Why Cham­bers is run­ning for mayor’s po­si­tion again

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

NEVER bored and ever de­ter­mined, North Bur­nett mayor Rachel Cham­bers is hop­ing to main­tain her seat in the up­com­ing coun­cil elec­tion.

Hav­ing never as­pired to be a ca­reer politi­cian, Ms Cham­bers said there was a lot of thought that went into the de­ci­sion to run again.

But to stop now, she said would feel like a dis­ser­vice to the community.

“I know I’m ca­pa­ble of lead­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion to a place where our ser­vice delivery to community is ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient, and our community is em­pow­ered, in­volved and un­der­stands that we (coun­cil and community) are on the same side, that we are part­ners in our great grand­chil­dren’s fu­ture,” she said.

“It’s just taken much longer than I orig­i­nally thought it would and we are not there yet.”

From wa­ter se­cu­rity to ed­u­ca­tion and waste, Ms Cham­bers said there were some is­sues that needed to be on the coun­cil’s agenda, whether or not she was at the helm.

“Whether I’m here or not, wa­ter needs to be firmly on coun­cil’s agenda – af­ford­abil­ity, ac­cess and re­li­a­bil­ity for both our ur­ban and ir­ri­ga­tion sup­plies,” she said.

“Ed­u­ca­tion – we threw ev­ery­thing into get­ting a univer­sity hub in the re­gion and found out in De­cem­ber that we weren’t suc­cess­ful, yet.

“We need to achieve this as it would slow the flow of our youth out of the re­gion.”

When it comes to waste, she said they had some unique chal­lenges given their ge­og­ra­phy and pop­u­la­tion which would need some out-of-the­box think­ing for work­able so­lu­tions.

“And, I want to con­tinue with our QUT project in eco­nom­i­cally mod­el­ling roads be­cause I think that could be a game changer for re­gional ar­eas, just to name a few,” she said.

Through­out the past four years as the re­gion’s mayor, Ms Cham­bers said there were many high­lights, one of which was get­ting to know peo­ple within the community.

“I am in such a priv­i­leged po­si­tion where it’s my job to go all across the re­gion and meet peo­ple of all ages and back­grounds – as a peo­ple per­son, it’s an ideal job,” she said.

“Within coun­cil, and this is go­ing to sound re­ally bor­ing, but hav­ing de­vel­oped some good as­set man­age­ment plan­ning. “It’s the first piece in the puzzle to im­prov­ing en­gage­ment, pro­duc­tiv­ity, ef­fi­ciency and align­ing bud­get and out­comes with community ex­pec­ta­tions.

Out­side of the re­gion, she said a high­light was de­vel­op­ing an un­der­stand­ing of the role ‘pol­i­tics’ plays in de­ci­sion mak­ing and strength­en­ing the North Bur­nett’s ad­vo­cacy by us­ing strong data.

De­spite her term as the coun­cil’s leader, Ms Cham­bers said the big­gest sur­prise was still the day be­fore the 2016 elec­tion.

“I was thought of as a community per­son, some­one who had al­ways worked in some way for community,” she said.

“My in­tegrity and de­sire to do good had never been ques­tioned. Then overnight, once elected, peo­ple thought of me dif­fer­ently.

“My in­tegrity, my mo­ti­va­tion, my in­tent, ev­ery­thing was ques­tioned, as overnight I be­came a ‘politi­cian’.

“Funny thing is though, I never changed. I’m still that community per­son, in a community elected job, do­ing the best I can.”

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