COVID-19 (coronavirus) Pandemic Response
Thank you for taking the time to read and share this very important message, which addresses my response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, within the Moreton Bay Region.
I have received more calls and emails than I have been able to handle over the past 24 hours, made by residents and small business owners that are terrified for their future.
While we haven’t seen a huge number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases yet, we have seen the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) start a death spiral, major events across the region either cancelled or called into question, large amounts of job losses are now inevitable and some small businesses are set to close their doors.
If mass isolation is enforced at any time, all this will be amplified.
These aren’t my observations; these are the cries for help and conversations of concern I have been overwhelmed with.
The Moreton Bay Region is the third largest local government region in Australia, which has the capacity and social responsibility to do something to protect its residents.
As mayor (if I’m elected) of the Moreton Bay Region, I have a plan that will reduce the impact of the pandemic on local people and businesses:
- A complete council rates rise freeze for the next 24 months. Not indexed at CPI, a real and absolute freeze.
- If you lose your full time job between March 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021 and you’re an owner occupier, your rates for the same period will be discounted to $0.
- If you’re a small business owner operating in the Moreton Bay Region, you will be able to apply for a 12-month rates free period on your place of business. If your landlord pays the rates on your place of business, they will be required to pass the savings onto you.
- The current council purchasing, or procurement policy must be adapted to give MUCH greater weight to buying local.
- A large number of small events will be created over the region. People attendance will be capped at 500. This will keep a large number of people and small businesses employed.
- The council infrastructure program will be brought forward and expanded to save and create local jobs.
- A community groups grants program will be created, targeted at helping community groups deliver events and programs that benefit the community during this period.
Right now, it is not the time for the Moreton Bay Regional Council to simply be a business. It is the time to be humane, be responsive and position the region to get through this challenge better and stronger into the future.
To make it clear, If I’m elected, there is nothing stopping me from meeting the other councillors and council CEO to collectively deliver on my vision.
I will work tirelessly for this community. Before being a councillor, I was in small business. I now have a young family. I get it, I understand the concerns that have been coming at me hard and fast.
Together, we can stand and be strong for each other. Together, we can create a better lifestyle.
SCRAP the Planning Scheme
The current planning scheme is, in my view, the biggest mistake (not the only one) the Moreton Bay Regional Council has ever made. I have fought long and hard on this, which has led to me being bullied and set up.
As your mayor, I will rip up the council planning scheme and make it your planning scheme. This will start with extensive and meaningful consultation with the whole community.
I have learnt (I did more than 800 roadside mobile offices as councillor) that the proper way to do this, is to get out of the office and under a small marque on the side of the road. With no barriers to you being able to come up to me face-to-face and have a conversation about what matters to you.
This is how the planning scheme community consultation, along with forums and online avenues must be done.
Further, this is the only way we will truly give our natural wildlife, local history and future vision the attention needed to create a much better lifestyle.
Also, during this election period, many people have got in contact with me in relation to Lakeside Park raceway. I will include this vicinity in this process to give the community its proper say.
Poor planning decisions have concerned me so much, that I have gone back to university to acquire a degree in town planning.
Investment in Community Infrastructure
I will drive investment into infrastructure that actively brings the community out of their homes and together, therefore contributing to a better lifestyle, creating jobs and tourism opportunities.
These community infrastructure projects include new parks and improvements to existing parks, a wildlife research centre and hospital, sporting infrastructure that will bring spectators and money into the region, space for community interest groups and projects arising out of community demand.
Partnering with community groups such as Apex, Rotary, Lions and progress associations is, in my view, a great way to focus on community projects that will have the most impact, while also getting much better value for money.
This is why I want to establish an MBRC Community Groups Partnership Program. This program will see more and better projects achieved with a greater community ownership.
A not-for-profit community group or groups will be able to make an application to partner on a project that will benefit the community. Then the council will commit $5 for every $1 the community group or groups raise.
Further to all this, I will demand that council develop better relationships with community groups, along with a higher level of respect for these groups. I have found that community groups often have a better understanding of what is needed than governments.
Crime and Our Youth
Our youth are our future (such a cliché but vitally true) and most of them go about growing up to become great contributors to our community.
But some find themselves taking a destructive path that hurts themselves, the community and can even result in expensive loss of or damage to personal and public property.
