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4 December, 2019

MSC candidates gear up for election

A number of Mareeba Shire residents have come forward and put their names down for the next council elections.

By Rhys Thomas

Cr Graham committed to community engagement

WITH the Local Government Elections in March of next year, council hopefuls are starting to put their name forward as voting rapidly approaches.

One such person who is hoping to be re-elected is Cr Mary Graham, a well-respected Mareeba businesswoman who has been a councillor with MSC for the past six years.

Cr Graham has officially announced that she will once again be nominating for the role of councillor, and it’s a position she has cherished since beginning in 2014.

“I have had the privilege of being a councilor since de-amalgamation, and during this time along with my fellow councilors we have kept the focus on financial stability while still managing and completing major infrastructure upgrades,” she said.

“These projects include the new sewerage treatment plant, the completion of the $23 million upgrade to the Mareeba Airport, the current upgrade of the Mareeba Industrial Park and the major upgrade of Therwine Street in Kuranda, just to name a few.”

It’s not just Cr Graham’s role in helping deliver key projects to the region that has enabled her to establish such a respected reputation within the community, as her commitment to a number of not-for-profit organisations has been extensive.

“During my time as councilor I have been involved with various committees throughout the shire such as Relay for Life, The Multicultural Festival, CIOM, Mareeba Heritage Centre Committee, Flexichoice, Save the Mareeba Hospital Group and Tableland Futures Cooperation,” she said.

The foundations the current groups of councilors have built over the last six years are to be admired, and Cr Graham credits those tough early years as the reason behind their success.

“When first being elected as councillor, we had some really hard decisions right at the very start when we de-amalgamated, and I think as a result of that it’s why we’re on such a sound financial footing now,” she said.

“We were required to make some brave decisions but they’re ones we look back on with pride as they needed to be made.

“And if given the privilege to once again to serve this wonderful shire I will continue to keep the focus on financial stability as well as maintaining the infrastructure and services that are required to service our community.

“Also, I will continue to look for opportunities to further grow the shire so that the job opportunities are there for the next generation.”

John Brisbin looks to grow the shire

AS Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Tom Gilmore and Deputy Mayor Alan Pedersen have announced that they will be stepping down at the next Local Government Elections, it has opened up some positions on council, and there are a number of worthy candidates who are putting their hand up to serve the community.

One such person who has announced that he will be running for the role of councillor is John Brisbin, a Mount Molloy resident whose advocacy for the town has earned him great respect within the community.

A native of the USA, Mr Brisbin has worked and travelled widely. He’s chucked prawns on a trawler in the Gulf of Mexico, employed a dozen craftsmen in a hotmetal letterpress shop and developed interactive digital media while living in a rural Japanese fishing village.

After half a lifetime of moving around, John Brisbin arrived in Australia in 1995 and immediately felt a sense of coming home.

“Everyone needs the chance to feel at home, and for me, Australia is home,” he said.

Since settling with his young family in Mount Molloy 7 years ago, he has been an active contributor to local groups. At the urging of local residents and Mareeba leaders, Mr Brisbin has put his hand up to stand for Council.

“Mareeba Shire has a fascinating history, a powerful story of persistence and adaptation to change, and is poised to grow into a beautiful, sustainable future,” he said.

“I can’t imagine a better way to serve my community than to represent them on local council.”

Mr Brisbin said being involved in the community is something very close to his heart.

“I’ve had a chance through the Northern Gulf and other groups to get across the shire and region so this is an opportunity to formalise that engagement and service the entire community,” he said.

“I’ve lived in many places, and I feel I can bring a diversity of view to the role.

“What the current council have built has been impressive, however I still feel there’s opportunities that we can tap into as a council moving forward, and that requires being open to thinking outside the square which I feel I will do as a councillor.”

Mr Brisbin said he would be making a concerted effort to advocate on behalf of the shire as a whole, ensuring that some of the smaller communities surrounding Mareeba don’t get left behind in the decision making process.

