Keen to forge ties and lis­ten well

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

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

Michael Kerr

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