I have a solution to this, rolling out 24-hour 7-day Advanced Functioning PCYCs. This would be a partnership between Moreton Bay Regional Council, Queensland Police, state and federal government, along with other groups and the community.
As mayor, I will be making this a state election issue later this year.
This concept is so important because:
- Not many youth commit crimes, but a lot of crimes are committed by youth after dark.
- The investment in this initiative will save the community many times over in crime reduction, and youth being converted to productive and well-integrated community members.
- These centres will be staffed by highly trained police, carers and educators.
- These centres will be highly resourced with cutting edge educational and other equipment.
- These centres will be a safe place to go if a young person must leave their home because of domestic violence or other life-threatening reasons.
- To break the cycle, youth will be able to gain real qualifications including practical, certificate or even a university degree or two.
This initiative will solve many immediate problems but, more importantly, will create a much more prosperous and brighter future for our community. Therefore, creating a better lifestyle.
Roads + Car Parks + Footpaths = JOBS
Communities connected by good footpaths, better local roads and convenient car parking are proven to enjoy huge benefit to their economies.
This also comes back to good town planning, and is an area that requires urgent attention across our region.
Along with the overall planning scheme, I will be working with community and businesses to fix this.
Trees for Bollards
When it comes to protecting council assets such as parks, buildings and walkways, it has been the standard approach to install bollards.
But in many cases, trees would be just as effective – with the added benefits of giving shade, being more aesthetically appealing and much better for the environment.
I will be calling for a review of all existing bollards to be assessed, as to which ones would be viable and benefit from being switched to strategically chosen trees.
All future required bollard type protection needs would go through the same process.
Industry and Tourism
Industry and tourism have been grossly undervalued in the Moreton Bay Region. This is the engine room, that if looked after, will return much more than is put in.
I will be demanding that investment across these areas be at least doubled. With this in mind, there is a state government election later this year.
I will be using this opportunity to demand that a Regional Tourism Organisation be formally recognised in our region. Brisbane has one, the Sunshine Coast has one and so should we.
This is important, because it comes with more state and federal government funding, along with other opportunities.
On top of this, I will establish an annual Moreton Bay Festival aimed at being region wide to bring the whole community together and put the Moreton Bay Region properly on the map.
Community groups and businesses will benefit from this, along with improvements to our job market and lifestyle.
Regardless of whether I am elected as mayor of the Moreton Bay Region, I will continue, along with my family, to hold and be part of community events.
Every year, we hold Easter Egg Hunts across the region, which brings families out of their homes and into their local parks to meet with other families.
Along with the Easter Egg Hunts, we also put on movie nights and other events that help raise money for local charity groups.
These local community events are helping to build social equity, which the whole region has lacked.
If I’m elected mayor, I will ensure more community events, where residents come together and build meaningful relationships are delivered.
This is also a great opportunity to ensure, as mayor, I am continually grounded and in contact with a large number of residents. And that community assets are more enjoyed by the community.
As mayor of the Moreton Bay Regional Council, I will set and correct the council culture. This means creating a culture where each employee is valued and empowered to better serve the region.
Further, I will see to it that a range of initiatives and programs are implemented, such as the likes of Challenge Zero, where council works towards “zero harm at work – at home – in our communities”.
There needs to be a complete human resourcing rethink. Being the third largest local government in Australia, the best of the best needs to be employed and retained.
The whole of the Moreton Bay Regional Council needs to be working effectively for a better lifestyle for every person in the region.
“I’m Kerri Raedel (Larter), and I’m a born and bred Redcliffe girl.”
I first met Adrian when I was 18 and working for the then Raedel family business. We instantly became friends and I was struck by his overwhelming loyalty.
Over the years, I have seen Adrian do absolutely anything for others, at times complete strangers, even if it meant causing discomfort to himself – he was always just happy to be helpful.
We were in the friend zone for years, but life showed us that we were perfect together, so we married. This led to the best moment of my life, we welcomed into the world twins Christian and William (I can’t wait to celebrate their first birthdays on the 8th of May).
I know Adrian will give the Moreton Bay Region as mayor EVERYTHING he has, with his family alongside him. Being a councillor for 12-years, Adrian gives me a great deal of confidence that the Moreton Bay Region can unite and create a better lifestyle for our young family – and yours too!