Former Councillor and CEO Terry Melchert confirms election run
Former Douglas Shire Council CEO and Councillor, Terry Melchert has today made a last minute announcement that he will again contest a Councillor position in the upcoming local election on 28 March ahead of tomorrow’s cut-off date for nominations.
Mr Melchert was elected Councillor in 2014 following Douglas Shire’s de-amalgamation from Cairns Council and ran again during the 2016 election but was just pipped at the post by a small margin.
The long-time Douglas Shire resident comes from a heavy background in local government.
“I have over forty years’ experience in Senior Local Government roles including CEO of Douglas Shire, various audit and program director positions, and continue to work as a Local Government Consultant,” he said.
“I am also a long-time member of the Local Government Managers Association, which is recognised as the peak Local Government Professional group, with over 27 years of membership.”
Mr Melchert said he had originally not intended to run for Council again but was concerned after seeing the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Council’s report (FNQROC), a group of thirteen northern Councils of which Douglas is a member, which he says outlines reduced business activity in the Shire and extraordinary increases in rates and charges.
He also recognises the impact the bushfires and the coronavirus are having on tourism across Australia, so decided to accept encouragement from community members and business owners and throw his hat in the ring, joining the Councillor race.
“If elected I will put the interests and wishes of people and businesses in the Shire first and foremost, and work towards re-establishing a vibrant economy which delivers employment and certainty of business opportunity.”
Mr Melchert said his key areas of focus will include stabilising rate and charge increases so they are set equal to or below the rate of inflation, along with encouraging sustainable development within the context of the planning scheme, to promote the reinvigoration of the Shire.
“I will use the skills I have acquired in managing municipal water supplies to ensure the Shire’s water supply is returned to full supply without stringent water restrictions.
“I will encourage truly transparent governance through an open meeting policy, the full release of the Queensland Audit Office report on Council activities each year, and the urgent re-establishment of a community based internal audit committee.”
Mr Melchert added he will also encourage a public places greening program so that the entries to Port Douglas, Mossman and other community areas, are kept green and properly maintained for the whole year.
“This can be readily achieved utilising a reinvigorated water supply, through the use of recycled water and the installation of irrigation systems to carefully manage water use,” he said.
He added he would also work with the community in developing strategies which reduce the carbon footprint of the Shire without threats to jobs or the financial stability of the Council.
Furthermore, he will support the delivery of renewable electricity north of the Daintree River and encourage a review of this pilot system to determine whether the renewable energy model could be extended Shire wide.
Mr Melchert, who was raised in Townsville, obtained a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from James Cook University and also gained a qualification as a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).
He has worked as a Chemical Analyst both in the Mining and Agricultural sectors, and most recently as the Process Control Chemist at the Mossman Sugar Mill during the crushing season.
“My wife Kathy and I have lived in the Douglas Shire for over 26 years and feel privileged to have raised our 3 sons in this amazing part of the world.
“Both of our families have a long-standing association with the Shire going back three generations, and we have seen Port Douglas transform from a sleepy fishing village to a vibrant tourist destination,” he said.
Mr Melchert joins a long list of candidates bidding for a seat in Council Chambers including incumbent Councillors Roy Zammattaro and Abigail Noli, along with new candidates Peter McKeown, Natalie Johnson, Lisa Scomazzon, Kym Rowley, Steve Cruickshank, and former Councillor Bruce Clarke.
Of the other incumbent councillors, David Carey has yet to confirm his position; while Michael Kerr is challenging Mayor Julia Leu, who will be seeking a third term.
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