Our current state of emergency is a new normal situation that none of us could have imagined just a month ago. Coronavirus is the most serious public health crisis in Australian history. The need for clear thinking, patience and respect is greater than ever. We all need to pull together. The importance of “community” is greater than ever.”
Physical isolation is crucial for the welfare of our community – especially to protect our most vulnerable Gold Coasters – our parents and grandparents, immune-compromised and socially disadvantaged residents.
And of course, physical isolation, uncertainty and financial hardship will escalate fear and anxiety – especially for people who live alone or who have limited support.
Our local community service providers are under strain as issues of homelessness, domestic violence and mental health are compounding.
There has never been a more important time for our community to come together (virtually) in new ways. There are simple things anyone can do to help. Pick up the phone, check on your neighbours, family and friends. Ask if they are okay. Offer to help with shopping or other errands.
I want to help Gold Coasters who are struggling. If I am elected Mayor on Saturday, I will make sure that you are informed and supported as we manage through this crisis and then recover.
As the second biggest council in Australia with a $1.7 billion annual operating budget, Gold Coast City Council has capacity to offer generous financial assistance to our residents and businesses. Tens of thousands of people have instantly become unemployed and under-employed and many businesses have closed.
Last week I outlined a dozen immediate actions I will take as Gold Coast Mayor. I will bring in two economic support packages to KEEP THE GOLD COAST WORKING
- 12-month Financial Assistance Program including waiver of various fees and charges for residents, discounts and deferral of general rates, grants and incentives for local business owners and operators; and
- 4-Year Economic Stimulus Portfolio to speed-up digital infrastructure delivery, to bring forward capital works projects, to buy local trades and supplies, and deliver stimulus projects that create new jobs and diversify our economy.
Right now, people need to know today which bills they can pay, and which bills they can delay. In coming months, as the threat of viral contagion passes and we return to work, we must support recovery of local businesses, diversify and develop a more robust and sustainable economy. We cannot afford to revert to business as usual. We need progressive leadership with fresh perspectives and sustainable development goals.
My office has been inundated with requests from people asking for election polling to cease – to protect voters, electoral commission staff and candidates.
Since before early polling commenced on 16 March, in the best interests of the safety of the community, I have been calling on the Queensland Premier to take swift action to convert local government elections across the state to postal and telephone voting.”
This morning I received a reply from the Premier’s Office confirming that Election Day will proceed as scheduled on Saturday.
A consistent flow of voters has streamed through the 11 early-polling centres across our city from Tugun to Ormeau over the last 8 days, and if this continues, I estimate that by the eve of election day, 200,000 Gold Coasters may have already cast their votes.”
That’s around two thirds of the total anticipated voters in this election. I have drastically reduced my volunteer team. We will be rolling out a bare minimum information signage at the 90 polling booths across the city on Saturday.
I think everyone be relieved when this election is done so that we can all move forward – hopefully with me as your new Mayor.
I want residents to know that I will always put you first. We are in for a rough year ahead, but with kind hearts, new leadership, and deliberate and coordinated action, together we can adapt and respond to these challenges and make the Gold Coast shine again.
Keep The Gold Coast Working
12-Month Financial Assistance Program
Waiver of various fees and charges for residents, discounts and deferral of general rates, grants and incentives for local business owners and operators, incl:
- Discount and extend the time for rates payments – for all residents
- Discount rates bills for owners of empty shops who give leases for periods longer than 18 months
- Reduce fees and charges for small business establishment and operation
- Cut red tape and regulations to accelerate creative, digital and sustainable enterprise in under-utilised industrial areas
4-Year Economic Stimulus Portfolio
Speed-up digital infrastructure delivery, bring forward capital works projects, buy local trades and supplies, and deliver stimulus projects that create new jobs and diversify our economy, incl:
- Build tomorrow’s infrastructure today – including a massive investment to free up traffic congestion, something this council has ignored for the last decade
- Work with the Federal and State Governments to accelerate the multiple road and transport projects to fix the daily chaos on our M1
- Fully-fund our city’s own Transport Strategy over the next decade
- Build the extensive, safe bikeway system that has been continually promised and never delivered – starting in our northern suburbs
- Grow our tourism sector width incentives for new eco-friendly tourism
- Accelerate transformation of The Spit into an amazing coastal parkland
- Complete the Oceanway, one of the world’s great walks, and construct walking trails in our hinterland for everyone to get active and healthy in our great outdoors
- Speed up digital infrastructure delivery so that more people can work from home and localised co-working hubs