DIVISION ONE COUNCILLOR: Cr Paul Lobegeier wants achieve financial sustainability if elected at the next council election. Picture: Contributed.
DIVISION ONE COUNCILLOR: Cr Paul Lobegeier wants achieve financial sustainability if elected at the next council election. Picture: Contributed.

Better roads, funding, and financial sustainability

THIS week North Burnett residents will cast their vote on who they want to sit on the next council.

Seventeen candidates have officially registered through the Electoral Commission Queensland to run for North Burnett Regional Council across six divisions, with mayor Rachel Chambers running unopposed for the mayoral seat.

We spoke with Division 1 candidate Paul Lobegeier asked him 12 questions to understand how he ticks, what her priorities are, and where he sees the region heading in the next four years – and these are his answers.

1. Why do you want to be a NBRC Councillor?

Together we have achieved so much in the past decade. I would be letting our community down if I did not keep serving this special region to enhance its prosperity.

2. What relevant experience have you had that qualifies you to guide the Council forward?

I have been a Councillor for many years now and was an active member of the team in Council that helped pick us up after the floods by finding the funds to regroup and rebuild our community. After that, we can overcome anything that confronts us.

3. If elected, what are your top three priorities?

- Ensure Council becomes a financially sustainable Council

- Achieve a “better cut” of funding from the State & Federal Governments

- Only when we achieve the first two priorities, can we do the job everyone wants, which is bettering our roads and streets

4. In your opinion, in what areas is the North Burnett leading the way?

Our agriculture sector is punching well above their weight. Whether it be beef, pork or fruit production, our producers are achieving new and inventive ways to grow their operations. On our fertile soils, our grain and fodder farmers are adopting best practices.

5. What Challenges do you see impacting the region in the next four years?

If the next council does not build on the work already done in growing this council to become financially sustainable, our future is not bright.

6. What business, residential and investment interest do you have locally and beyond?

We run a modest, family grazing operation with a breeder block at Westwood, backgrounding at the Dawes block and fattening on the blocks at Kapaldo. We also own a house in Monto.

7. What’s more important supporting small business in the region, or attracting big business to the North Burnett

As a councillor, it would be silly to separate the two. Your small business are the heart and soul of the Community and the major economy drivers. However, we must always be attracting and promoting new business, large and small, in whatever form they might be.

8. What is the first thing council should do to improve health services across the North Burnett?

Council has a good working relationship and an active working group with all the health providers in the region. Through this group, Council should continue to lobby the State and Federal Governments to maintain and grow health services.

9. What community and volunteer activities have you engaged in prior to the current election campaign?

I am involved with too numerous community organisations across the region to mention all. The two I head up are Aged Care Monto and Burnett Catchment Care Association (BCCA). I feel these groups either drive our economy now or will help drive us in the future. I’m president of Aged Care Monto including Ridgehaven which has 52 staff (the largest employer in Monto). We buy everything we can locally, are meeting all standards and are now financially stable. I am also the chair of BCCA who played a major part in the flood recovery across the catchment. With the intellectual capacity held by the staff of BCCA, they will help shape our future.

10. As a Councillor/ if elected, how do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for the region?

From 2021 Council will be required to consult the community on the budget which I think is a positive and I look forward to this to expanding to all aspects of Council. I know we will need to communicate this with our community through a range of methods.

11. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the region any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would spend it on the roads and street network to lift the overall standard of this network. That type of investment would shift our networks intervention level up by one category. Another option would be to have our beautiful Monto Town Hall airconditioned.

12. Tell us something about yourself that others may be surprised to know about you.

I have a love of fixing all things mechanical and can fix most motors from chainsaws to large CAT engines. I’m not afraid to pull any transmission apart. I have taught myself this out of necessity.