Keen to forge ties and listen well
A COUPLE of years running the Douglas Theatre Arts Group and the Paws and Claws animal refuge has helped prepare Michael Kerr in his run for councillor at the upcoming local elections.
Like many communitybased organisations the theatre group, and especially Paws and Claws, have faced their difficulties from time to time. Being president of both has raised Mr Kerr’s profile considerably since the Douglas resident of 14 years stood at the inaugural Douglas council elections in 2013.
“Through doing this community work I’ve met a lot of people in the community who are either happy or not happy with the way things are happening with council,” he said.
“I want to be a representative for the community of Douglas Shire. I live in Port Douglas so I am familiar with what’s happening in Port Douglas, but I wish to represent the whole shire.
“I keep my nose in everything and I get feedback from a lot of people from a lot of different areas and demographics because I’m not involved in any particular social clique.”
Part of keeping in touch with the community’s needs is forming strong ties with local committees as well as business owners and operators.
“I’ve got a good line of communication with the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree, and that’s very important. I strongly believe that Tourism Port Douglas Daintree’s job is to get people here, and Chamber’s job is to make sure when they’re here we have the facilities and the commercial properties to cater to them.”
Mr Kerr said his own experiences with council had helped him realise the importance of “open communication” and supporting local businesses and operators.
“I had a lot of dealings with council as a business owner in Melbourne,” he said. “I had a historical hotel in a historical gold mining town, and I had a lot of issues getting things through council, so I know what a hindrance they can be and how helpful they can be.
“I want to see a far better integration of people dealing with council departments.
“Council should be there to assist. There needs to be a good line of communication, just a different mindset that we’re here to help not here to hinder, which is something I have heard on occasion.”
A healthy balance of development and environmental progression, says Mr Kerr, is important to the advancement of the Shire.
“A lot of the experiences I have had have taught me to deal with people, and I strongly believe that as a councillor your job is to deal with people.
“If you know how to deal with people, you’re good at getting knowledge out of people. For me, that’s what makes a good councillor, because then you’re able to make decisions.
“You’re not making decisions for your own benefit, you’re making decisions based on what the majority of the people in the Shire that live here are telling you they want.”
Mr Kerr has relinquished his position in sales at the