‘We don’t have the time’: Experienced hands needed
AT 65 years of age with 30 years of experience, Cr Paul Lobegeier believes he has another go in him to run for council this year.
He successfully contested the seat for division one in 2008, then again in 2012, and now he’ll be fighting it out against Melinda Jones, and Peter Warren.
He is no stranger to politics, starting his career back in the Monto Shire Council, seeking to improve community infrastructure in the old division six.
Throughout his life in the region he has been committed to his community, holding numerous volunteer roles with several organisations.
He’s currently chair of Monto Aged Care, chair of the Burnett Catchment Care, and has been involved in Natural Resource Management at a state and federal level.
Fast forward to 2020, Cr Lobegeier is looking forward to the next four years, while being proud of the council’s achievements since amalgamation.
“In the last decade of the regional council, we have been fairly preoccupied in the many floods,” Cr Lobegeier said.
“We’ve only just in February finished the flood repairs.
“Our council answered the call, and I’m very proud of the staff who did that, and punched above their weight to do so.”
Prior to the natural disasters, Cr Lobegeier said the council’s first task after amalgamation was to assess the state of play.
Following the impact of the floods, he believes the council can now look back to their core responsibility, which is becoming financially viable, and sustainable.
“Increasing rates beyond the normal inflationary trend would be completely irresponsible … considering the floods and droughts we’ve had.
“We need to find savings within our organisation, and that has commenced.”
For Cr Lobegeier, he believes this process needs a set of experienced hands to see this process through, otherwise, a government administrator could be appointed.
“Any new councillor that comes on board, and I’ve seen it happen so many times over my career, take a minimum two years, sometimes longer, before they understand or know what’s required of them.
“We don’t have that time.
“If we don’t get it right, I’m fairly certain the state government will send in an administrator, and they will not take into consideration the liveability and the economic long-term future of our community.
“They’ll simply want to get the books right.”
At the end of the day, Cr Lobegeier wants to be able to achieve this financial stability, while having a community to be sustainable with.
“I don’t want to be sustainable, and the community has nothing left,” he said.
Cr Lobegeier is committed in his service to the community, working towards better infrastructure, and building the tourism economy.
“Being a councillor has never been about me, it’s been about service to my community.
“That’s what drives me, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”