“We’re seeing communities in the bush struggling right across the country, and given that this shire’s wealth is built on primary production, I believe the Mareeba Shire Council could further capitalise on the industries that drive our shire so all of us benefit from it,” he said.

For more information on MSC candidate John Brisbin, you can visit his Facebook or Instagram pages – brisbin4Mareeba

Cr Davies’ plan to build on council’s success

THE Davies surname is synonymous with local politics, and current Mareeba Shire Councillor Kevin Davies has announced that he will be running for reelection at next year’s Local Government Elections.

Kevin was first elected as a councillor in 2016; an achievement he said was a huge honour.

“Being a councillor is a role I take very seriously,” he said.

“I enjoy the challenges that the position brings with it, and it has been rewarding knowing that the shire is financially sustainable.”

Kevin attributed his decision to stand for re-election to building on what has already been achieved in the last four years.

“I will strive to continue to improve and maintain our roads, sewerage and water network within the shire, and lobby State and Federal departments to improve infrastructure, water security and roads,” he said.

“Given I’ve been in the industry for years, I particularly want to see key projects through like Oootan Road and Chillagoe Road.”

“I also plan to help build council’s reserves for future developments, keep rate increases to a minimum, and maintain council’s current staffing levels to achieve expected service levels.”

Being a councillor requires the ability to work as a team, and that’s something Kevin believes the current councillors’ willingness to work together is a big reason behind their success.

“We don’t always agree on everything, however we make sure that we hear each other out to guarantee we make the right decisions that benefits the whole shire,” he said.

“We councillors have particularly learnt a lot under the leadership of Mayor Tom Gilmore and Deputy Mayor Alan Pedersen, their experience and guidance was integral in the transition council had to make since de-amalgamation.

“And that’s evident as we’ve recognised by the Queensland Treasury Corporation as a financially viable council.”

Kevin said he will continue his proactive approach to the position of councillor if re-elected come March.

“My aim as councillor is simple, to get things done,” he said.

“I use a very direct method and that’s something I believe I have brought to council and will continue to bring if elected. Cr Davies said his family’s experience in local politics has been something that has really helped his time serving on the council.

“As many people know my father and grandfather were heavily involved with this council, and hearing of their experiences has helped me a lot in my time in the role,” he said.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a councillor and I would love the opportunity to continue serving the community.”

Educator highlights social cohesion

BEING a councillor is a rigorous position that comes with plenty of responsibility, and one such person who believes he is the right man for the job is Mareeba resident Mario Mlikota.

Mr Mlikota has been an educator for more than three decades, teaching throughout the state before taking on the role of Head of Department in Social Sciences at Mareeba State High School in 1987, and prides himself on being a mentor and role model to generations of Far North Queenslanders.

In addition to his involvement in educating the region’s youth, Mr Mlikota has been extensively involved with a number of local organisations in the community such as the Mareeba and Memorial Bowls Club, Mareeba Rugby League Club and Mareeba Golf Club.

Mr Mlikota said his decision to nominate for the councillor position was one made so that he can continue to positively serve the community.

“I can assure the voters that I won’t make promises that I can’t deliver,” he said.

“I am prepared to listen and act upon their concerns for a positive outcome which will benefit our community.

“My passion for the shire and region as a whole is the driving force behind my intent to nominate for councillor.

“In addition, I want to have a role in helping our shire move forward and to continue to be the best region to live, work and play in.”

As a former educator, Mr Mlikota said if he were to be elected he would put a strong emphasis on improving community engagement in the region.

“I want to work for the whole shire,” he said.

“Being involved with schools for as long as I did, I recognise the importance of keeping members of the community engaged and that’s what I’ll be looking to implement.

“I’ll encourage and advocate for more community events that cater to people of all ages so we can improve on our region’s social cohesion.

“As a community we already have great social cohesion, however there’s always room for improvement, and I’d love to be a part of applying that as a councillor.”

Bensted to bridge the gap

FATHER of two and Mareeba business owner, Locky Bensted, recently announced that he is running for councillor in the upcoming Local Government Election for Mareeba Shire.

