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February 7th, 2011

This article was supplied to me by Jim Mackellar who has aspirations to become the Fraser Coast’s next lord mayor.

The unedited article is posted with no input or opinion from the editor

Any prospective candidate for positions in the next local elections is welcome to also submit a policy statement or comment for viewing in this commerce site

Socioeconomic Disadvantage

According to the draft Community Safety Plan presented to the Fraser Coast Council on Thursday 27/1/2011 almost half (49.8%) of the residents of the Fraser Coast are among the most socioeconomically disadvantaged people in the state of Queensland.

Only 3,300 people in Maryborough are considered to be among the 60% least disadvantaged people in the state. 24,000 are among the 40% most disadvantaged.

These are appalling and distressing facts. Especially as there are no apparent reasons for our region to be so poor, for our people to be so disadvantaged compared to the rest of the state.

We have a wonderful climate, ready access to road, rail and air transport, a ready pool of employable people and ample available land. Why are we so disadvantaged?

Even more appalling is the fact that this report was presented to Council on the same day as they chose to increase their salaries to cover the proper reduction in their allowances. Where is the empathy?

What is to be done? Professional regional economic development presents the only real opportunity to improve the situation. And the organization best placed to implement regional economic development is the regional Council.

But what are they doing? The Council’s economic development efforts are directed only to major projects and tourism. And the last few months have proved how fickle the tourism market can be. Why are we pouring millions of dollars into it at the expense of all other forms of business development?

Economic wellbeing is based upon a solid foundation of small to medium size businesses producing goods and services for local and external markets. Building this base can only be accomplished by following the well proven steps that have been successful in the past.

Where are our small business incubators? Where is our business retention scheme? What has Council done to improve the regulatory environment for small business investment on the Fraser Coast?

Are our present Councillors seriously interested in improving the desperate degree of socioeconomic disadvantage on the Fraser Coast or are they more focused on the preparation of their fancy reports and strategies to create the impression they are doing something?

‘Words, its only words’, may very well be the theme song of this Council but the people of our region need more, much more.

Jim MacKellar

Fraser Coast

Received & published by Henry Sapiecha

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