Gutchy creek bridge replacement

Too much spending is never enough on some projects

It was a close call at Gundiah, north-east of Gympie, where two-thirds of the town came within inches of being inundated back in March 2012. Gundiah received about 500 millimetres of rain that week, causing flash flooding in the Gutchy Creek, which flows into the Mary River. Luckily, no homes were flooded, but both Gundiah Community Place and the Gundiah Community Hall were inundated by the surge of water from Gutchy Creek reported as the Highest Flood in 100 Years.

Moving forward to December 2014, I spent some time speaking to locals, surveying the beautiful landscape, dreaming of better times for this regional locality and knowing I could help this community. In January 2015, I reported “Gundiah folk are very concerned about the single bridge on the main road. This is the access point to the school for their children and needs a safe walkway for them. Kids have created a bike track themselves but still have the safety issue of crossing the bridge. Would also like a park, skate park or something for the kids. There is only one bus stop and Gundiah residents would like a bus on the opposite side of the road for the kids. They loved my idea of the light rail and can’t see why a train in the meantime doesn’t stop at least once a week.”

At every opportunity, I raised this creating awareness and requesting action be taken to make a safe travel path for children to get to school.

One year later in January 2016 the then Acting Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure & Regional Development and Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss joined the then Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Phil Truscott to announce a new $2.3 million bridge would be built to replace the one lane bridge.

Mr Truss said the old bridge would be replaced with a two-lane, 40 tonne limit concrete bridge and would be 28 metres long with a pedestrian lane. The project was jointly funded with the Australian Government contributing $1.144 million, with the Fraser Coast Regional Council matching the cost under Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Programme.

On Tuesday 18th July 2017 I returned to see what the outcome of this big spend was. On approach, I was grateful for improving the safety of students, saving heavy vehicles a 78km detour at a cost of $1,200 per load and improving access and response times for emergency services by removing a 35 km detour; which back in 2015 I highly prioritised. When I actually took a closer look, my gratitude was quickly replaced with astonishment that this project was not complete. A great deal of work needs to be done to ensure the water flow is not hindered by its poor design and construction. Stones and rocks are filling the drain pipes and breaking the road surface. The embankments need widening to allow water to run away without washing all the support framework away with it.

Why does it look this way today? Because of not consulting the people who understand local flooding. I’m no expert in building bridges but I listen to the locals and completely understand what they are saying and local, state and federal governments must listen too. How much more money is it going to take to get this sorted properly and I wonder what time frame?

I have added an images of Emerys Bridge to show how a bridge that is 3 times bigger, cost $860.000 to replace back in 1998 which would cost $1,286,578.08 today. How does a bridge a third of the size cost $2.4 million? Value for money is thrown out the window, when governments fail to time the construction of infrastructure to make sure they’re not inflating the prices of labour, materials and equipment.

#wastefulspend #buildingbridges #politicalnews #gundiah

Rob Pyne responds to FCRC

ICAC style inquiry needed

Last year Rob Pyne called for an inquiry into local government in Queensland, stating that bullying, nepotism and toxic working environments are common. For more than a year he has been tabling examples of these matters and it is most disappointing that it has taken this long to legislate for change. Councils could be employers of choice—model employers. Mr Pyne reliably informed the House that Queensland councils are in many cases toxic workplaces that have damaged, and will continue to damage, people.

I stand with Rob Pyne in calling for a ICAC style inquiry into Local Government so that this harm and the many other offensive actions of Councils will be stopped.

Rob Pyne 

#toxicculture #icac #politicalnews

FCRC Organisational Review tabled in Parliament

The document we have all been waiting for has finally been released.

Thank you to Rob Pyne: Putting Cairns First for tabling the Fraser Coast Regional Council‘s Organisational Review and Development Plan today in Qld Parliament.

The CPEM report was behind the decision to vote for the dismissal of CEO Lisa Desmond, which was carried 7 / 4 at a confidential council meeting on April 6.

