South Burnett Times journalist Laura Blackmore. Photo: Elaelah Harley
South Burnett Times journalist Laura Blackmore. Photo: Elaelah Harley

OPINION: Big challenges ahead for new council

AS A child, I always looked forward to the start of a new school year.

After the first day of term, I usually had blisters from my brand new shoes I hadn’t worn in beforehand.

I also learnt who of my friends who were going to accompany me in my class and, most importantly, the teacher who would guide me through my next year of schooling.

Similarly, the South Burnett Regional Council has just begun its new ‘school’ term.

Last Thursday, residents were informed by ECQ the new mayor of the South Burnett was businessman and first-time nominee Brett Otto, who defeated incumbent Keith Campbell in a close race.

Subsequently, the council held its first meeting yesterday via a live stream.

Throughout his mayoral campaign, Cr Otto suggested many changes he hoped to uphold during his tenure.

As the region still recovers from the ongoing effects of the seven-year drought and now grapples with the impacts of Covid-19, there’s no doubt it’s going to be an uphill battle for Cr Otto and his team.

The federal and state governments have been pouring money into projects to help support the nation avoid an economic crash.

Prior to the election, Cr Otto said he would use his background as an established accountant in the region to tackle the current council debt.

However, I assume the new mayor, along with the other councillors, did not factor in a global pandemic and how it would affect the region, not just financially but socially, emotionally and physically.

Community members have expressed their concerns to me during the past few weeks, and told me that right now we need strong leadership to guide us through the foreseeable future.

Cr Otto and his councillors are those people who you voted in, and it is their job to lead us to the other side of this health crisis.

I wish them all the best for the next four years.

South Burnett

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