Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett
Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett Mike Richards GLA131218PRES

Q&A: Our leaders reflect on the year past and the year ahead

IT'S been a big year for the Gladstone region, so we asked our leaders to tell us their highs for 2018, and what they hope to see come the new year.

1. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BEST BITS OF 2018?

Matt Burnett: "When I first started as mayor I recall wanting to get more money from Federal and State governments for more sporting fields and facilities, reduce costs and boost local businesses.

Some of the big announcements have been a bit tricky because of the timeframe we have to work with to deliver projects on.

We've been busy attracting major industry and agricultural projects, major infrastructure like an inland rail from Melbourne to Gladstone.

I was saddened by the resignation of Cr Cindi Bush, but was delighted with the quality of candidates who ran to fill her position on council."

Memorable moments included park upgrades from Agnes Water to Mt Larcom, Gladstone's first NRL game, the Queen's Baton Relay and the 70th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.

Glenn Butcher: "The biggest change in the past year is we've certainly hit the bottom of the downturn and some good stories coming out of local businesses.

We saw some good wins with the upgrade to Marley Brown Oval and the Centre of Excellence which helped get the NRL game to Gladstone.

That was delivered under Works for Queensland which has been amazing for this community.

Tourism with the cruise ships has been absolutely amazing.

Gladstone is so far ahead of other ports in that these large ships can dock here, passengers don't need to be transported from the ship to the shore by smaller boats."

Ken O'Dowd: "The rollout continues of NBN and mobile phone towers with approximately 30 in Flynn.

The roll-out of the NDIS continues (alongside) increase in spending in health and education.

(We're) building better roads and are continuing to replace old timber bridges across Flynn. (There's) $20million for Phillip St bypass and the upgrade to the Capricorn Highway at Gracemere.

2. WHAT ARE YOU HOPING FOR IN 2019?

Matt Burnett: "Two big projects early next year.

Boyne Tannum Aquatic Centre Feasibility study - they've looked at a number of sites in Boyne Tannum for the facility and we'll have that report in the first council meeting in 2019.

Marley Brown Oval Master Plan - It's a master plan, not based on a feasibility study, because the ratepayers aren't going to pay for it.

Marley Brown oval is owned by the Gladstone Ports Corporation. GRC is the managing leaseholder of the facility so we can use our rates equivalency from the GPC to pay for it.

If it costs more than that we will be pushing State and Federal governments to top up any shortfall."

Glenn Butcher: "Turning the sod on January 7 for the new Calliope High School was one of my promises in 2015 to save the land and now we're building a high school which is certainly great news for the Calliope community.

(There will be) construction of a new $4.5 million building at Toolooa State High School in the new year.

We'll also be turning the first sod in in the first few weeks of January on the $42million upgrade to the Accident and Emergency at Gladstone Hospital.

I think it's going to be a good year for Gladstone, plenty going to be happening."

Ken O'Dowd: "I hope to bring down price of electricity and cost of living (with) job security for all workers and a pay rise.

I want to win the next federal election and fight for job security in the coal, gas and aluminium Industries.

I would like to see cheaper air fares from Gladstone to Brisbane and good general rain thought out the region to ease the stress on farmers and residents.

I want to obtain a MRI new licence for Gladstone (bulk bill) and work on getting more rural doctors in the region."

3. DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION?

Matt Burnett: "To eat better and to stop skipping breakfast.

Glenn Butcher: "I want to continue in my role as assistant minister for Treasury Queensland and continue to be a good state member.

I'm looking forward to becoming a grandfather in March."

Ken O'Dowd: "Retain my seat of Flynn in the next Federal Election 2019 so I can continue to provide Flynn with the best possible outcomes for my constituents, and ideally for the Coalition to remain in power."



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