Recommendations Review Feedback to the Organisation – pages 93 and 94

1. There needs to be a public thank-you from the Mayor for their commitment to improve the organisation.

2. A feedback document should be created that summarises all findings for all staff.


3. Elected members (Mayor and Councillors) need to undergo significant training and development focused on appropriate Councillor behaviour.

This includes but is not limited to:

i. Understanding the strategic and governance role of Councillors acting as if they were a board

ii. Councillor behaviour when dealing with operational staff such that inappropriate micromanaging behaviour ceases from Councillors and allows the operational and management staff to perform their duties without inappropriate interference

iii. Councillor behaviour when dealing externally with community and/or media to ensure appropriate perception and reputation management of the organisation

4. The relationship between the Mayor, other elected members, and the CEO must be significantly addressed to minimise the current state of trauma and embarrassment within the organisation.

This should include:

i. Agreed delegated authority confirmed by Councillors as a group

ii. Agreed protocols for information sharing, communication and decision making

iii. Agreed and transparent accountability around professional conduct of both the Mayor/Councillors and CEO


5. The CEO needs to rebalance (redacted)– focus on leadership (strategy, culture and people) and management (task and function) so (redacted) significantly increase leadership behaviours and delegates typical management tasks and behaviours.

6. The CEO needs to move from a directive autocratic style of decision making towards a more consultative style of decision making thus demonstrating respect for internal expertise.

7. The CEO needs to develop a set of delegated authorities that will significantly limit. ed to get involved in day-to-day operational issues.

8. The CEO would benefit from setting up a series of clear observable and measurable KPls for senior and key staff which will obviate (redacted) to become involved in numerous meetings, conversation and decisions.

9. The CEO needs to actively increase the leadership capability of (redacted) Executive Management Team. This should include but not be limited to; i. Developing contemporary leadership competencies and behaviours ii. Developing a dynamic and interdependent leadership team

10. The CEO needs to significantly improve the clarity, transparency, and reasoning behind decisions being made.

11. The CEO needs to actively support, encourage, and drive a values based, high performance, customer centric culture that has zero tolerance for bullying, harassment, favouritism or other behaviours that reflect poorly on the integrity of the organisation.

Click here for undated, titled ‘Fraser Coast Regional Council – Organisational Review and Development Plan’ (redacted)

#transparency  #goodgovernance  #politicalnews



Our time is now



#HadEnough – FCRC we call on you to end the chaos in Council.

If you care at all about fixing the ongoing dysfunction in the FCRC you must turn out in force on Wednesday morning at 8:30am, City Hall, Maryborough. Democracy can be reasserted here if we make the council hear our voice. Rally to End Council Chaos!

Bring signs or just bring yourselves and your friends but turn out as this is our time, they must listen.

Wednesday 9th November, 2016
City Hall

Enough is enough Fraser Coast. Our reputation, our economy and our community is being destroyed by the infighting between the CEO and the Mayor and between councillors. We can no longer afford our council and CEO to be focusing their energies on attacking each other and point scoring rather than working together to better our wonderful region.

We also can not tolerate that the staff of OUR council are forced to work in such a “toxic” work environment and that there is a culture of “favouritism” and “reprisals”. The CEO needs to take responsibility for the HR problems and toxic work culture. The CEO and the Mayor can not work together in any positive way. One of them must go. The Mayor is elected, the CEO is an employee, whatever the many faults with the Mayor, its the CEO who must resign or be sacked for there to be any chance of this community rebuilding faith in the council.

Apathy has hurt our community for too long, if you care this may be your only chance to really stand up and make change happen.

Our demands:
1. We ask the CEO of the Fraser Coast Council to resign immediately.
2. Should this not happen we ask the council to pass a resolution in open chambers requesting the resignation of the CEO.
3. If not passed or CEO does not resign, we request the Mayor to use his powers to sack the CEO.
4. If this doesn’t happen immediately we request Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to sack the entire council, appoint an administrator, sack the CEO and call fresh elections for March 2017.

This rally is just prior to the council meeting starting with Public Participation at 9am, please stay and make your voice heard if you can.

