Monday, 14 May 2012

New Cairns mayor Manning outlines priorities

Damon Guppy
Saturday, May 12, 2012
© The Cairns Post

Getting started: Incoming Cairns mayor Bob Manning will be sworn in on Wednesday, in the council chambers. Picture: BRENDAN FRANCIS

WHEN Bob Manning officially takes the mayoral reins, he will have more than rates, roads and rubbish on his mind.

The seasoned businessman knows the modern-day mayor needs to think beyond the traditional duties of a council.

He’ll be a lobbyist constantly in the ear of State and Federal governments, a savvy business negotiator, an ambassador for several industries and a champion for all of Cairns’ causes.

"For a mayor, the issue of advocacy for your town or city is greater than what it used to be," Mr Manning said.

"You’re expected to take on a greater role at a faster pace and there is so much that councils can do nowadays beyond the traditional duties like rates, roads and rubbish. Those things are still very important, of course, but it comes down to what the people think is most important."

Mr Manning yesterday outlined his top five priorities to The Weekend Post, which he can officially begin addressing once he is sworn in as mayor on Wednesday.

He and his team, most of whom are new councillors, will launch into a frantic schedule, including budget deliberations, following the ceremony."We’re going through an induction program that will be spread over a couple of days," he said."Then there are a number of sessions set aside to work on the budget."

The new administration’s first ordinary meeting is planned for May 30. Generating business confidence was a common theme in Mr Manning’s priorities.With experience in directing roles in organisations such as the Cairns Port Authority, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and marine engineering firm NQEA, Mr Manning said he was keen to work with state and federal members to champion local industries ranging from tourism and aviation to education and retail.

The expansion of HMAS Cairns, as recommended in the Federal Government’s review of defence assets, was a real opportunity to improve the city’s economy, he said. "There’s an opportunity to make it (HMAS Cairns) into a significant base," Mr Manning said. "The confidence level that the community would take out of this would be absolutely massive.’’

With long-term affiliations with welfare groups Anglicare and the Salvation Army, Mr Manning said he would ensure his council served people of all socio-economic backgrounds.
"I’ll be an advocate for all issues that affect Cairns," he said.

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