Edition 1 April 2012
Let’s work together! CHRIS PLEDGES TO: 1. Grow the economy. 2. Lower rates below CPI. 3. Deliver better infrastructure and better planning. 4. Get our fair share of the pie. 5. Insist council staff are more accountable.
“Get excited Maryborough ... I am! And I love Maryborough! Do you?”
Who is Chris Loft?
Businessman, accountant, husband, father Chris Loft has been a qualified accountant for over thirty years and has expanded his expertise to encompass the many areas of business management, tax accounting and business analysis. He received his education in Melbourne and worked, at the start of his career, as General Manager for the Barden Group of Companies for eight years and, while at Barden, he studied accountancy part time at night for seven years before receiving his formal qualification. This position gave Chris the work experience skills in dealing with all aspects of analysing, organising, building and expanding a business from the ground up. During these early years, the business grew from two partners, one part-time secretary and Chris into a company that employed 50 workers while never losing any staff members. This is a remarkable experience to begin an illustrious career and gave Chris knowledge
found only in the area of life long learning. Chris and his wife, Tina, have lived in Maryborough for 24 years after relocating from Hervey Bay, where they lived for eight years. All their children were born at the Lady Musgrave Hospital in Maryborough between 1981 and 1991. Chris specialises in general management, business analysis, financial management, “new ideas” evaluation and marketing evaluation – all of which begin at the “grass roots” level. His formal qualifications include Accountant, Registered Tax Agent and Registered Consultant for B.R.& E (Business Retention & Expansion). In addition to his primary business, Chris has current involvement in a number of small businesses in the Fraser Coast. He established Chris Loft & Associates in 1991 and has built an extensive clientele through dedication and a genuine desire to see area businesses flourish.
Why is Chris standing for election in Division 3? Reason 1: I live and work in Division 3 and have seen so many lost opportunities for Maryborough over the 25 years we have lived in this great place. Reason 2: Now I have the time to put into the council as our five children are grown up and have all left home. Reason 3: The economic health of this community has been my hobby in the past but now is the time to make it full time and effect change here.
Reason 4: Julie Arthur has been so disappointing over her 20 years at council. Recently I was reading what Martin Luther King said five months before he was assassinated. “You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice.” This is why I am standing.
What people are saying about Chris ... “We have been associated with Chris Loft for nearly 10 years. Chris is a very positive and driven person that is dedicated to the progress and success of Maryborough. Chris is very open minded and is a forward thinker. We have worked on a number of projects/committees with Chris and we have always been impressed with his proactive attitude and his loyalty to our great town.” - Clay and Katie Clayton, Managing Directors, Clayton Enterprises. “My first official encounter with Chris Loft was one not to be forgotten. Finally someone who had a passion for business and Maryborough, wanted to see people succeed in business and the town grow. Chris has always been easy to talk to and comes up with good practical advice. Chris makes the time for people and gets excited when approached with new business ideas. Straight away you see his brain jump into gear thinking of ideas and strategies in which he can help or find people to help. I would not hesitate in recommending Chris. His no nonsense approach and enthusiasm toward seeing Maryborough grow and succeed is so refreshing to listen to.” - Brian Johnston, Founder of Johnno’s Camper Trailers. “Chris has my vote – I have known Chris Loft for over 12 years, in my 27 years that I have operated my business ‘The Paint Doctor’ in Maryborough. Chris s a man who has his finger on the pulse of the Maryborough economy. He knows the financial hardship that people from all walks of life are enduring. He will battle to keep rates down and will search for new business to relocate here.” - The Paint Doctor.
