Response to Mr Brent’s Media Release 7 February 2020 (edited 12/02/2020)
I Will Keep Building on Proven Results.
I note Mr Brent has again tried to undermine the excellent work of this term of Council and the innovative solutions Council has announced. I am sure he would like his statements to be the truth.
However, the facts show a very different story.
Fact 1 The final review of Jobs Jump Start showed it did not live up to expectations. It certainly did not make a significant contribution to the record Jobs Growth achieved during this term of Council which added 600* new jobs in 1 year.
Fact 2 The new Investment Attraction approach is significantly different and includes components and approaches that did not exist prior to this term of Council. These differences are based on the new culture we are building in Council Services to be Customer Focussed – a very different approach to the past.
Fact 3 The new Approach does indeed remove the operation of these programs from the realm of political influence and ensures it is administered properly and professionally, without the bureaucracy that Mr Brent refers to. A very clear lesson across Local Government since Mr Brent lost office has been the importance of avoiding Mayors or Councillors doing deals with Developers. Our process is based on ensuring all applicants can rely on fair and transparent treatment.
Fact 4 Mr Brent seems unable to respect the fact that our magnificent region has enjoyed exceptional growth during this term of Council with a record high Gross Regional Product of $1.9 Billion and that exceptional jobs growth of 6.5% in just 1 year. These have not been jobs in Council – they are jobs in a wide range of businesses and industries across our region who have responded to a strong and positive approach from a fresh thinking Council.
Fact 5 The Regional Prosperity Strategy contains pillars and actions that did not form part of any prior term Council approach. It has been informed by working with local businesses to provide practical, meaningful solutions. Mr Brent is clutching at straws to suggest it is somehow an imitation of a prior era.
Fact 6 When it comes to infrastructure charges, all decisions about settings for infrastructure charges and other fees and charges are actually decided by the whole of Council not the whim of the Mayor. It is a further matter of fact that Council has reduced some infrastructure charge categories during this term (Note: Any waiving of Infrastructure charges has to be made up from the wider ratepayer base to deliver necessary infrastructure). It seems Mr Brent would like to go back to a prior era and exercise inappropriate control from the Mayor’s chair.
In closing, it appears Mr Brent is locked in the past when he states that he wants to return to a flawed program like Jobs Jump Start. Our region’s future success does not lie in resurrecting out of date failed approaches. I have spent much of this term dealing with the legacy of Mr Brent’s era, while also leading our region through the most challenging series of natural disasters and recovery programs our region has faced. Our region has shown it has great potential under my proactive and forward focussed leadership and I look forward to continuing to pursue the very best future, a Stronger Future for all across our region. We have just begun and there is a great deal more to do – now is not a time to turn back.
Approved Greg Christensen; 08/02/2020
* The initial version of this media release listed a jobs growth figure of 900. However, I was advised after release that the original figure I quoted was revised down to 600. Employment data available at this link: http://economy.id.com.au/scenic-rim/local-jobs?WebID=10.