Councillor profiles - Mayor Angela Toppin Mareeba Shire Council
Mareeba Shire is a strong, confident and growing shire with a diverse industry base ranging from predominantly agriculture to tourism, mining and manufacturing. From the World Heritage rainforest to the rich Savannah landscapes, with incredible waterfalls, walking trails and such unique natural assets as the spectacular Chillagoe Caves, our shire has many breathtaking and unique attractions.
We are very lucky to live in a richly diverse and multicultural community with over 60 different nationalities represented. Each year we celebrate with food, dance and song at the annual Mareeba Multicultural Festival, a signature event on the local calendar, attended by thousands from across the region.
I became involved in local government after retiring as Principal of Cairns State High School. I have always been involved with supporting my community and had a strong background in governance and ethical management. In 2016 I was elected as councillor and then as mayor in 2020.
I am an active member of Mareeba Rotary, Mareeba Chamber of Commerce and serve on the James Cook University Council and the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Community Consultation Committee. I also volunteer for many sporting and community groups in the Shire.
Enhance the liveability
Mareeba Shire is a wonderful place to live, work, play and invest. As Mayor, I will continue to advocate for water security, freight connectivity and the upgrade of essential road corridors to attract families and investors to the Shire.
As a small regional council, we are very mindful of every dollar spent. With a limited rate base, Council needs to prioritise projects and effectively manage our assets to ensure the continued delivery of services. Of primary concern is the ageing infrastructure due for repair or renewal.
While we would love to meet the expectations and demands of the community, we are very aware of the community’s capacity to pay and the need to remain a financially stable Shire.
In 2019 the Mareeba Airport Redevelopment Project was completed. This $23 million investment by the Queensland and the Australian governments consists of a 52-lot aviation commercial precinct and strengthened runway and taxiways and associated infrastructure works. I am pleased to see this project come to fruition and the benefits this development will bring not only to Mareeba Shire but the North Queensland region.
The newly completed expansion at the Mareeba Industrial Park will strengthen Mareeba’s position as an industrial hub for northern Australia. The land available at the Mareeba Industrial Park will allow for new businesses to operate out of the hub in areas such as agriculture, transport and logistics, horticulture and manufacturing and will also brings economic benefits to the Shire and North Queensland.
Council is always looking at cost-saving measures for the ratepayer. We are investing $1.5 million in solar energy initiatives for Council facilities. This will be an instant cost saving for the ratepayer and was made possible by Government funding.
Council has been able to secure considerable grant funding from the State and Federal Governments to improve the liveability for residents in terms of improving and upgrading infrastructure.
I am very appreciative to the State and Federal Governments for their continued support to assist small regional councils like ours.
Council has worked hard to achieve and maintain financial sustainability following amalgamation. In 2020, Council’s credit rating has been upgraded to sound, with a neutral outlook. This improved rating by the Queensland Treasury Corporation is reflective of Council’s financial performance, adequate debt serving capacity and sound liquidity levels and instils confidence in the organisation. As we follow our long-term financial plan, I am optimistic about the future sustainability of the Shire.
As mayor I have the opportunity to travel to all parts of the Shire, and to connect with residents – sharing their experiences and stories. It’s an opportunity to work with the local community to achieve positive outcomes for residents. I’m also able to help provide investment and business opportunities to enhance the economic prosperity of the Shire.
One of the difficult things about being a councillor is managing the community’s expectation while continuing to deliver a balanced budget.
As the full effects of COVID-19 will not be apparent for some time as the pandemic continues to impact our way of life, Council is committed to maintaining essential services while delivering capital work projects to boost job opportunities and stimulate the local economy. I am looking forward to the next four years serving as Mayor and I have great confidence in the prosperity of the Shire.
Further, we hope to attract young families to our Shire with affordable land and housing, to foster business growth. Mareeba Shire is a great place to live, work and invest.