Suspending Live Participation in ‘Meet the Candidates Events’ – 17/03/2020

After taking medical advice and considering all the information available to me, I have decided I will not attend or participate in the remaining “Meet the Candidate Events” at Kooralbyn and Boonah. I believe this is the only responsible course of action for me as a Leader of our community.

This is not a decision taken lightly and – please be assured – it is not an indication that I do not care about these communities or that I do not wish to engage on relevant issues. Far from it.

Let me explain:

From my understanding there are key factors that position both Kooralbyn and Boonah as Vulnerable communities. This is due to a number of factors including the increased numbers of elderly in these communities and limited available support services. I have also considered the question of “Is this an essential event?” I do not believe so.

While we are in the Local Government Election period and “caretaker mode” for Council – I still have duties to fulfil as Mayor, including as Chair of our Local Disaster Management Group responding to this issue. I believe it is responsible leadership for me to give proper priority to being available to perform these duties and not risk unnecessary exposure.

While I am committed to the Election process, I am not prepared to ignore the risk to myself, my family, my community to attend an event that is not essential for that process. While these events can be valuable to share information, and I always enjoy the opportunity to talk to my record of success and delivery, in the current circumstances this is a “nice to have”.

I will shortly publish on YouTube, Facebook and my website, a video from one of the prior Meet the Candidate Events in Beaudesert including my answers to a range of questions. Depending on available time I will endeavour to prepare a separate message directed to each community. However focussing on the adequacy of Council response will take precedent.

I will be continuing to support the Early Voting process. While ECQ is working to adapt the Election processes to mitigate community risk, including extensions to Early Voting hours, I have personally implemented a first step to reduce risk for voters.

Yesterday, I made my “Voting Advice” available via my Instagram and Facebook Accounts. Individuals can take this electronically with them to polling and avoid direct contact to receive a paper version. ECQ is also encouraging people to bring their own pen/pencil for voting to minimise “contact exchange” risks.

I am also preparing further solutions that will reduce those direct points of contact for both my volunteers and for Voters.

From planning discussions with the Council Team, I expect that as Council, we will be providing further updates later today to explain what we are doing in response to the significant threat of Co-Vid 19.

Across 4 years, I have had the privilege of Leading our Community to respond to Record Floods, Historic Drought, and Unprecedented Bushfires. Through each of these events, I have prioritised the wellbeing of every community member before focusing on the recovery process. I am bringing that same focus to this Covid-19 event. From all the information I have received to date, this has the potential to be the biggest challenge we have faced yet.

Approved Greg Christensen; 17/03/2020