Passionate community member sets sights on top job
WHEN Abigail Andersson was a student at Taabinga State School, the first role she took on was as a mediator.
She had a little badge she would wear with pride and kids would seek her out to help them with conflict resolution.
In her adolescence, Mrs Andersson was the captain of her class every year from Year 8 until Year 12 at Kingaroy State High School.
Now, she is hoping to share her wealth of knowledge on a much broader scale in the community.
On Christmas Day, Mrs Andersson announced via Facebook that she would run for mayor in the upcoming local government elections.
She said she felt like her whole life had led her to this point.
"I think being able to listen and make sure people feel heard and that their story is taken seriously is paramount," Mrs Andersson said.
"Generally, everyone speaks from their point of truth, whether you believe it or not, and we need to recognise that it's important."
Mrs Andersson said she'd had plenty of time to do her research and gain more mentorship from previous mayors after she lost the candidacy for Division 3 in the 2016 council election.
But towards the end of last year, she was considering not running in the election due to the demands of raising a young family and operating a business, Andersson's Fruit Market.
But a family meeting with with her husband, Dan, and three kids, Dane, 14, Elenor, 12, and Tully, 9, changed her mind.
"They have been their mother their whole lives, so they know when I ask them to show up for the community, you show up for the community," she said.
"So I don't know why I was kidding myself thinking they would be like 'no, no, don't run for mayor'.
"It's hard for them but they were like 'this is your thing and something you do well'.
Another factor behind her decision was the opportunity to inspire young people in the region.
"I want people in Year 11 and 12 to see how a local person can create this amazing life here in the South Burnett and put your hand up," Mrs Andersson said.
"I think there is a misconception that you have to leave the area before you can come back with anything good, but you can stay here and do a lot of good.
"You don't have to be in everything, but if everyone puts in something, it's the collective and I think a lot of council stuff is like that."
Water is on many people's minds at the moment and the long-time community member said it was at the top of her priority list.
"Water security is a massive thing," she said.
"We do need to look towards technology.
"So, for example Hyundai has sponsored rural towns by putting panels in place that collect water straight out of the air.
"Obviously that wouldn't happen straight away but I definitely think there's a solution out there for us to make agriculture have access to these things so we can be profitable again.
"Whether it rains or not, I think we need to get to the point where we start creating our own luck."
She also said it was time for the community to develop its arts and cultural scene.
"I don't know whether it's because I majored in arts and drama and I see a huge gap," Mrs Andersson said.
"However, those are the parts of life we enjoy and we should celebrate them more often and I think we don't do it enough."
As part of her promotional material, Mrs Andersson said her campaign would not follow a "traditional" style of campaigning.
She said she would not be printing flyers or corflutes as they were a waste of resources.
Rather, she will be relying on word of mouth and visits to businesses to influence potential voters.
"Local businesses don't have time to come talk to someone," she said.
"I will come to your business and talk to people in the shop.
"If there's no one there, I will also work in the business."
As part of her grassroots campaign, Mrs Andersson's first visit to a South Burnett business will be at the Murgon Fruit Market on Monday, Feburary 3.