THE REALITY: Not long ago the Mary River Parklands and Bridge to Brolga project were touted by urban renewal experts as the keys to Maryborough’s future. Today the area resembles a wasteland with a parklands structure coated with mould and grime. Trees snapped during wild weather haven’t been cleared for weeks (inset). A collapsed retaining wall near the Maryborough Sailing Club (below left) has remained unfixed for some time. River views are blocked by mangroves and overgrown, tangled weeds, and a boating safety sign cannot be seen from the water. Photos and page design: JOCELYN WATTS
Our ‘Rolls Royce’ is stuck in first gear Dear Ratepayers of Division 3, Some people have said I am negative and I should only talk up the positive. However I am a realist and am also passionate about Maryborough’s potential. To me Maryborough is a ‘Rolls Royce’ stuck in first gear. Whenever I get asked to help and look into a business I do a business health check, a bit like a doctor if you are sick, he does tests. My diagnosis is this town has serious cancer just look at the photos on these pages and be real. It is not a city on the way up (yet). But there is a cure for Maryborough. It’s called CHANGE. We need a new way and I can provide part of that new way. If you vote for the same councillor of 21 years, Julie Arthur, then expect the same result as the past 21 years. I need your vote to help bring about change. Vote 1 Chris Loft Page 2 - Maryborough 1st, April 2012
- CHANGE is needed EMPTY CBD SHOPS: Too many commercial premises in Maryborough’s central business district are empty and awaiting sale or lease. Among them are these buildings in Ellena Street (left), Adelaide Street and Kent Street.
UGLY FACADES: Unkept shop fronts in Maryborough’s CBD present a poor image of our city to visitors. These images are just a few of many examples.
ENTRANCE STATEMENT: The Maryborough Transit Centre and old railway station is often the first view tourists have of our city. It makes a statement - but not the kind of statement Maryboroughites want.
“CHEAP”SIDE STREET: A main street in Division 3 was named after one of the most important streets in early modern London where today the Cheapside area is once again becoming one of the City of London’s most prestigious shoping destinations. In Maryborough, Qld, its namesake is anything but prestigious with many homes being allowed to become derelict.
What are the answers? Chris’s strategies for change include: Community Grants
Lost dollars: I want to greatly increase our share of the millions of dollars of government grants the old Fraser Coast Regional Council has never applied for. My plan is for skilled council employees to search out grants for community organisations. Here is my five-step program ... 1. When elected, you tell me your vision. 2. I convey your vision direct to council staff. 3. Council staff find a suitable grant. 4. Council staff come to you to help write the grant application. 5. You wait till the grant is approved. I want to install a policy that the Fraser Coast Regional Council will pay $1 per person subsidy to clubs who run events in the Fraser Coast that attract out-of-town visitors who stay over night. Plus council will pay sponsorship dollars/ prize money for significant events that bring lots of out-of-town visitors. www.chrisloft.com.au
Premier Wedding Destination
In my first three months I will convene in Maryborough a Wedding Summit. All providers welcome! How do weddings help the economy? Weddings are a labour intensive industry and around 34% of the revenue is for labour. This means more jobs! So many businesses are needed for weddings. Here are a few - catering, photographers, churches, celebrants (David Proctor one of the most popular in Qld), vehicles (we have many vintage cars), hire of wedding clothes, dining, accommodation – Motels, B & Bs etc, cake decorators. Other business can leverage off the guests who will attend. We just need to give them things to do to entertain them. e.g. - Lamplight Bazaar, Mini steam trains, study historical roots.
I am passionate about economic development for Maryborough. We will be telling the world what Maryborough does well. • We build the best trains/locomotives • We have brilliant engineering workshops • We run quirky events well • Tradesmen are highly skilled • Artisans • Musicians • Inventors • Historians • Sport Life is too short to spend it doing the things you don’t enjoy!
