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19 March, 2021

Mayor chats about 12 month on

NEARLY 12 months ago, Mareeba and Tablelands residents went to the polls for the 2020 Local Government Elections. The election took place on March 28 and we have decided to sit down with MSC Mayor Angela Toppin to speak about the last 12 months in office.

By Phil Brandel

MSC Angela Toppin who is celebrating 12 months in the top job.

NEARLY 12 months ago, Mareeba and Tablelands residents went to the polls for the 2020 Local Government Elections. At the time both Mareeba Shire Mayor Tom Gilmore and Tablelands Regional Mayor Joe Paronella decided not to recontest their positions. This meant both councils would have first time mayors for the next four years. The election took place on March 28 and we have decided to sit down with MSC Mayor Angela Toppin and TRC Mayor Rod Marti to speak about the last 12 months in office. 

Mayor Toppin in a few words describe the past 12 months of your mayorship 

It’s been a whirlwind; we started our council during an unprecedented event. The new council had to work through a new normal. We were called upon by the community to lead through a global pandemic, that’s now history and I believe that council handled the situation very well. My aim is to continue to make this shire the best that it can possibly be. We want to make sure that our agricultural industries, business and developments are all forging ahead to ensure a brighter future for our shire. 

What have you learnt over the past 12 months? 

I’ve learnt that council is so integral to the community, that whatever is happening in the community, council is integral in that. We are the eyes and ears of our community, so we are in a very pivotal position to flag concerns, to say this is working well or this isn’t working well. 

How is being mayor different from being a councilor? 

As a councilor I was out in the community a lot, people saw me as somebody they could talk about their concerns. Now as mayor, I’m also the political face because I now have to deal with state government and federal government. I now must be constantly updated on what is happening in my own shire. If a minister says I’m driving through can I pop in, you’ve got to be ready for that. Whereas when I was a councilor that was a space that I did not need to operate in. 

What is your vision for the Mareeba shire for the next three years?I want the Mareeba Shire to grow, I want it to be a place that attracts business and industry and families to the area. To make it a very livable and attractive shire. We have already started on that as part of our parks and gardens survey. 

 I would also like to break the back of the water infrastructure problem that we have. We must have water security, its something we are going to have to work at very carefully. Water security for residents and for farmers is very important, our industries can’t expand with the current water supply. That is going to be the big challenge for this council as it’s a 10-year project. We also want to continue attracting government funding for projects in our shire, so that we can do a multitude of projects that we couldn’t do if we had to rely on the ratepayers. 

 I’m also looking forward to a wonderful new library for Mareeba and the Mareeba pound is another project that once completed I will be delighted with. 

 What is the plan moving forward to get more families to move to the Mareeba shire?

 We have already started to unpack the recent parks and gardens survey; we have already started on it with improving the covered play area at Centenary Park. Our rate base is very attractive compared to some other councils. There is sufficient land here for people to build homes. Our doors are also open for industries that want to move into the area, we want to grow the industrial park and leasing at the airport. 

In terms of Kuranda, we need to see more visitors there for that community to move ahead, they are really struggling there. We hope that the state borders remain open because we need to get more travellers and holiday makers in Kuranda. We have invested heavily in Kuranda, with the walking trails, improving the amenities and signage is soon to go up. 

Who are your mentors? 

I have a range of people, not excluding Ex-Mayor Tom Gilmore. Tom is a wise person and a wise politician and what he does not know about politics isn’t worth knowing. He was such a professional at his job, for me that is attractive because I believe in honesty and transparency and accountability. 

Finally, are you going to run again in three years time? 

I’m hoping too, I’m very excited to keep going as there will be unfinished business here at the council and I want to finish it.” 

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