Empowering region‘s residents
MELINDA JONES Division 1 PAID 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.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE: If elected, Melinda Jones hopes to give ratepayers a say in the decisions that impact them.