More strategies can be found at
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Make it happen in Maryborough FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question 2: Are you a local? Answer: Well, my wife and I moved from Melbourne to the Fraser Coast in 1981 to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine to move to Queensland and own our own restaurant. We did, and after a struggling first 12 months, “Chris and Tina’s BYO” was successful. We had six years there and then we decided to raise our family in Maryborough because it had a community heart. So from 1987 we have lived at Island Plantation – that is 25 years ago. In 1995 we bought the old Globe 4 Square building. It originally was built 1886 and was a pub till 1951. It had been derelict for about 2 years and no one wanted it. I could see potential in it so employed two carpenters for 18 months’ full time and now it is a thriving commercial business, and dare I say it, I think one of the busiest commercial buildings in town, with literally thousands of people coming through the front and back doors all getting help from two accountancy firms, physcologists, after school education tuition, as well as the head office for AIMNET. Question 3: What is your attitude to the environment? Answer: I am all for caring for the environment, but when green turkeys take over like they have currently in Qld (5,300 staff in the DERM Govt Department), it is out of control. Point in question, the people of Gayndah have to worship stinking bats. This is ridiculous, farmers cannot touch the mungrels as they eat the crops. Hello....!!! It should be good bye bats. We are in control of the environment, not the environment in control of us. Common sense please. Question 5: Will you cut red tape? Answer: Oh yes, this is one of my pet hates – government red tape – so much unnecessay bureacratic rubbish. I will implement a ONE IN ONE OUT policy on regulation. If any bureacrat wants to bring in a new regulation he must state which regulation is to be repealed. Did you know that in 2007 the Rudd/Gillard Government announced the above policy, and guess what, since 2007, 12,385 more regulations have been added in and 58 have been replaced? Bureacrats out of control – this won’t happen here on the Fraser Coast. Question 6: Do you think we are over the Global Financial Crisis? Answer: NO! Without a doubt we are not over it yet. That is why we need experienced financial and business people on the next council. Question 8: Where will all the money come from for your strategy? Answer: I have studied the finances (remember I have been an accountant for over 30 years) of the Fraser Coast Regional Council and surprisingly it is not quite the bad situation that everyone has been told. Why? Because ratepayers have been paying large rates to council. In fact council is getting money faster than they are spending it. The Fraser Coast Regional Council is in
moderately good shape with: $104 million in reserves $30 million in term deposits and $70 million in debt … you be the judge. Question 9: Why is Council not applying for all Government grants that are available? This would take the pressure of ratepayers. Answer: In the past the council has found it easier to obtain funds by just slugging ratepayers and particularly the business community. This way of the past will cease with a new council, as council staff will be searching for all types of grants. Question 10: What are you going to do about rates? Answer: I want to freeze local rates for this year 2011/2012 and never raise the rates higher than the CPI for the next 3 years. However, due to Federal Leglisation for 2011/2012 – the rotten Carbon Tax will have to be passed on, so ratepayers can expect a 2% – 3% rise for Gillard/Green rubbish tax. Question 11: What can you do about staff morale at Fraser Coast Regional Council? Answer: I will implement ‘Staff Retention and Satisfaction Procedure’. This involves one-on-one confidential interview with each and every staff member. Staff should be given the resources to do their job. Too many excellent staff have been frustrated out of Fraser Coast Regional Council because of stupid bureaucracy. ‘Common Sense’ will be back on the agenda. Round pegs in round holes! “The best asset any business has is its staff” Question 12: You want to Appoint a Special Projects Officer for Maryborough – then what will this person do? Answer: The Maryborough special Projects Officer will make Maryborough projects happen. The problem in the past has been that great projects have been established, but no one has carried them through to completion. The idea that a project will thrive by itself isn’t reality. Resources must be given to the person to ‘Make It Happen’ in Maryborough. 2006 – Mangroves on Maryborough foreshore – Wharf Street. 2007 – Bridge to Brolga Theatre Urban Renewal Project. 2008 – CBD Beautification. 2008 – Maryborough Airport Project. 2008 - Mary Harbour Residential Development by the Maryborough Sugar Factory. 2008 - Port Maryborough Marine Industry Park. 2008 - Original Maryborough Site Project, 81 Residential Lots. Question 14: What can we do about all the empty shops in Maryborough? Answer: One idea I have is, to copy a fellow in Newcastle that targeted this problem when Newcastle was depressed. His name is Marcus Westbury. Basically, he got local artists to showcase their new artworks in the front of the empty shops. I love Google, so if you google ‘pop up shops’ there are many ideas that could work here in Maryborough.
VOTE 1 CHRIS LOFT
Make your vote count - fill in ALL the squares If you don’t want Julie Arthur you must fill in every square so put Julie last. 1 your first choice 2 your second choice 3 your third choice 4 your fourth choice 5 your fifth choice 6 your sixth choice 7 your seventh choice 8 Put Julie Arthur last
Voting Information Voting is compulsory for all eligible citizens. The local government elections will be held on Saturday 28th April 2012. Polling booths open from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Pre-poll voting Opens Monday 16th April 2012 Closes 6:00pm Friday 27th April 2012 Processing of postal voting applications Applications can be made immediately. Applications close 6:00pm Wednesday 25th April 2012. Cut-off for return of postal ballot papers: 6:00pm Tuesday 8th May 2012.
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