The 34-year-old attended Mareeba State High School and during his final year of High School, won the Youth Parliament competition for the old State Government seat of Tablelands.

2003 then saw Locky win the ABC Radio Heywire Competition which took him to the Federal Parliament in Canberra. Both experiences allowed him to gather some insight in both the State and Federal political environment.

Locky is an engaged community member who has numerous passions that allow him to connect with community members in town and rurally, this includes work as a Rodeo announcer at most of the local rodeo and campdraft events around FNQ.

Locky also lends his vocal cords to local charity events with his auctioneering skills. Locky has spent a lot of time in the outer regions of the shire which has allowed him to connect with residents and their needs.

“The Mareeba Shire Council is in a sound position following de-amalgamation and it’s thanks to the current leadership team. As a long-term resident and small business owner, I thank the Mareeba Shire Council councillors and staff for the opportunities they have created and wish those who are not seeking re-election a happy retirement,” he said.

It’s these vacancies that prompted Locky to put his name forward as a candidate to help continue the positive outcomes whilst realising that moving forward the council needs some representatives from the next generation.

“The ship that is Mareeba Shire is already sailing on a steady course and it’s important that we keep the wind in the sails for the next term and beyond,” he said.

I want to become part of a productive Council not a reactive one and believe that a simple but fresh, enthusiastic and innovative approach to this next council would allow this Shire to continue to prosper.

Locky said politics has always been a passion, and he feels he can make a difference if elected.

“With Alan and Tom stepping down, there was an opportunity for the next generation to come through which was of interest to me,” he said.

“I’m not interested in reinventing the wheel; however I feel my fresh and enthusiastic approach can help bridge the gap between the younger residents of the shire and council.”

An initiative Locky will be advocating for throughout his campaign is “community catchup”, an afterhours program where councillors will visit the various regions of the shire to hear firsthand the concerns facing its residents.

“While the core structure of council is fantastic, but there’s still that connection between young families and council missing, so what I’m hoping to bring is an open channel of communication as that can only benefit the Mareeba Shire,” he said.

“Something else I’m passionate about is the agricultural sector, and our inability to get road trains in and out when we need to is something I will be heavily looking to rectify.

“So ensuring we can get the most out of our primary producers will be something I strongly advocate for.”

Locky said he would like to thank MSC Mayor Tom Gilmore and Deputy Mayor Alan Pedersen for their integral work on council and he noted that if elected, he hopes to carry on the reputable legacy they will leave behind come March.

Mladen preparing to take the shire forward

THE Tablelands is filled with individuals who have made a significant impact on their community, and one such person who definitely has done so is Mladen Bosnic, and he will have the chance to make an even greater impression as he has announced that he will be running for the position of councilor at the next Local Government Elections.

Mr Bosnic’s involvement in the community is an extensive one, having been a board member of Soccer Far North and as Chair of the recently formed Far Northern Volunteer Area Committee of Crime Stoppers among others.

Mr Bosnic promises to bring a strong work ethic, and if his professional career is anything to go by, he’s sure to deliver.

“I inherited my parents’ strong work ethic and upon completing school in 1972 I worked on their tobacco farm,” he said.

“I later became a meat worker at the Mareeba meatworks and also enlisted in the army reserve 51st Battalion where I served for 7 years.”

Mr Bosnic said he’ll bring a strong focus on the sustainability of agriculture in the region.

“Having invested in the industry through my own rural property, I am aware of the challenges facing the industry such as access to market, fair gate price for produce, employment, water security for an expanding horticulture sector, transport and other infrastructure limitations,” he said.

“I bring a wealth of vision, energy and results to whatever I apply myself to, which has driven me to seek election as a councillor.

“It is a position from which I intend to influence change for the betterment of the shire and its communities.

“I am a genuine listener and powerful advocate for my constituents, and I believe I am the right person to take the Mareeba Shire forward with prosperity and harmony.”

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