Councillor profiles - Mayor Peter Flannery Moreton Bay Council
Moreton Bay Region has the best of both worlds, from our iconic coastlines around Redcliffe and Bribie Island to the dramatic D’Aguilar Ranges in the west and everything in between.
We’re also rich with history, as the oldest European settlement in Queensland. John Oxley established the Redcliffe Peninsula in 1824 before it was decided Brisbane would become the capital.
With more than 460,000 residents we’re Australia’s third largest council and also one of the fastest growing.
Being in such a busy job means I cherish every opportunity I get to spend time with my family and take my six-year-old daughter, Sophia, to netball. If I ever get the chance, I like to switch off by watching sport.
A life of service
I’ve been a councillor for 12 amazing years. Eight of those have been with Moreton Bay Regional Council and four years were with the former Caboolture Shire Council.
My passion for Local Government is about continuing a life of service. I was in the military prior to this and believe in the importance of good governance. Moreton Bay is an aspirational region wanting increased economic opportunity without sacrificing lifestyle and I think it’s important that, at this point in our region’s growth phase, we look to the mistakes and successes of other council areas to make sure we get it right.
Properly managing our population growth with good planning is the central challenge we face. Under the State Government’s South East Queensland Regional Plan, we’re required to deliver 88,300 dwellings by 2041. This represents an enormous economic opportunity, which is critically important as we chart a course to recovery through the coronavirus pandemic. But alongside this population growth it’s equally important for Council to increase and improve our
greenpaces, grow more habitat for native wildlife, and plan better parks and amenities for locals. My aspiration for Moreton Bay Region is to be the lifestyle capital of South East Queensland.
Big plans for the future
We’ve dared to push the boundaries of what’s possible for a council to achieve for its ratepayers in terms of catalytic infrastructure. The Redcliffe Peninsula train line was mooted for 100 years, but we got it built last term. Earlier this year we opened the first greenfield university campus in Australia in two decades, with the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Moreton Bay campus welcoming students in February. These achievements have been possible thanks to our disciplined fiscal management and engagement with higher levels of government. The next game changing investment into our region will be realised by unlocking the potential of the 460ha site known as ‘The Mill - Moreton Bay’.
This State Government Priority Development Area is destined to become an innovation technology and business hub for all South East Queensland. We’ve taken big steps to unlocking its potential by creating an independent board, MILLovate, to guide that development. We are currently looking for the country’s best and brightest minds to fill those roles and will invest a further $25 million this financial year for a variety of works.
Assistance in uncertain times
I’ve only been Mayor for a few months and we’re operating in incredibly uncertain times, but I’m most proud of working to provide locals some certainty through this pandemic. Our two coronavirus stimulus packages have been swift and targeted and provided nearly $20 million in assistance to local families and businesses. In our 2020-21 Budget we outlined a further $32.9 million in initiatives including rates rebates, an accelerated works program, new maintenance contracts for local companies and we’ve refunded food licences to hospitality businesses impacted by COVID-19 closures. For the first time ever we’re giving part-pensioners a $100 rates remission per eligible property (roughly 8800 people) and we’re maintaining our current $250 remission for full pensioners (roughly 16,900 people).
The best part of being a councillor is not only having the ability to address the immediate concerns people have in their day-to-day lives but laying the foundations for generational change into the future. As a father, that’s my driving passion. No other level of government has the same amount of contact with our communities, which is a privilege I reflect on every day.
Thirty years from now I want to be able to sit down with my youngest daughter and know that she and her family have the very best educational, work, sporting and cultural opportunities right here in Moreton Bay Region thanks to the decisions we made decades earlier. For too long locals felt they needed to leave our region for a good education or a good job, that’s what I’m going to change.