Eleven trends in the South Burnett election campaign

THE South Burnett Regional Council election campaign is finally nearing its end.

With polling day just around the corner, here are 11 trends we couldn't help but notice throughout the campaign.

Road Levy

THE dreaded road levy has been at the forefront of every council candidate forum on the election trail.

Should it be kept or scrapped?

The candidates are just about split down the middle.

Some say it is $3.1m of necessary cash to continue road maintenance while others want to see council save the money through "efficiencies". 

Just what those efficiencies will be is still vague.

Private Hospital

Should the council run the South Burnett Private Hospital?

Even the current councillors seeking re-election are divided on this.

Some candidates have said it would cost the council too much cash while others believe keeping the hospital open is more important. 

"Efficiencies"

Undoubtedly the buzzword of the South Burnett Regional Council campaign, a call for "efficiencies" in the council has been uttered by most candidates.

What that means is still up in the air, with most unable to provide a conclusive answer to how the council could be made efficient.

Does that mean the use of key performance indicators?

Plenty of candidates seem to think so.

KPIs

It seems a large chunk of the mayoral candidates and Division 4, 5 and 6 councillor candidates want to see key performance indicators on staff to make it more "efficient". 

But no candidate has moved past those three letters - KPI - and offered more specifics.

Communication

Does the council communicate well enough?

There are candidates who think it can do better, whether that is on road levy repairs, the private hospital or debt.

But what is that debt level again?

Council debt

Is it 40m or 60m? Numbers have been flying around candidate forums.

Financial portfolio holder Cr Keith Campbell definitively said it was the former at the Murgon forum.

Some think it the debt is necessary but others want it cut down. 

Efficiencies? You bet!

Rates notices

Council spends $200,000 to send rates out quarterly instead of half-yearly.

Too much administration for the council?

A shift to half-yearly notices was a hot topic for council "efficiencies" at the Nanango forum.

Catchphrases

Catchphrases are the cornerstone of well-fought election.

Plenty of the mayoral and councillor candidates have crafted earworms to hook the voters in.

Does it work? We'll know on polling day.

Here's a few we're sick of hearing:

Keith Campbell: If you didn't already know or hadn't constantly heard it, Cr Campbell loves the work and talking with people.

Damien Tessmann: Elections truly are democracy in action if you ask Cr Tessmann. Cr Tessmann's one-liners have been about as popular as tofu at Christmas.

Sheena Lindholm: Nobody has communicated about how the council can improve communication better than communicator Ms Lindholm. It's been one of her main communications during the campaign. Did we mention communication?

Mike Brown: How should the council save money? They should follow the woman shopping for band-aids at the supermarket. But we don't think he means trimming the council's band-aid budget, that would be ridiculous.

Grant Newson: Mr Newson wants to "break the cynical cycle" in the council. Though we have to say, most of Grant's issues with the current council are pretty cynical. 

Tourism

Bring more tourists to the region.

That is what most of the councillor and mayoral candidates want.

Everyone has a different idea on how to do it. But a trend has emerged - if the council wants more people visiting, they'll have to communicate more efficiently.

Corflute vandalism

REFERENCES on corflute vandalism has stretched from Nazi Germany to clowns.

It seems maturity hasn't been a strong point for some vandals across town.

Controversy

It's been called one of the dirtiest campaigns yet.

Some candidates scrambled to distance themselves from a letter published in the South Burnett Free Press (not affiliated with The South Burnett Times) asking if councillor Ros Heit should have run again after a cancer diagnosis.

She is currently in remission.

We'll be happy to see the nastiness take a back seat once the new council is elected.

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