At the moment the race for the Mareeba Mayor is a two-horse race between experienced Councillors Nipper Brown and Angela Toppin.
Both candidates are experienced councillors, both are long term locals and both are passionate about the region.
So what are some of the main differences between councillors Toppin and Brown?
Before getting involved in local politics, Angela Toppin worked as an educator, teacher and principal at some of the region’s largest public high schools before deciding to run as a councillor for the Mareeba Shire Council (MSC) 4 years ago.
Mrs Toppin considers that her career “has equipped me to manage and lead the MSC into the new decade. Schools, especially independent public schools are complex organisation requiring a plethora of skills – communication, collaboration, negotiation, and planning being a few that I possess. Being accountable to the public was always a priority of the job”.
Councillor Toppin believes that under Mayor Gilmore the MSC has been a steady ship “I think we have done a wonderful job over the past 4 years and I hope to continue that steadiness and consistency that we have delivered over the last term of local government”
Although she does believe that some obstacles have been put in council’s way “One of the biggest hurdles for council at the moment is the Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) that was handed down from the state government.”
Councillor Toppin agrees with Mayor Gilmore thoughts on the TLPI “I think it’s absolutely disgusting what the state government has done, they handed down this TLPI without consultation. The Minister hasn’t even been to the Tablelands to get a cooks tour of the local developments. The TLPI has more to do with strangling development than saving good agricultural land”
Other areas that Mrs Toppin would like to see more action on, is the promotion of eco and adventure tourism. “This would be done collaboratively with the Chamber of Commerce to bring more tourism dollars into our shire.
“This would lead to increased employment through strong economic growth and stability particularly youth employment, as many of our youth exit Mareeba and move to larger regional centres for employment”.
Liaising with State and Federal Government for upgrades of transport corridors, “The Kuranda range is woefully inadequate and incapable of servicing the needs of the shires current population, let alone supporting growth and an increase in industry.”
Reliable access to safe and sustainable water “As a Shire, we are reliant on seasonal rainfall and the whims of too many stakeholders; it is vital that a long-term plan be adopted and adequate infrastructure be installed to secure the Shire’s water supplies.”
Increase in growth of population and infrastructure “It’s important that we have the best infrastructure and facilities to support the needs of all residents in the Shire. Adequate recreational facilities, parks and community amenities, health agencies and services (including age care facilities and support), public transport and transportation facilities need to be planned, funded and strengthened. “
Councillor Toppin says she is a truly independent candidate with no political ties to any parties “I’m running as an independent Mayor, so that I am 100 per cent independent, with no obligations or loyalties to third parties or individuals. I believe it’s essential if we want strong accountability and transparency.”
On the other hand Councillor, Nipper Brown is happy to be part of a team “being part of a team means that the ratepayers are getting five people with a common vision for the shire”
“While we share a common vision, it doesn’t necessarily mean we always have the same opinions”
“I have always been in a team when we de-amalgamated I was part of Tom Gilmore’s team”
The main platform my team are running on is “Maintain the financial stability that council currently is enjoying and to increase communication with the ratepayers”
Councillor Brown also believes the TLPI is a hurdle to the current council “that is one of the first things as mayor I will try and fix, that needs to be negotiated with the Minister to be taken off us or see if there is a way to water it down. I don’t agree with the way it’s been handled”
“I believe the Kuranda range is part of the problem and they have implemented the TLPI due to pressure from other departments, I agree with Mayor Gilmore’s letter and comments”
“As a council, we are doing really well and I hope to continue that trajectory but there are always things that we can improve upon”
“I would like to improve communication; council communication across the board needs to be improved. I would like us to have a regular community BBQ, where all the councillors and the mayor do all the cooking, making sure that we are there for the ratepayers and available for a chat.
“Also as Mayor, I would be in Kuranda about once a fortnight in a pop-up shop, so that people can come talk to me and one day every couple of weeks pop into other areas across the shire.”
Nipper Brown would like to see the council do more lobbying to get the Kuranda range fixed “The widening of the range is not going to happen in my lifetime, so as a council we need to be investigating and lobbying the state and federal governments for other alternatives”
Nipper Brown was born in Mossman grew up in Julatten and went to school in Mareeba “after leaving school I chased cows for a few years around the gulf, and then I worked for Telstra for over 20 years”
“Whatever job I’ve worked in, I ended up in a management role whether it be head stockman or district manager for Telstra”
The next elections will be held on Saturday 28 March 2020, go to https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/ for more information.