‘Less red tape’ Work to be done

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols Madi­son Wil­liams

TERRY Melchert’s his­tory in this shire goes back a long way, in­clud­ing his days as a CEO of the coun­cil, on which he has since sat as a coun­cil­lor fol­low­ing the de-amal­ga­ma­tion.

He points to a fam­ily her­itage in Queens­land go­ing back a cen­tury and has lived in the shire with his wife and three sons for just over 20 years.

A cer­ti­fied prac­tis­ing ac­coun­tant, Cr Melchert has been a long-time (23 years) mem­ber of the Lo­cal Govern­ment Man­agers As­so­ci­a­tion and has had a con­tin­u­ing in­ter­est in lo­cal govern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tion. “I have over 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in se­nior lo­cal govern­ment roles and have also worked as a con­sul­tant in lo­cal govern­ment fi­nance and ad­min­is­tra­tion con­sul­tant,” he said.

“Aside from work­ing in the pub­lic sec­tor I have worked as a man­age­ment and de­vel­op­ment con­sul­tant, suc­cess­fully com­plet­ing a num­ber of projects in a num­ber of Coun­cil ar­eas, over the last 10 years.”

“My ex­pe­ri­ence in lo­cal govern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor means I have a very clear and strong un­der­stand­ing of the leg­isla­tive sys­tems in which lo­cal govern­ment has to work, and from the other side of the counter, just how daunting and dif­fi­cult it can be to deal with coun­cils, and how of­ten it is coun­cils do not un­der­stand the needs of busi­ness, and how hold­ing costs and time de­lays can make or break a pro­ject.

“There is lit­tle doubt tourism is a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the econ­omy of the re­gion and I am priv­i­leged to have worked in de­vel­op­ing sys­tems from the mid-nineties which have en­sured good fund­ing lev­els have been se­cured for the lo­cal desti­na­tion mar­ket­ing group TPDD which be­ing busi­ness driven, has done a great job in pro­mot­ing the Shire and in se­cur­ing new tourism mar­kets.”

Cr Melchert said that while the im­por­tance of tourism can­not be over­stated, the Shire has a di­verse in­dus­try base, in­clud­ing sugar and graz­ing which play vi­tal parts.

“My goals will re­flect this ap­proach and I will con­tinue to ac­tively con­sult with a broad cross sec­tion of the com­mu­nity in en­sur­ing coun­cil de­liv­ers the qual­ity ser­vices we have all come to ex­pect, while keep­ing the Shire an af­ford­able place for young fam­i­lies and the com­mu­nity gen­er­ally.

“My great hope is that a new coun­cil, in­clud­ing me, which is far more in tune with com­mu­nity and busi­ness needs will be elected, and through bet­ter and real com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion and coun­cil­lor ac­ces­si­bil­ity, we will be able to pro­vide a coun­cil and com­mu­nity in­ter­face which is per­ceived to be much more friendly and help­ing in na­ture.”

Cr Melchert wants a much bet­ter coun­cil/com­mu­nity in­ter­face “which is far, far less bu­reau­cratic, has less red tape and is more en­cour­ag­ing and friendly”. DE­SPITE prais­ing the fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity the cur­rent coun­cil was able to achieve af­ter dea­mal­ga­ma­tion Coun­cil­lor Clarke would like to see some sig­nif­i­cant changes to the coun­cil.

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween coun­cil and res­i­dents has to be se­ri­ously looked at,” he said.

“I do think more con­sul­ta­tion with all res­i­dents and ratepay­ers is a must.

“As we have seen in the past, lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion leads to a com­mu­nity not be­ing sat­is­fied with the out­come.

“As we all know, lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion leads to the fail­ure of projects.”

He said the Flagstaff Hill walk­ing track is one such pro­ject that re­flects the po­ten­tial dam­age of poor com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion.

“There are two de­signs pre­vi­ous to the de­sign put be­fore the pub­lic re­cently,” he said.

“Th­ese de­signs re­flect a bet­ter out­come for the res­i­dents at both ends of the track, and they in­cor­po­rate fea­tures that would be ben­e­fi­cial to not only tourists, but also to our res­i­dents. A lot more thought and con­sul­ta­tion has to be done be­fore we get to the world class track that it has to be.”

Re­gard­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions over the re­de­vel­op­ment of the Ma­rina Cr Clarke said he be­lieves both par­ties can come to an agree­ment.

He de­nounced coun­cil’s sug­ges­tion of the com­pul­sory ac­qui­si­tion of Lot 146.

“I do be­lieve this can be solved eas­ily and quickly, with- out the com­pul­sory ac­qui­si­tion of the wa­ter com­po­nent of The Reef Ma­rina Lease,” he said.

“This would mean that all stake­hold­ers would be in a win­ning sit­u­a­tion.”

Cr Clarke would also like to see an upgrade of sig­nage and line mark­ing in the shire as well as the in­tro­duc­tion of tourist in­for­ma­tion cen­tres that would “en­hance a tourist’s abil­ity to ac­cess all of the des­ti­na­tions in the en­tire shire”.

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