From the Mayor's Desk« Back
On Thursday 9 April, I, along with the six other elected Councillors, took my oath of office. It was a very low-key, un-ceremonial affair, befitting of the circumstances in which we all currently find ourselves.
I’m well aware of the expectations that the people of our region have of me, and I will do my utmost to meet those expectations. I am very grateful for the kindness and encouragement that people have shown me as I have taken on the mayoralty.
As soon as the results were declared, I brought the six elected Councillors together to congratulate them and to discuss the expectations that exist of the Goondiwindi Regional Council in the changed circumstances in which we find ourselves. We had a chance to get to know one another, along with the senior executive members of Council, before our Post-Election meeting held on 15 April.
Our community has had the benefit of a smooth and well-planned transition to a new Council, with no time being lost. Many Councils around Queensland may not even be sworn in by the time we have our first formal meeting on Wednesday 22 April, let alone have a sense of direction or plan of action.
We owe much of this smooth and timely transition to the professionalism and foresight of outgoing Mayor, Graeme Scheu. In recent weeks, Graeme invited me to briefings on critical elements of Council’s business and ongoing work. This has ensured that I’ve had the information I need ahead of time and that there is no disruption to Council’s services and focus during the transition.
I would like to thank Graeme for his keen advocacy and passion for our region. This was evident up to the last day of his mayoralty. Graeme provided great leadership as the inaugural Mayor of our amalgamated Council area - this was no mean feat when considering the challenges still evident in other merged Councils around Queensland.
I would also like to personally thank outgoing Councillors Joan White, Rick McDougall and David Turner for their commitment to serving their communities and the important contribution that they have made to our entire region. I wish them, Graeme, and all their families well in the future.
Our region’s electors were well served by eleven high-quality candidates. To those who were unsuccessful, I say ‘thank you’, and I acknowledge their efforts and desire to serve their community. It was indeed a difficult choice for many in selecting the six positions.
When we cast our Council ballots a few short weeks ago, few could have foreseen the changed world upon which we now must focus our efforts. But these are now the circumstances that we must deal with as a priority.
I understand, as your Councillors do, the importance of equal and fair representation across the entire 19,284 square kilometres that make up the Goondiwindi Regional Council area. Your Councillors are keen to be out and about engaging with your community. Unfortunately though, the way that we all interact must change for a while; months, maybe even longer.
Important community events such as our country shows, art exhibitions, community open days and so many other ways that we could previously meet together and discuss things are not now readily available to us. You will, however, see me and your other Councillors in your community, talking to people one-on-one and visiting businesses as much as is practically and safely possible given current restrictions.
With this reality in mind, Council is looking at different ways that we can communicate with our communities and their organisations, including receiving ideas and giving feedback in an interactive real-time way.
As many locals know, I am not a real social media person. You cannot be something that you are not and so, aside from Council’s official social media page and website, that is the way I am going to leave it. I am always available to take and return your call on my mobile phone number, which is 0439 782 787. You can also contact me through one of our Council offices, or Council’s many other means of contact.
I will be regularly travelling to the many communities throughout our Council area. Please keep an eye out for the notifications in the local media and online or just contact the office to enquire when I plan to be in your area. If you want to catch up to discuss any matter relating to Council, please give me a heads-up beforehand if possible, as then I can make sure that I have the information at hand to be of maximum assistance when we meet. Of course, all this must happen within the reality of current restrictions.
Rest assured that I’ll be communicating regularly and directly to our region’s residents, with updates on Council’s deliberations and outcomes and actions.
In the meantime, please keep safe in the knowledge that your Council is working cooperatively with all other levels of government and local organisations to ensure that our community is well equipped and ready to get back to normal as soon as possible.
Hon. Lawrence Springborg
Goondiwindi Regional Council