Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Building Region a Bit like Rome; It Can't Happen in a Day, Councillor Julie Arthur Tells Stephen O'Grady

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Building Region a Bit like Rome; It Can't Happen in a Day, Councillor Julie Arthur Tells Stephen O'Grady

Article excerpt

A LITTLE like the capital of Italy, the Fraser Coast region will not be built in a day. That's one of the heartily held post-amalgamation views of former Maryborough councillor Julie Arthur.

"I think all councils in Queensland have got to take that journey with their community, with their staff and with their elected representatives. If you can take them all on that journey, you'll get there. It will take time.

"There's that old saying 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. That's very relevant.

"A lot of community people didn't support amalgamation, so you've got to let them be heard and their concerns listened to and try and include them in what you do at that strategic level. Bring them with you on the journey."

The regional council journey has been an uplifting one for Ms Arthur, who holds the water and sewerage infrastructure portfolio.

She is philosophical about the State Government's decision to foist amalgamation on the region. Moving forward is the only option.

"Now that we are a bigger region we don't always agree about what we're looking for but it's about having a commitment at the end of the day to make sure the process is followed through and you do achieve the best possible outcome.

"It's no good for me dwelling on the decision about amalgamation."

She believes a lot of life after amalgamation is about change and predicts further change down the tracks when the draft Local Government Act sees the light of day.

She also anticipates a directive for divisions to come in through an amended electoral act.

The council's 2031 Sustainable Growth strategy is another hill to be climbed.

Along with the broader spectrum of challenges has come a depth of resources and support that Ms Arthur appreciates immensely.

"It's not just with the technology but the staff that you need to do the admin that largely we did ourselves when we worked part-time. …

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