Rates, roads and rubbish: Karen Porter
We asked each candidates their views on the key roles of a council.
The answers have been published in the paper over the past few weeks, but below are Karen Porter's un-edited answers.
What do you think about the current state of the following council issues/services;
I have consistently argued for nil rate and service charge rises since being on council.
While staff are working hard to reduce costs it is the ultimate responsibility of councillors to provide direction across all budgets.
With any budget large or small when times are tough spending is reduced and debt paid down, council should be no
I strongly believe the 10 year financial plan, in particular spending on capital projects, can and should be reduced further.
Due to economic factors locally, nationally and globally residents across the region are under financial stress, council has a significant role in keeping basics costs to a minimum.
Council is constantly looking for ways to enable residents to dispose of waste responsibly.
A considerable amount of items illegal dumped can be disposed of responsibly and for free including: scrap metal, white goods (refrigerators, stoves), clean timber, batteries and green waste.
However we still experience overflowing bins, white goods dumped in bushland, and residents requesting annual clean up days.
I fully support making waste disposal points across the region more accessible e.g. transfer stations, providing adequate bins in public places and fully support one annual clean-up day per community.
Council has direct responsibility for the provision and maintenance of our region's road network i.e. approximately 960Km sealed and 1,640Km unsealed roads.
Feedback I receive regularly from residents indicate that council's road crews respond quickly and effectively to severe weather events and unforeseen road maintenance issues.
We have experienced four major flood events over the past 6 years that have caused 10's of millions of dollars damage to our road network.
Capital, flood mitigation, remedial works, planned and unplanned maintenance budgets are always stretched to the limit as teams balance available internal and external funding with the expectations of residents.
Current road conditions and programmed works are posted on council's website: http://www.gladstone.qld.gov.au/roadworks
Can you describe the role of a Councillor?
I believe councillors should have the skill, experience and focus to demonstrate strategic vision and leadership.
Their role is to seek and listen to a broad range of views, form a position and represent the collective view of the community at every opportunity.
Being a councillor requires a 100% focus on council business, including being as informed as possible and be able to influence outcomes for the community.
This is done through attendance at General meetings, Briefing meetings, delegations and advisory groups. Councillors should become actively involved on external boards and committees relevant to portfolios and the business of council as well as be well read.
To actively advocate for the region at every relevant level of government and industry (locally and nationally) requires skill, experience and focus. Council is not a part time job.