NEW MAYOR? Prominent businesswoman to run for top job
WITH just over month to go until the local government election, a fourth candidate has put their hand up to run for Mayor.
For more than 20 years Durong resident Toni Ralph has made the South Burnett her home through having built a rapport with many businesses, and town and country residents.
Along with her husband Tony, they ran the Shoppingworld Butchery at Kingaroy for 17 years.
Now, she said, she aimed to use her extensive knowledge and understanding of issues in the region in another role.
"If elected as mayor, my goal is to put into action the "on paper" plans that have been talked about by the current council over and over for several years - water, roads, rubbish, tourism, and economic diversity," Mrs Ralph said.
"Further to this, I want to work with council to develop major strategies to develop an over 50s village, better control of feral animals, namely pigs and dogs, and use our TAFE college to support the agricultural and aviation industries.
"I also aim to enable road trains to access the South Burnett and create better communication between our health services."
Mrs Ralph has a tertiary education in business and for the past 12 months she has been studying rural and regional economics.
In her career she has worked for and with the state government, owned and operated small businesses that employed people, and now with her husband, they have gone from part-time to full-time primary producers.
Looking forward to the future, Mrs Ralph said if she was elected mayor, securing water would be a huge priority.
"Council continually acknowledges that water security is key to our regional growth," Mrs Ralph said.
"So far all we've seen is study after study about how water accessibility can be improved.
"We should already be harvesting the head-waters from the Bunyas, the Stuart and the Boyne rivers by having weirs in place.
"Now we have no choice but to wait until the current feasibility study is complete.
"I will not support another study. I will action the results of this one."
She said the region had the capacity to create a diverse economic sphere and she wanted to be a driving force behind that.
"We have the essentials of "affordability and liveability" to support workers and their families," Mrs Ralph said.
"As mayor I will capitalise on the way in which our region has been built on resilience and 'just-get-on-with-it' business and community people.
"Together we can build a region that is economically sound, where families maintain their sense of community, and where they feel safe."