Monday 30 January 2012

Cairns Regional Council | Jack Andrew Wilkie-Jans | Vision /policy statement

Jack Andrew Wilkie-Jans
Cairns Regional Council Division9

29th January 2012

I can talk about all that Cairns has until the cows come home, but we all know its pros that's why we still live here right?!

Cairns has a growing reputation as the Arts & Cultural Capital of Regional Australia. This is due to the unprecedented support for arts and cultural activities in the region by the council. As an artist and an arts worker I know the importance of a strong community culture. Art is society and a strong art scene is a strong society.

But as a community minded person I see the chain-reaction that a strong and reputable cultural and festive side of Cairns has on the other aspects of life here. A strong national reputation for arts and culture and community activities equals tourism, equals income, equals stronger employment and so on and so on.

As an arts worker, I see the same faces all the time (which is great and I'm happy to see them) but why aren't more people in the community coming to these events? I have spoken to many young people and their answer is that they simply don't hear about art events. My aim is to be able to engage a wider cross-section of the community in the arts and cultural based agenda. I'd also like to see more local fresh fruit and organic produce at markets or stalls around town. I'd like to engage the community as a whole in Indigenous cultural awareness; not the dream-time culture people know the modern day Indigenous culture.

Why when I drove past Chinaman Creek the other day did I find they had stripped the bush land down, knowing this is a refuge spot for many ATSI peoples who are homeless? The bush land was their security and privacy. Actions like this, for whatever reason, are designed to be a band-aid solution to an extensive problem. It's not about a quick fix, moving them on...into what- a jail cell?! Let's create a refuge like many other communities have done a simple place for those of my people who are less fortunate than I to go and know is theirs. I'd like to see more unity when it comes to leadership in this city. I don't play the blame game when it's just for the sake of banter. I believe in supporting both sides of a discussion. To focus on the positive! I also believe in supporting the proposed cultural precinct centre- provided the promises made at the start are followed through. Promises included one very notable one that as much of the materials and man-power needed to build the facility will be sourced locally. I watch this development with bated breath as I'm sure most of you do as well. There is more, but my text box is running out of space.

As for my area, Division 9, I'd like to see an end to building on the mountain side; I'd like to be able to keep what little remains of our cane fields (although many of those fields are up for sale and development). I don't know why one would want to build on them anyway as they're situated on flood plains! I'd like to see the streets around Smithfield SHS and the Smithfield Library with more lights.

I ride the bus line every morning and night to and from home- yes I dig the flaws in public transport system believe you me- and I notice a lot of dark spots where most nights people get off or on... I have also noticed that there is pretty much nothing for young people to do on this side of Cairns. I have however noticed many young people chillin' at the Milk Bars at Trinity Beach, maybe we need to invest a little more for the locals when it comes to beach living and leisure? I was told by a bus driver that Trinity Park is one of the worst spots for buses getting stoned by teenagers; I'd need to find out why this is so, and work on a grassroots level with youth, schools and police to investigate the real issues at hand that are leading young people to such activities. On the whole Division 9 is a fantastic place to live, and as far as I can tell, one of the happiest places to be in Cairns and I'm looking forward to representing you all in office either next year or next time!
Three goals I shall advocate for as Councilor on the Cairns Regional Council
Obviously Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander issues i.e. the Park might be to encourage (as councilor or otherwise) Cultural Awareness Programs to be held for all patrol officers and also, China Man Creek (as is popular with my countrymen) or somewhere else as a reserve patch of land much like Jagera Park in Brisbane where they are free to go and be moved on to rather than a jail cell- this can be a council initiative and work closely with State Gov. to implement. The simple matter of ensuring Council still adheres to protocol at meetings and with consultation on projects planned (as introduced by Mayor Val Schier). Also greater involvement by Council to work with State and Fed. Gov reps to identify and facilitate consultation with A&TSI peoples regarding A&TSI issues as they arise in the Cairns region.

The use of Council funded initiatives, open a specific funding opportunity, for arts & cultural activities (exhibitions, programs, festivals etc) designed to engage with Youth- the hiring of trained experts with Youth at risk, artists, elders etc to facilitate such programs; with the outcome to be engaging and informing Youth at Risk of career pathways via artistic expression. This, project specific, can focus on substance abuse and misuse, crime and suicide; working with Youth Link & YETI etc is crucial.

Ways to get Cairns out there, arts & culture, so of course will pledge my support to festivals and CIAF. Also ways to encourage, strengthen and build the market for local and regional (tablelands) organic and bio-dynamic produce. Ian Thomas and I have discussed this a long while ago and we believe that by making licensing for markets, stalls etc this may work in the long run...perhaps even a fete. I know that the man from the Tablelands who currently runs the Fresh Food Box program with local primary schools had this idea, of an organic food fair, and approached Redlynch SS. However, due to political differences, the P&C refused his innovative offer. This is where council could step in...also, in support of issue 2, we could engage with Community Vegie (organic) gardens with Youth At Risk, work with Correctional Services and offer this as an alternative to community service work on Council property. Employ a Peter Cundall type to be main facilitator. This works well in Napranum in Cape York for youth at risk and is run by and old couple who work with the kids and then sell the produce, eventually offering them positions on the farm in a WOOFER type capacity.

Anyway thanks for sticking around to read this much. The above are just a few things I've noticed around town. I am looking forward to hearing your ideas, suggestions and what not.
To get in touch with me to know more, or to tell me more please email me at:

                         _______________  |  ______________

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.