Councillor profiles - Mayor Edward Newman Northern Peninsula Area Council
Northern Peninsula Local Government Area in far north Queensland, is most commonly known for being a 30 minute drive from the northernmost point of the Australian continent (the Tip), and the gateway to Torres Strait, which attracts many tourists to our region and continues to play a major part in our economic development.
We are fortunate to have both an east and west coast. Locals and visitors enjoy our beautiful scenery while camping, fishing, diving, exploring the coast and viewing the wildlife and natural environments in our national park. Other attractions include exploring historical sites and World War Two relics, four wheel driving the Old Telegraph Track, and viewing local art being made.
Five into one
Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC) represents five local communities; the Aboriginal communities of Injinoo, Umagico and New Mapoon and the two Torres Strait Island communities of Seisia and Bamaga. Each community represents one councillor and the mayor is elected across all the communities.
I have been on council since being appointed Councillor for Bamaga in 2012 and then was elected as Mayor in the 2016 elections.
Our five communities were amalgamated in 2008 when Queensland undertook major Local Government reforms. Since then my vision and goal has been to unite all the communities, to show respect for one another, to show community pride and to make all communities safe to live in.
As a former boiler maker by trade, I come from a strong working family determined to make things happen.
NPARC is not a rate based council and relies solely on grants funding. However Council does generate revenue through running the Jardine River Ferry, the local Post Office, Alau Supermarket, Injinuu Batching Plant, Injinoo Servo, Bamaga stores and NPARC workers camp. Council has some capacity to assist in undertaking construction and civil works throughout the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA).
I am a volunteer in our local State Emergency Services (SES) team. Keeping our communities safe is one of my biggest priorities. This allows me to be able to help on the ground when most needed and to actively participate in resolving any emergency situation with immediate effect.
Outside of work I enjoy fishing and spending as much as I can with my wife and children. Their love and support are what drives me to be the best mayor I can possibly be.
I also enjoy socialising with locals and attending/supporting local events in the communities.
Since the five communities amalgamated in 2008, we are unfortunately still facing many challenges that include finding stability within our council, especially in our senior staff positions.
One of the other challenges council face is the Peninsula Development Road and being able to cater required infrastructure. The success of the development road will give Council the advantage of being able to explore more options for freight. However, as a restricted area, we face the challenge of dealing with other social issues involving the transportation of drugs and alcohol.
As with many remote communities, the NPA region suffers high cost of living, limited access to network services and limited job/study opportunities for our young school leavers.
We have had our first qualified audit report in 2018 (last year) since amalgamation in 2008.
As Mayor, I enjoy seeing outcomes in the community, especially in health and education, being involved in the development of new infrastructure to cater for our communities.
The worst part about being a councillor is not being able to please everyone and their specific needs.
In the future, I hope that we gain pride and respect back in the NPA.
I would like to see improvement of our local services and eventually gain 100 percent stability within Council so we are able to move forward and focus our priority on the other challenges in the communities.