Why Chambers is running for mayor’s seat again
NEVER bored and ever determined, North Burnett mayor Rachel Chambers is hoping to maintain her seat in the upcoming council election.
Having never aspired to be a career politician, Ms Chambers said there was a lot of thought that went into the decision to run again.
But to stop now, she said would feel like a disservice to the community.
“I know I’m capable of leading the organisation to a place where our service delivery to community is effective and efficient, and our community is empowered, involved and understands that we (council and community) are on the same side, that we are partners in our great grandchildren’s future,” she said.
“It’s just taken much longer than I originally thought it would and we are not there yet.”
From water security to education and waste, Ms Chambers said there were some issues that needed to be on the council’s agenda, whether or not she was at the helm.
“Whether I’m here or not, water needs to be firmly on council’s agenda – affordability, access and reliability for both our urban and irrigation supplies,” she said.
“Education – we threw everything into getting a university hub in the region and found out in December that we weren’t successful, yet.
“We need to achieve this as it would slow the flow of our youth out of the region.”
When it comes to waste, she said they had some unique challenges given their geography and population which would need some out-of-the-box thinking for workable solutions.
“And, I want to continue with our QUT project in economically modelling roads because I think that could be a game changer for regional areas, just to name a few,” she said.
Throughout the past four years as the region’s mayor, Ms Chambers said there were many highlights, one of which was getting to know people within the community.
“I am in such a privileged position where it’s my job to go all across the region and meet people of all ages and backgrounds – as a people person, it’s an ideal job,” she said.
“Within council, and this is going to sound really boring, but having developed some good asset management planning.
“It’s the first piece in the puzzle to improving engagement, productivity, efficiency and aligning budget and outcomes with community expectations.
Outside of the region, she said a highlight was developing an understanding of the role ‘politics’ plays in decision making and strengthening the North Burnett’s advocacy by using strong data.
Despite her term as the council’s leader, Ms Chambers said the biggest surprise was still the day before the 2016 election.
“I was thought of as a community person, someone who had always worked in some way for community,” she said.
“My integrity and desire to do good had never been questioned. Then overnight, once elected, people thought of me differently.
“My integrity, my motivation, my intent, everything was questioned, as overnight I became a ‘politician’.
“Funny thing is though, I never changed. I’m still that community person, in a community elected job, doing the best I can.”