Councillor profiles - This month from Mount Isa City Council, QLD
40 years in government
I was elected to the Mount Isa City Council in March 1973 and served as an Alderman until 1985 when I was elected Mayor of the city.
I resigned following my election to the Queensland State Parliament in December 1989.
Following my retirement from the Queensland Parliament in 2006, I sought election as Mayor of the city in 2012 and I am currently in that position.
I sought and secured a position on the local Council because I held the view that I live in a community and I want to ensure that the community can provide an environment for my family and I to enjoy and prosper in.
The most difficult role of my job is not being able to fulfill the growing expectations of ratepayers and the lack of assistance from Governments who I feel don’t quite understand the needs of local communities outside of the major centres of population.
Mining and drought
My City Council is basically a mining community but it also has a rural component including a number of large cattle properties.
Over the years, Mount Isa has grown to become one of the largest and most important industrial powerhouses in the nation and has become the administrative, commercial, and industrial centre of North West Queensland.
It covers an area of over 43,310 square kilometres (including the township
Our region produces some of the country’s best beef, and is known internationally as one of the world’s top 10 producers of copper, lead, silver, and zinc.
Mount Isa is also home to the Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo, the award winning Buchanan Park, the Family Fun Park, and the annual Mount Isa Mining Expo.
Without a doubt, drought and water prices remain the biggest challenge presently for Mount Isa City Council.
As Queensland continues to battle the worst drought ever seen, the cost of water in the city continues to increase, due to the treatment of
drought–related algal blooms and the lack of water infrastructure.
This has a direct financial impact on Council and the city’s residents, and we continue to seek State and Federal acknowledgment and assistance.
To combat the expected costs of the carbon tax we introduced a major program of dividing the green waste from the Council rubbish tip and creating mulch for the Council parks and gardens.
The future challenge for my Council and myself is to work with our major employer Mount Isa Mines and the business community to make Mount Isa a more livable city and create an environment where people want to come and live and above all stay.
Over the past 40 years I have had a number of success stories which others can judge me on, but I can walk down any street in the city and people and young kids can say “good afternoon Tony”.
That’s what I believe is important; having a special relationship with the people you represent.
The best advice that I have received is ‘you can only do your best but give it all you have’.
The lasting impression that I hope to leave is that people remember me for being honest.
I have a saying which is ‘maybe if I hadn’t been around that project may not have happened’.
My main hobby outside of my working hours is without doubt gardening.
The three qualities I admire in people are honestly, loyalty, and the ability to speak their mind.