Thank you for caring about our region and I urge you to make sure you attend and bring friends so we can make our voice powerful as one.

Michael Weekes & Jannean Dean
Rally Organisers
Email Michael
Email Jannean

Election Commitment 1 of 8


I am funding my own campaign to be completely independent; to not allow decisions to be influenced, delivering the right outcomes.

I PLEDGE to embrace The FIVE Local Government Principles underpinning the Local Government Act 2009. This will be my job description if elected:

a)  transparent and effective processes, and decision-making in the public interest
b)  sustainable development and management of assets and infrastructure, and delivery of effective services
c)  democratic representation, social inclusion and meaningful community engagement
d)  good governance of and by local government
e)  ethical and legal behaviour of Councillors and local government employees.

Introduce video streamlining of all Ordinary Meetings. Not only will we be able to observe body language and listen to how responses are expressed, absentee Councillors will still be able to vote.

Public Participation to be recorded and followed up. I value people’s time, energy and ideas. If they can find the courage to address Council than this needs to be respected and acknowledged. Recordings can be uploaded to Council website for future reference.

REVIEW Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position and salary. Review all Senior and Executive Management positions.

Put the focus back on the entire Fraser Coast and make it fair and equitable for all communities.

Review terms and conditions that silence Councillors and staff.

Discuss divisions and portfolios. Should future Councillors be elected under specific portfolio criteria or divisions? Do divisions just divide people?

Rate payers provide Fraser Coast Opportunities (FCO) wages to the sum of 2.6 million dollars per annum, plus contribute a further $500K in grant form. This is not viable when you look at the report. FCO need to be looking at all the undervalued treasures across the Fraser Coast and synergise with Council’s Economic Development Strategy.

Review Ambassadors for the Fraser Coast.

Open up a new conversation on de-amalgamation. Unless we have elected Councillors with vision for the entire Fraser Coast this is a must. Councillor salaries will reduce between $12,000 and $20,000 per annum. 8,600 plus signatures to date presented to the State Government wanting de-amalgamation.

Continue discussions with State Government on the guardianship of public / crown land. Again, if we don’t have a Council that respects the people’s open spaces then State need to take back control.

Rates – Rates for residential, commercial and industrial highest of 15 major councils in Queensland – (32 categories)
*  Review rates, categories and compounding interest.
*  Apply the yearly discount to quarterly accounts.
*  Review $75 Infrastructure Fee. (a) Reintroduce Environmental Levy Fee $25 (b) Vital Infrastructure Fee $25 (c). $25 reduction in rates.
*  After paying rates; present receipt to pick two (2) tube stock trees/shrubs free of charge for properties.

Rubbish & recycling
*  Issue 2 rubbish vouchers with rates notice – will assist in reducing illegal dumping.
*  Introduce Green Waste Bin
*  Review Tip Fees
*  Restrictions on throwing ‘junk mail’ from moving vehicles onto nature strips

Review animal registrations, fees and management.

Review Developer Incentive Scheme
*  The developers are eligible for infrastructure refunds of up to 75 percent on the project under the Direct Financial Incentives Offer and the Infrastructure Charges Incentives Administration Policy.
*  Under the criteria of the Infrastructure Charges Incentives Administration Policy, medical centres attract a 30% refund; and because the development was operational within 12 months of approval and created new jobs, it was eligible for a further 45% discount under the Investment Attraction Incentives Scheme.

What legacy are we leaving future generations? What direction do you want the Fraser Coast to take? Do you want to look like the Gold Coast / Hinterland with a touch of city life or do you want to retain the integrity of a country/seaside region?

Focus on vital infrastructure.

Facilitate a plan for future water supply. Focus on sustainable development and know CSG and open cut coal mining should not happen on the Fraser Coast. We need to protect ground and surface water.

