OPINION: Maybe we just don’t care

I recently overheard a conversation between two people discussing the upcoming Mareeba shire council elections when one potential voter asked: “Which division do I vote in?”

I also saw a similar comment on the Express Facebook page when we ran a story on the Tablelands Regional Council.

“I don’t know any of these people, I’ve never seen them anywhere”

It was then pointed out to them, that they lived in Mareeba and that’s why they didn’t recognise any of the TRC councillors.

As we start to get to the pointy end of the local election cycle, it seems like a lot of people “just don’t care”

The reason is that we haven’t been given anything to care about.

I’ve heard lots of the same promises from potential councillors, like increasing communications, fixing roads, employing locals, putting rates on hold….yawn.

I’m yet to hear one single original idea. One idea that galvanises the community, one idea that makes us sit up and take notice. One idea that makes people care.

Does Mr and Mrs Average, know what TLPI stands for? Do they care?

Who knows what the difference is between a council Plan, Act, Policy, Strategy, Agreement or Procedure?

How many people don’t know the difference between MSC and TRC?

In January I attended the TRC council meeting at their community education and disaster coordination centre. The agenda I took home was 314 pages long; the only thing it’s good for is curing my insomnia.

Does anyone ever read the whole agenda or any number of reports that are pumped out of government departments at an alarming rate?

According to data collected from popular council reporting app Snap Send Solve, (which allows people to send photos of issues to their council or local authority.)

Data showed parking was easily the biggest gripe nationwide, with a total of 15,178 complaints in 2018.

Dumped rubbish came in second with 12,313 complaints, followed by pavement (5775), tree reports (6297) and roads (4951)

In rural areas like Mareeba and Atherton parking is probably not as much as an issue as say in Melbourne or Sydney.

I would hazard to guess in the Mareeba and Atherton shires, crime would be pretty high on everyone’s gripes, also access to clean drinking water, recycling, and animal problems.

I would like to hear some original ideas on youth crime, unemployment, feral animals, transport, pollution, water or climate change.

I never thought I would hear myself say, “Pauline Hanson has a great idea” when she came up with the idea of cash for cane toads.  A lot of ecologists have said it wouldn’t work and it probably wouldn’t, and it may not be a very good idea, but at least it’s an idea.

All the local nominees seem to be singing from the same hymn book, that book is called “play it safe and don’t say anything brash.”

At the moment I’m hearing lots of promises and lots of talk but no real ideas, no wonder constituents have no real idea who they’re voting for.



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