14 February, 2024

Retiring councillor gives sage advice to community

After serving the Moreton Bay community for 30 years, Division 8 Councillor Mick Gillam is bidding farewell to his public role.

Retiring councillor gives sage advice to community - feature photo

The former school teacher started his political career in 1994 as a councillor for Pine Rivers, Division 7, and has seen and experienced a lot in his time as a public servant.

While dealing with several natural disasters, including the 2011, 2022 and 2024 floods, opening and improving multiple transport areas, such as the Redcliffe Railway Line and Francis Rd railway overpass, and helping plan/build the city of North Lakes, Cr Gillam cites the growth of the area as the largest and most challenging change he has dealt with.

“When I first started, I had 5,500 voters in Division 7, in Pine Rivers; now I have 26,000 in Division 8, in Moreton Bay,” he said.

“We really used to over-service our Divisions as councillors and some people still expect the same sort of service and it just isn’t possible.

“I had three schools in 1994; today I have 13.”

While the issue of population explosion in the Moreton Bay area is nothing new, Cr Gillam does advise that people need to manage their expectations of Council and what they are capable of doing regarding infrastructure, including the building of railways, pools, libraries and community centres.

“Council’s big problem is always money, with councils Australia-wide receiving about 1% of the revenue collected by the state and feds,” he said.

“As we are also a rapidly growing area, we just can’t keep pace with the demands for infrastructure.

“When I was younger you were prepared to wait after you moved into an area for things to get built, but nowadays people expect it to be there before they arrive... it would be nice, but who’s going to pay for it?”

The increasing demands of some residents and community groups are one of the negative observations the experienced councillor has observed in his 30 years, noting “the more you give the more people want”, without wanting to pay higher rates to fund those demands.

Additionally, Cr Gillam notes the “totally undeserved” bad light the local government has been put under, due to the Crime and Corruption Commission’s (CCC) inquiries over the years.

“There may have been a rotten apple or two, but the CCC went after a lot of SEQ mayors,” he said.

Despite these challenges and concerns for the future, Cr Gillam has full confidence in the current Council, sending his support out to all current councillors and the mayor, and is retiring with a sense of achievement.

“I think I’m leaving the ship in pretty good hands if everyone now a councillor gets re-elected,” he said.

“I’ve put a lot of eff ort into this area in the last 30 years (and) am leaving happy with what I was able to achieve under the financial circumstances.”

We wish Cr Gillam all the best for his retirement, and hope he and his wife are able to enjoy their planned travels and quality time together!


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