General News

28 February, 2024

Ready to represent the people

WITH close to 30 years working in the agricultural industry, Leonie Wittenberg says she is ready to represent people living in the Mareeba Shire.

Ready to represent the people - feature photo

A resident of the shire for 20 years, Leonie says she is already a familiar face to farmers and “pretty much anyone with a mango tree” on the Tablelands. 

With three decades of working in agriculture, Leonie says she has often been asked to give advice on all things plant and food related, both as an independent Pest Scout in LW Crop Services, and as a life member of the Seed Savers Network. 

From a background in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and CSIRO, Leonie says she has been listening to the problems faced by the people living and working here and is focused on working to provide sustainable solutions together.

As a dogwalker, horse rider and former motorcycle racer, Leonie is passionate about safe travel around the shire and considers prioritising roads, footpath, trails and green spaces. 

“The recent heavy rains are very familiar to all long-term residents of Mareeba Shire and everyone wants to be able to get access to their own home without having roads and bridges wiped out by poor drainage and cheap construction,” she said.

“We all need to manage water runoff better as it is certain that these events will be repeated and Band Aid repairs will suffer the same destruction as the old roads.

“Residents, businesses and visitors cannot move forward without improved services when, at the moment, we are stuck with old infrastructure requiring constant patching.

“I see the future of Mareeba Shire as beautifying the towns and improving the roads to keep up with the rapid pace of rural development and the need for supportive structures to manage the aging population and next generations of residents.”

Leonie says her vision is for a “unified community working together to ensure that the rapid expansion in the towns and rural areas doesn’t compromise quality of life through poor decision making and lack of regulation.

“We need to embrace all the cultural diversity present in the shire and develop resources to manage the gaps created by the seasonal demands of tourism and farming,” she said.

“My goal is to bring my knowledge and drive to benefit all members of the community in the role of councillor through the gathering of information and applying it to provide practical solutions. 

“My travels around the tropical north of Australia and overseas have given me a greater understanding of the difficulties we face living remotely and the enormous forces of nature affecting such a large shire. 

“I have had to gain the trust of the agricultural sector of the community in order to run a successful business and would like to bring that commitment to ethical service and fairness to perform as a decision maker for the community.”


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