I will expect my team to work hard and produce quality content and I will lead by example. As a leader I am responsible for a team of people and it is important to raise the bar even higher. I will be honest and my ethical behaviour are key values which my team will follow suit. I will promote a healthy interoffice lifestyle and encourage my team to live up to these standards. By emphasizing these standards, and displaying them myself, I will influence the office environment into a friendly and helpful work space. Morale is linked to productivity, and it’s my job as the team leader to instil positive energy.




Fraser Coast Community Unites


I have organised this event in Hervey Bay Qld for the entire Fraser Coast in line with the weekend there will be Welfare Marches around Australia 11th – 12th July.

The venue was chosen for several reasons. As you are probably aware Freedom Park is the home of the Hervey Bay Communities remaining two historical buildings – Memorial Hall and the Railway Station; which Council is trying to clear for their proposed new building. I thought this was the best location, as it is a perfect position to highlight the concerns of the people surrounding heritage, environment, foreshore management, small business, rates, crime, drug epidemic, jobs, dingoes and all the issues affecting our community by the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s poor and mismanagement practices, including State and Federal Governments.

People from ALL OUR Communities will be attending. Specialist parties have also been invited. i.e. Foreshore, Environmental, Rates Association, Youth Groups, Domestic Violence Advocates, Child Welfare Groups, Save the Fraser Island Dingo, Homeless Advocates, Heritage Committees, Small Business Representatives, De-amalgamation Committee, all Community Groups that utilise the Memorial Hall on a daily basis and the Vietnam Veterans Association currently working from the Railway Station etc.

Ministers, Senators, Members of Parliament, Mayor, Councillors and Executive of the Fraser Coast Regional Council will be given special invitations. Some are already aware and waiting confirmation of event details.

I am waiting on confirmation from two worthy groups to cater for the event as an opportunity to fund raise.

If you know a group or speaker who would like to be heard please ask them to contact me.

Click here to join the event

Battle for Heritage rolls on

Hervey Bay Heritage Vote

Please Share: Contact all the Councillors who voted against keeping our heritage the Memorial Hall and Railway Station in Hervey Bay. Let them know what you think. Contact Details can be found here:


Resource:  The Independent

On 17th July at Council Meeting No. 8; Councillors had two (2) votes surrounding the Memorial Hall and Railway Station.  
To amend the Master Plan to again REMOVE the Railway Station, and develop a working group to look at the future of Freedom Park.
Upon a division being called by Councillor Hansen, the following voting resulted:
Councillor O’Connell     
Councillor Sanderson     
Councillor McDonald     
Councillor Garland     
Councillor Taylor     
Councillor Truscott     
Councillor Light 
Councillor Seymour      
Councillor Everard      
Councillor Loft     
Councillor Hansen
Cr Seymour’s motion to preserve the Memorial Hall, Railway Station and War Memorial as an historical precinct was lost 5-6.  You will note Councillor Light changed his vote second time around.


Chronicle Report here

Paying it forward

Indy_Scarness Takeaway_25_06_15

Hervey Bay Independent – Thank you Scarness Takeaway for leading the way in supporting those struggling.

Source: The Independent

Pier’s work completed a year early or are they?

Hervey Bay Pier

Well we thought it was finished but alas this $5 million project is not. The sleeves on the bollards have slipped and were not sealed properly this is the fault of Engineering through Council and not the contractor. grrrrrr Wonder how much more money this will cost for the repairs. This is a joke, how inept is this Council?

Earlier Chronicle Report here

Fraser Coast tourist centres reviewed

Hervey Bay Airport

Karen Chatfield use to volunteer at the Information Centre – out near the nut factory for over 15 years. Karen advises the Airport Information Centre was NOT run by volunteers but paid staff and volunteers then became employees of the council. The ‘staffing’ issues they talk about is that it well ‘just closed’ and then you have the ‘rule’ that volunteers can’t take the bookings that involve money and even at the VIC (Visitor Info Centre) they have paid staff with the volunteers, as if they cant trust the volunteers and that is why so many have left. They should have told the paid staff before closing, which wasn’t done, manners have gone out the window. Karen is right – No wonder we don’t trust this Council.

Chronicle Report here