Wednesday 29 August 2007

Schier & Berwick: a wedding made in the rainforest

Today's Cairns Post reports that Val Schier is in discussions with the Lord Mayor of the Great Green Dark Forest.

Mike Berwick has said on many occasions over the last year, he will not stand again. His Council has made no secret of it's disjointed approach to governing the world-renown iconic area we know as Daintree and surrounding areas. Council meeting after Council meeting, they were split and attacking each other and showed little maturity. However, they did successfully order a KFC burger with fries.

Berwick's credentials are impressive. Long before the possibility of a merger with Byrnesville's Concrete Castle Shire, he said defiantly that he was over it.

Looking at his background and the recent divisions in his Council, I understand why he said he's ready to move on.

Mike Berwick has been Mayor of Douglas Shire since 1991. He has been involved in a number of regional, state and national committees and organisations dealing with natural resource management. He is the Chairman of North Queensland Afforestation, an association of 10 local governments that deal with vegetation management.

He is also Chairman of the National Stakeholder Advisory Committee to the Cooperative Research Centre for Coastal Management and a board member of the Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre. He's also a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on vegetation management and of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee to CSIRO's Division of Tropical Agriculture.

He is author of the National Local Government Biodiversity Strategy. Mike was the former chair of the steering committee for North Queensland's Regional Environment Strategy and Regional Waste Strategy.

Prior to becoming Mayor, he was editor of the Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette and previous to that a green activist. He currently farms Barramundi. Mike has a degree in physiology from the University of Queensland.

It's rather apparent that a guy with all this history and background would never want to work with nor support Byrne or his mad building-hungry Council. I know he'll offer any support possible to Val and her team to oust him from the mayoralty in Cairns, to give all it's citizens a real future, voice and ownership in their greater community.

Looking at a possibility of Mike running to represent the Douglas area, under Division 10 of the new Regional Council, he would undoubtedly romp in. However, I would question the amount of support Berwick would garner in Cairns. The legacy of a mis-managed Council and little solidarity would factor highly in any support from residents in 90% of the new Council's voting power base.

I predict strategic voting will play an important role in these upcoming Council elections.

Byrne would equally not stand much chance in the Douglas area. They wouldn't want his dirty paws on their crown jewels. Cairns residents would not support a Byrne-led Council when Daintree / Douglas are part of the pie. Even though 70,000 of the voting public are from Cairns, 80kms away from the green belt.

You can be assured that people will consider this as part of their decision-making in March next year.


Anonymous said...

Unlike Val Schier who has been quite clear in her efforts to bring a fresh face to local government, the editor is the one muddying the waters. At the risk of having a go at the messenger, the CP editorial is engaging in pure opossum stirring. Val is putting together a vibrant alliance of independent minded community representatives, working on policies, many of which if her last showing was any indication, are quite much so that KB and his disunity team have been picking them off one by one.... especially his latter day chameleon like colour change to green. Kevin and his 'council are tired and jaded. the people of Cairns need a progressive visionary like Val... someone who is not afraid of change... someone who will effect change thru inclusion and conciliation, as opposed to the bullying and bombast we have come to expect from the alternative. As far as the Mike Berwick issue, it would serve Cairns best if Val continued on her path and Mike came out, endorsed her, helped her with the campaign and promoted another progressive from the Douglas region as his successor in taking up the challenges that lie ahead.

Anonymous said...

Hello Peter Bartholomuse,
I agree with you comments
(August 30th),especially the comment regarding the CP Editorial.
However I feel Val needs Mike and Mike needs Val,together they could make a formidable team,with Mike's
experience and Val's ideas and persona.