, as several councillors voiced their views on the nomination.

Division 1 councillor Melinda Jones and deputy mayor Robbie Radel were in support of her motion, with Cr Radel saying Cr Chambers is the “best suited” to lead WBBROC forward.

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Division 3 and division 4 councillors Susan Payne and Dael Giddins however did discuss their concerns.

“How much time will it take you out of the region?” Cr Payne questioned.

“In previous councils, people were concerned that they didn’t see you much in the region.”

Cr Giddins agreed, saying she was concerned Cr Chambers could be overcommitting herself.

Both councillors then queried whether a member position could suffice.

Cr Chambers acknowledged her lack of physical presence in the region was a “legitimate community concern”.

“My job is to go out of the region, and talk to people who can assist us, and help us,” she said.

North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers. Picture: Alex Treacy
North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers. Picture: Alex Treacy

“Even though my vital role is to be with the people, I also have six councillors whose role that is.

“Where do we see WBBROC now, and where does it have to be in four years?

“It needs vision and leadership … and you can’t do that as a member.”

Cr Chambers cited her commitment to fulfilling the North Burnett’s potential, saying the region had been pigeon holed as a primary production region.

“The only way to change this is to change it at a different level,” Cr Chambers said.

“Talking about it at this table isn’t going to do that.”

The motion was carried, with a new chair of the board being selected at WBBROC’s AGM on June 4.


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