Em­pow­er­ing re­gion‘s res­i­dents

MELINDA JONES Divi­sion 1 PAID FEA­TURE

Central and North Burnett Times - - FEATURE -

1. Why do you want to be a NBRC coun­cil­lor?

I have a pas­sion for see­ing the North Bur­nett re­gion thrive.

I want to be coun­cil­lor and I believe my skill set sup­ports this. I see a coun­cil­lor as a po­si­tion that takes the com­mu­nity on the jour­ney and looks at how we can co-cre­ate and sup­port com­mu­nity to strive will­ingly to­gether to­wards a greater fu­ture.

2. What rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ence have you had that qual­i­fies you to guide the coun­cil for­ward?

I have over 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment and hospi­tal­ity sec­tor, work­ing in the pri­vate, cor­po­rate and gov­ern­ment ser­vices at both a lo­cal and fed­eral level.

I am a qual­i­fied Jus­tice of the Peace and am cur­rently un­der­tak­ing a Master of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (MBA).

I have a di­verse em­ploy­ment his­tory along with a range of qual­i­fi­ca­tions and ex­pe­ri­ence.

3. If elected, what are your top three pri­or­i­ties?

1. Get­ting ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture right with a fo­cus on roads, waste, in­fra­struc­ture man­age­ment and wa­ter.

2. Get­ting cus­tomer ser­vice and life­style ser­vices right, through con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity to shape the out­come, fo­cused on parks, abil­ity play­groups and ac­ces­si­bil­ity, public ameni­ties, sport and re­cre­ation, cul­tural, his­tor­i­cal and art de­vel­op­ment.

3. Sus­tain­abil­ity of coun­cil’s work­force – be­ing a for­mer em­ployee of lo­cal gov­ern­ment, en­dur­ing four in­ter­nal re­struc­tures over five years, I know first-hand how im­por­tant it is to pro­vide a work­place that sup­ports and de­vel­ops its staff to achieve their best, as well as a safe emo­tional work­place.

4. In your opinion, in what ar­eas is the North Bur­nett lead­ing the way? Com­mu­nity: com­mu­nity con­nec­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tion and con­sul­ta­tion. The com­mu­nity spirit of the North Bur­nett is what makes the re­gion stand out.

5. What chal­lenges do you see im­pact­ing the re­gion in the next four years?

Age­ing pop­u­la­tion, ex­port­ing of our young peo­ple and fam­i­lies, large lo­cal gov­ern­ment road net­work and min­i­mal rate base.

6. What busi­ness, res­i­den­tial and in­vest­ment in­ter­ests do you have lo­cally and be­yond?

My hus­band and I are own­ers of Waratah Longhorns which is an emerg­ing busi­ness started in 2017 by our pas­sion for the Texas Longhorns and I am the trea­surer for Na­tional Texas Longhorn Aus­tralia Inc.

We are also ratepay­ers in both Divi­sion 1 and Divi­sion 2 for both res­i­den­tial and ru­ral prop­er­ties. I am a di­rec­tor on Red Earth.

7. What’s more im­por­tant, sup­port­ing small busi­nesses in the re­gion, or at­tract­ing big busi­nesses to the North Bur­nett?

Grow­ing the Bur­nett is more im­por­tant, in­cor­po­rat­ing sup­port of ex­ist­ing in­dus­try through shop­ping lo­cal, busi­ness growth and men­tor­ing, as well as at­tract­ing and sup­port­ing in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment.

8. What is the first thing coun­cil should do to im­prove health ser­vices across the North Bur­nett?

Hav­ing chaired the North Bur­nett Ser­vices Net­work meet­ings in the past, and cur­rently work­ing for the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Agency, I have first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence within the health sec­tor.

Main­tain­ing a strong re­la­tion­ship with Wide Bay Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice, and es­tab­lish­ing re­la­tion­ships with pri­vate health ser­vices are a pri­or­ity. Ad­di­tion­ally, pro­mo­tion and util­i­sa­tion of these ser­vices so that they grow.

9. What com­mu­nity and vol­un­teer ac­tiv­i­ties have you en­gaged in prior to the cur­rent elec­tion cam­paign? Dur­ing my 16 years in Monto I have vol­un­teered in var­i­ous roles, in­clud­ing as an RE teacher at state pri­mary schools, Monto State High School chap­lain, Monto State High School P & C com­mit­tee mem­ber (with eight years as pres­i­dent), sec­re­tary for Monto Dairy Fes­ti­val (four years), pres­i­dent for Monto Magic Tourism Ac­tion Group (cur­rent – third year), RADF com­mit­tee mem­ber, or­gan­iser for Monto Shop Lo­cal Cam­paign, Three Moon His­tor­i­cal & Cul­tural com­plex com­mit­tee mem­ber, Monto State High School 50th An­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions, IMPACT4Mon­to – Dis­abil­ity Sup­port Group, Monto Hospi­tal Aux­il­iary, sup­ported sport and recre­ational clubs, co-ap­pli­ca­tion for Ru­ral Aid – 10 town makeover, Monto Mu­ral project and much more.

10. As coun­cil­lor/if elected, how do you plan to in­volve res­i­dents in the de­ci­sion­mak­ing process for our re­gion?

To em­power peo­ple to have a voice in the de­ci­sions that im­pact them through im­ple­ment­ing par­tic­i­pa­tory prac­tices; en­abling peo­ple to play an ac­tive and in­flu­en­tial part in de­ci­sions that af­fect their lives. 11. If you re­ceived a $1 mil­lion grant to use for the re­gion any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

In­crease the roads main­te­nance sched­ule or use the funds to cre­ate a com­mu­nity part­ner­ship grants where $1 mil­lion could be more than dou­bled to cre­ate a fun, vi­brant place to play. Or, use the funds to cre­ate a gen­er­a­tor hub that is fo­cused on sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­nesses and at­tract­ing in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment to in­crease work op­por­tu­ni­ties in the re­gion.

12. Tell us some­thing about your­self oth­ers may be sur­prised to know about you.

I am a proud mother of three adult chil­dren and a grand­mother of two.

I was not born and bred in Monto, how­ever, I have four gen­er­a­tions and ex­tended fam­ily mem­bers con­sist­ing of my brother and his fam­ily and cousins, who have cho­sen to call Monto their home.

Pic­ture: Con­tributed.

POWER TO THE PEO­PLE: If elected, Melinda Jones hopes to give ratepay­ers a say in the de­ci­sions that im­pact them.

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