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Nominations roll in for CHC by-election

VACANCY: The Central Highlands councillors.
VACANCY: The Central Highlands councillors. Contributed

NOMINATIONS have begun for the Central Highlands Council, as residents prepare to go to the polls at the end of September for a local government by-election.

The by-election comes in the wake of the resignation of Councillor David Lacey with the September 30 election to be conducted as a full postal ballot.

Nominations for prospective council candidates will close at noon on September 5 with a ballot drawn at 10am on Wednesday.

Nominations for the position have begun with two local Capella residents, John Hallam and Gai Sypher, stepping forward.

Owner and operator of Ampol Capella and the Capella Bottlebrush Motel, John Hallam said he was a community-minded person, and "someone who can step up with a vision for the community as a whole”.

Mr Hallam, who said he had sponsored most sporting organisations in the district, believes he has the expertise to offer impartial information around the table when issues arose.

With 32 years of experience as a business person in the region and, having also been involved in many local committees during the this time, Mr Hallam said he understood the trials of living and working in regional Queensland, including dealing with projects like road building and social issues such as caring for the elderly.

Mr Hallam said he believed there was more that could be achieved in the region's health arena. "I've been an advocate for getting more doctors into smaller areas, and I believe doctors for the bush are a big priority.”

He said he was keen to become involved in issues of employment and creating incentives to encourage people to stay in the area.

"We're losing jobs, for example with the recent bank closures,” he said.

"We need to work with governments to try and avoid these closures.

"The services that are disappearing from the bush is an issue I'm really concerned about.”

When services closed, he said, it was more difficult to attract growth in other areas, such as bargaining for and enticing more teachers and police to the region.

Mr Hallam said he could be a "strong voice” in council.

"We need to listen to the people and take their concerns to the table. And then take the results back to the people,” he said.

Capella local Gai Sypher, who has also nominated for the position, was previously a Central Highlands councillor from 2012 for four years.

Ms Sypher, who owns Veronica Downs with her husband, said that as a mature-age student she has studied at university, and can apply the knowledge she has learnt to drive community development.

"I understand the important role local governments play in fostering inclusive and welcoming communities.

"Local governments do more than just the roads, rates and rubbish; they deliver hundreds of services and programs to strengthen community capacity and well-being.

"They also play a role in advocating in partnership with communities for funding and services provided by other levels of government.”

Ms Sypher said this week she would be a strong advocator for growing local communities. "The structure of our economy is increasingly being challenged by national and international forces. Our survival as prosperous and self-reliant communities is under threat, and we must discover new opportunities for growth. We must create an environment for small to medium businesses to flourish, innovate and trade internationally.”

She said she would be eager to restrain council debt, which could have a negative impact on growth.

And she would focus on the region's ageing population, and age care and community services, including addressing skill shortages.

September 1 is the final date residents have to enrol or update their information on the electoral roll.

Everyone over the age of 18 years must on the electoral roll and details can be updated at www.aec.gov.au/enrol or by collecting a form at any Australia Post office.


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