Mayor Peter Flannery

EXCLUSIVE: First In-Depth Interview with Mayor Peter Flannery



Newly elected mayor of the Moreton Bay Region, Peter Flannery has given his first in-depth interview in the new job to Caboolture – 4510TV‘s Scott Lachmund.

In this interview, Mayor Flannery talked about some of the challenges ahead, and what he expects of the councillors.

“So, the biggest impact (from COVID-19) I see is yet to come, actually,” Mayor Flannery said in the video interview above.

“I think September is going to be a crucial time for our communities and our nation, I believe.

“But at the moment there’s many people who’ve lost their jobs.

“Every day, I drive to work, you can see people standing outside the Centrelink office who have lost their jobs.

“So, we really feel for them, and as a council, we’re trying to do as much as we can to support them during the process.

“Our businesses are suffering with the closing down of our tourism businesses, our cafes, restaurants.”

Further, Mayor Flannery outlined a road-map to recovery.

“We’ve got a lot of focus coming up in the next six months, and the big one there is tourism,” Mayor Flannery explained.

“So, we want to get people back into our region.

“We have a huge drive market that comes out of Brisbane to visit our area.

“And we want to focus, not just on our coastline, but also our rural areas.

“And we’ve got a beautiful hinterland out there, I think, which is a hidden gem in the Moreton Bay Region.”

When asked what advice he would give to the new councillors, Mayor Flannery said keep an “open mind”.

“They (new councillors) come in with, I think that, what they believe how council operates and works,” Mayor Flannery said.

“Most times they get in here and say, ‘Well, I didn’t understand that’, or ‘didn’t think that’.

“Just keep an open mind.

“Listen to the experienced other councillors around the table.

“But to work together as a team, we’re here to help each other, and deliver the best we can for the community.

“We’re not here to take each other down, so work together as a team and deliver results.

“And you’re here to represent the whole region as well, so they’re probably focused on trying to drive through the councillors, that you’re here to make decisions, (in) the best interests of the region.”

Mayor Flannery said he looked forward to another interview with Scott Lachmund.

Read the Mayor Peter Flannery interview transcript:

Scott Lachmund:
Hi, Scott Lachmund, 4510TV. Today’s episode, viewers, very special and exclusive. We get to talk to Mr. Peter Flannery, who is our newly elected mayor of the Moreton Bay region. How you going, Peter?

Mayor Peter Flannery:
Good, Scott. How are you?

Scott Lachmund:
Good mate. And I really appreciate your time. I know it’s busy, and you’re in the new job, but thanks for your time today. It just spreads a bit of an outlook of what’s happening in the region, and how we’re going to come out of this COVID thing, and prosper during your term. Let’s start with the viewers that may not know you as a previous councillor serving in Division Two. Who is Peter Flannery?

Mayor Peter Flannery:
You know Scott, I moved here 26 years ago. And I’ve been in council for 12 years. So I served four years on the old Caboolture council. I actually worked for the Caboolture council before I became a councillor. So I’ve been working in that area since 2002. I had a four-year break from council when the amalgamation happened and went away. I missed the council, which I didn’t think I did. But I really missed it and started to come back and work for council, once again, under the Moreton Bay council umbrella. And then, 2012, I ran again for council and go back in as the Divisional Two Councillor. I was there for eight years, and then I thought it was time to step up and become… put my hand up to become mayor of the region and I was successful in doing that.

Scott Lachmund:
Excellent. Peter, you’re a family man and you live within the region?

Mayor Peter Flannery:
Yeah, I’ve got a blended family, so all up, we have nine children…

Scott Lachmund:
[crosstalk 00:01:30] Wow.

Mayor Peter Flannery:
… between us. They range in age from 35 down to our five-year-old daughter, but only two of them are living at home. The rest of all adults, so it’s not too crazy.

Scott Lachmund:
Excellent. Peter, you’ve come in at an unusual time, globally and, particularly, in our region, an unusual time with COVID-19. From that transition of the councillor, and now in the job of mayor, what have you seen as the biggest impact for our region in the last couple of months?

