’Deeply troubling’: Why deputy mayor won’t rerun
THE last four years have been the most difficult of Jan Chamber's 16-year career as a councillor, prompting her to step down after next month's election.
The Maranoa council deputy mayor revealed she will not stand for re-election in the March 28 Local Government elections, citing the last term has been unlike anything she had ever experienced before.
"I have personally found this term of council as deputy mayor deeply troubling, and was not something that I was prepared to put myself and my family through again," she said.
"This term of council has been unlike anything I had ever experienced in local government in my previous three terms of council.
Starting her career in 2004, Cr Chambers served on Booringa Shire under well-respected mayor, the late Warren Wilson, and was proud to work alongside a dedicated CEO, Donna Burke.
When councils amalgamated to form Maranoa Regional Council in 2008, Cr Chambers earned a spot with the votes of her constituents, and has been a fixture in the council chambers for 12 years.
"For the first two terms I worked under mayor Robert Loughnan, who gave all councillors the opportunity to grow their abilities within council," she said.
"Team work was at play to achieve the visions and strategic direction that councillors had initiated."
Cr Chambers said working alongside CEO Julie Reitano, a Roma resident since 2012, had been a privilege.
"She has a phenomenal work ethic and vast experience," Cr Chambers said.
"Julie has done a power of work to take council's strategic direction forward and built a great team of staff which I refer to as the Maranoa family.
"I will miss the contact with these people that give above and beyond on a regular basis and are committed to the region.
Cr Chambers said she wished to thank the "genuine" people who contacted her with suggestions, constructive criticism, questions and compliments throughout her years as a public servant.
"I thank you for taking the time to be involved in your community and hope you continue to provide this input into the future," Cr Chambers said.
"There is a very small minority of people that make a choice to be negative on social media about decisions made at council, and I feel sad they don't take the time to seek the facts first.
"In most instances, it is obvious that you don't have the complete picture to honestly make comment about the decision or the councillors voting for those decisions."
To the prospective councillors standing at the upcoming election, Cr Chambers had some words of advice.
"Make sure you are genuinely interested in the entire region and not just putting your hand up for a single issue. It can be a rewarding job, but also a very demanding job as well," she said.
"The time for debate is in the chamber, once the vote is taken all councillors need to proactively support the decisions.
"I thank those councillors from Booringa and then Maranoa that I have worked with over the past 16 years who have displayed a genuine desire to provide leadership, governance, vision and growth to make our region a great place to live, work, and play."
Cr Chambers said she had been part of many major achievements during her 16 years, including:
•LOCAL BASED EMPLOYMENT CONTINUED SINCE 2008 - Customer service offices in Mitchell, Surat and Yuleba and a strengthened one in Injune, all libraries, depots retained, field crews in all communities.
•MY MARANOA BUSINESS - an initiative involving local business that supports local business and purchase of materials and supplies locally.
•FINANCES AND REPORTING - Surplus Net Operating Result in 2016/17 and 2018/19
•All three of the State Government specified sustainability ratios are within target range for 2018/19.
•Unmodified (Clean Bill of Health) Audit Opinion for the last five consecutive years.
•Gold - at Australasian Reporting Awards for the last four consecutive years for our Annual Report.
•Town based projects
•ROMA - major investment in flood mitigation, Central Business District Upgrade, Netball Courts.
•MITCHELL - stormwater drainage, MPHS (Booringa Wing) built for aged residents, new swimming pool, new bore in 2019/20, water main renewals.
•INJUNE - purchase and development of state land for residential purposes, building of art gallery.
•SURAT - Lions Park, upgrade aquarium, establishment of Long Day Child Care Centre, construction of changing room and a new canteen at Rec Grounds, continuation and upgrade of River Walk.
•WALLUMBILLA - Showgrounds upgrades, contribution towards Emergency Services Shed, Master Planning for new complex at Calico Cottage.
•YULEBA - New Cenotaph, upgrades to customer service centre to cater for the post office, Master Planning Cobb and Co Park.
•MUNGALLALA - contribution towards new Fire Shed, new bottle trees in Main Street.
•AMBY - Purchase of land for community use.
•MUCKADILLA - First locked/key access waste facility.
•JACKSON - Historical Display at the Playshed.
•AIRPORTS - Upgrades to airport terminal and runway in Roma for all Maranoa residents to access as well as continued maintenance on Mitchell, Injune and Surat Airports.
•SALEYARDS- new truckwash, purchase of land, lease for truckstop, truck parking facilities, stage 1 of Saleyards Improvement Plan - new yards and the Multi Purpose Building.
•ROAD NETWORK - Continued maintenance and upgrades to the road network to support all forms of industry including cattle, sheep, grain, timber, tourism and gas to name a few.
•WATER AND SEWERAGE - Renewing of infrastructure with new bores for many of the towns and small communities and an extensive sewer relining program.
"Many of these projects couldn't be funded by council alone, and I acknowledge the combined advocacy and applications to federal and state governments and industry to achieve the outcomes," Cr Chambers said.