General News

11 May, 2024

United independents

CAIRNS newest regional councillors – Matthew Tickner, Trevor Tim and Anna Middleton – are pledging to work full-time as councillors and as independents.

By Nick Dalton

Cairns newest regional councillors Trevor Tim (left), Anna Middleton and Matthew Tickner. Picture: Cairns Regional Council
Cairns newest regional councillors Trevor Tim (left), Anna Middleton and Matthew Tickner. Picture: Cairns Regional Council

While the term “Team Cairns” has been bandied about, the trio are clear that they are part of Cairns Regional Council, not a team.

Both councillors Tickner (division 2) and Middleton (division 7) ran as independents while Cr Tim (division 4) was part of Mayor Amy Eden’s Team Eden.

However, Cr Tim said he did not “adhere to Team Cairns. To me, we’re councillors with Cairns Regional Council”. 

Cr Tickner has a design and project management business, Ms Middleton is a senior physiotherapist and Cr Tim is a radio presenter as well as creating employment and career pathways for young Indigenous people in tourism.

But they all promise to work as full-time councillors with Cr Tickner saying “working for the people of division 2 and Cairns is my core focus for the next four years. Being a councillor is an unusual job, that in many cases requires a seven-day-a week commitment and some very irregular hours. It is not your typical 9-5”.

Cr Middleton said: “I am standing by my commitment to be the hard-working and engaged representative they elected, so it will be a full-time job”.

“Being a councillor is not your traditional 9-5 job.” 

Cr Tim: “Yes, I am working full-time now as a councillor, adding very part-time with private company in the tourism industry Experience Co where I do Indigenous employment and career pathways for young First Nation people.”

Councillors Middleton and Tickner rate water security as their priority while Cr Tim has youth crime at the top of his list.

“Advocate and lobby to state government about youth crime, changing the laws to protect the people of Cairns,” said Cr Tim.

Cr Middleton said she was shocked recently when Cairns came within two hours of losing its drinkable water supply – “this is the number one issue that faces our community”. 

“That is why Cairns Regional Council is about to undertake the biggest capital works project in its history. It’s been many years of planning to get to this point and the time is now. We need the continued support of state and federal governments to build it, but then looking ahead it will be the biggest council asset to manage,” she said.

Cr Tickner said water security and cost of living were his biggest concerns.

“These two issues go hand in hand. The Cairns water security project will cost the Cairns Regional Council $472 million and represents the most significant water infrastructure spend since Copperlode Dam was constructed almost half a century ago,” he said.

“A project of this magnitude shouldn’t be placed on the back of our local ratepayers in our current cost-of-living crisis. We require support from our state and federal counterparts to secure our most precious resource and provide cost-of-living relief to our community.”

Cr Tim said in his division he would “be approachable. Talk to me about your concerns and/or visions”.

Cr Middleton said her division was diverse and included Manunda, Manoora, Whitfield, Brinsmead and Edge Hill.

“I believe the common theme throughout is liveability, whether that’s paths, parks, green spaces, waste management, lighting, access, safety, drains, transport, animal management or planning. It all comes back to liveability for people,” she said. 

“My priority is to engage with people to understand what maintains, challenges, or improves the liveability of their local environment, then advocate and act on that.”

Cr Tickner said division 2 had experienced significant growth over the past decade and a shifting demographic.

“Growth has put significant strain on our infrastructure, and this is a core priority to be addressed. 

“I also want to see more investment into our local suburban experience, this includes our parks and playgrounds, community spaces, sporting grounds and council facilities,” he said.

“It’s not ground-breaking stuff, the community understand we don’t have unlimited funds.  It’s about being open and transparent about what needs to be done in the short term and what can be achieved in the long term.”

Cr Middleton said she would be holding regular gatherings with residents and ratepayers.

“This is a timely question as I have just booked in my stand outside Piccones IGA to engage with the community,” she said.

“That will be one of several places I intend to regularly set up the table that the locals saw throughout my campaign. I made a commitment to my community that I would have regular ‘talk to me’ sessions and I stand by that.” 

Cr Tim said he would work closely with the community.

“Be engaged by making appearances in the division to all constituents. Businesses, sporting groups (for example I coach Kangaroos under-14 rugby league side),” he said.

Cr Tickner said Cairns was dealing with some significant challenges over the next few years, some significant milestones that will take more than a four- year term to resolve.

“The newly-elected council I am apart of have taken a long-term approach to ensuring the sustainability of our region is strong into the future, I would ask the community to come with us on this journey,” he said.


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