Mayor Peter Flannery:
It’s a pretty unprecedented period we’re going through, and there’s really no roadmap to follow on how we do it. So, the biggest impact I see is yet to come, actually. I think September is going to be a crucial time for our communities and our nation, I believe. But at the moment there’s many people who’ve lost their jobs. Every day, I drive to work, you can see people standing outside the Suddenlink office who have lost their jobs. So, we really feel for them, and as a council, we’re trying to do as much as we can to support them during the process. Our businesses are suffering with the closing down of our tourism businesses, our cafes, restaurants. They’re just coming back now with some opening up of… of lifting restrictions. So they’re coming forward with that, but some of them didn’t survive, others have adapted to home delivery services and whatnot, which was great initiative of them. And we’re trying to support them as much as we can as well.

Scott Lachmund:
I know also like council nominated this… some savings or some incentives for rates, as well as, those electricity rebates through state government, but for council, talk about that. Rates reimbursement.

Mayor Peter Flannery:
Yeah. Firstly, most packages come out a few days before the election. Gave a hundred dollars off each quarter for two quarters to those who were on the job seeker payments. And at that stage, the job keeper classification was announced. So that was our first round of stimulus that we could do to help those people out in need, to put food in their mouth really, was that approach. Since then, we’ve looked at other opportunities and things we can do for the community. So I ran two stimulus, who is being worked on at the moment. We’ve also just brought in, as well, that anybody with or own any property commercial or residential in our region who is struggling to pay their rates, like an entrant or payment plan with council, and there’ll be no interest charges as well.

Scott Lachmund:
Excellent. Let’s talk, you use the word roadmap. Let’s talk about what that looks like. What would be on the agenda of what’s most important for our region to get back up and running again?

Mayor Peter Flannery:
We’ve got a lot of focus coming up in the next six months, and the big one there is tourism. So we want to get people back into our region. We have a huge drive market that comes out of Brisbane to visit our area. And we want to focus, not just on our coastline, but also our rural areas. And we’ve got a beautiful Hinterland out there, I think, which is a hidden gym in the Moreton Bay Region. So we’ll be focusing on that as well, but getting local jobs going again. So we’ve taken the approach of giving some local businesses, I suppose, the opportunity to get work through council and projects that we’re stimulating the economy with. And we’ve brought in a local policy where local businesses now we’ll get some weighting added to that tender process. Anything under $50,000 will go straight to a local business as long as they’re within the competition realms of the quote. Anything above that then goes through a tender process, but we’re going to give extra weighting to local businesses.

Scott Lachmund:
Yeah. Excellent. I liked the idea that you mentioned the Hinterland. There’s always such a focus on the beautiful Morton Bay as such, which is our coastline. But there is so many hidden gems out in the Hinterland, and… I know our cameraman, Andrew, he likes to road trip and he’ll put a photo of a waterhole or something out, Roxburgh, or out near Woorim or out in the back of Woodford. They have some beautiful spots and taking a drive out, it does support a coffee shop or a takeaway as such. Coming out of COVID, personally, you mentioned you think August, September is going to be a hard time. Why do you identify that now?

Mayor Peter Flannery:
I believe that’s when the federal government’s job keeper payments will stop. I think that’s when a lot of people really feel the crunch because, at the moment, they can able to survive on their job keeper payment. Once that stops and whether the restrictions have been lifted enough to re stimulate the tourism and the food and cafe industries, that’ll be of interest. So we could have another big crunch time coming with us, hopefully not, but we need to be prepared for that and what we can do to try and help these people through that process.

Scott Lachmund:
Again, you know I’m passionate about Caboolture. I’ve lived in Caboolture most of my life and hence the 451OTV. We try to promote and share good stories happening in the Caboolture region. What, for our viewers, are the specifically Caboolture related, what’s on the drawing plans? Is there some big projects or something coming to Caboolture specifically over the next four years?

Mayor Peter Flannery:
Well, originally in the media, the Caboolture West area is starting to take off. We’ve got a number of applications in there. So, over the period of time, we’ll make good decisions on them, but that ultimately we’ll go ahead in some form or another. So it’s just managing that to make sure we’ve got the infrastructure in place to deal with that. Also, looking at other opportunities because the growth areas, the North of our region with North Lakes and the Southern, have been really full at the moment. So, pressures on us up there to put the infrastructure into plan for how that growth is going to occur in a sensible and acceptable way for the community. So, there’s many things that happen out there at the moment.
The Northern freight terminal is something that the state government are looking at, so that’ll be a fantastic job stimulator as well up in that Northern end. And we’re just looking at different properties we have up there and what we can do to help stimulate the colony… economy, and with the new CEO, we’re looking at making the most use of our land, whether that’s through expressions of interest for tourism or that kind of thing as well. Exciting times ahead, I think for the Northern part of our region.

Scott Lachmund:
Excellent. I look at the, let’s say the Eastern side of the Bruce Highway, there’s so much available land for commercial and an infrastructure there. And I’ve always said to people personally, and in my professionals real estate, where a gateway, where, you know, the access to the Bruce Highway, the location North to sunny coast back to the airport, or the ports of Brisbane, it just… It makes sense that that’s going to be our next growth corridor for commercial and infrastructure.

Mayor Peter Flannery:
Yeah, I believe so. It’s the area that people are moving to now. Our focus is on providing jobs in that area. So we need to work with local industry and local businesses to try and work out where we need to head in the future. We’ve still got to have Patriot hillside down here that we’re working on as a innovation in a… I suppose, a technology precinct. But, we need to look beyond that and look at other areas that we can stimulate. And… That link, as you said, with the sunshine case, the road going West to the Western Toowoomba areas and also close to the port, so it’s a critical point that we can, I think, expand on.

Scott Lachmund:
Again, you’re new in the job mate, of may. And you’ve got a couple of new players on the football team…

Mayor Peter Flannery:
[crosstalk 00:08:51] Yeah.

Scott Lachmund:
… in different council areas. What would your advice be? You know, you’ve just talked about your history, over 12 years as a councillor. What would your advice be to someone new in the job as a… you know, in a division council.

Mayor Peter Flannery:
Keep an open mind. They come in with, I think that, what they believe how council operates and works. Most times they get in here and say, “Well, I didn’t understand that,” or “didn’t think that”. Just keep an open mind. Listen to the experienced other councils around the table. But to work together as a team, we’re here to help each other, and deliver the best we can for the community. We’re not here to take each other down, so work together as a team and deliver results. And you’re here to represent the whole region as well, so they’re probably focused on trying to drive through the councillors, that you’re here to make decisions, the best interests of the region.

Scott Lachmund:
The future for you post, I’m sorry, pre getting into the job and part of your election build up to be a mayor or candidate. What’s a couple of projects that you’d love to see come out of the ground and get finished over your first term.

Mayor Peter Flannery:
Well, when I first got in I [inaudible 00:10:03] my maiden speech, I’ve put 10 dot points down that I wanted done within a hundred days. So it was to give council a focus on I’m going to say council… the council staff, a focus on what I’d like to see achieved within those a hundred days to get the council moving. I’m glad to say that some of them have been ticked off already, so it’s moving on well. For me, I think I’m just having that… Building the conference back in the community, I think over the past number of years that the community have lost confidence in the council. We need to rebuild that relationship. We need to demonstrate on how we’re working, how we’re operating, and how we behave to build that up. So I think actions speak louder than words, and once we build that relationship back up and show the community that we’re here to support them and do the best we can for them, then I’ll be happy.

Scott Lachmund:
Excellent. I think it’s a great focus for the future for three or [inaudible 00:10:52] for our viewers, but also our Morton Bay region. You’ve you’ve said it there again, we are part of a bigger region, and I think we all need to prosper for the benefit of everyone. So, thank you sincerely for your time Peter. I know you’re a busy man, but all the very best over your first term as mayor and I hope it all goes well for you man.

Mayor Peter Flannery:
Thank you, Scott. I look forward to doing this again.

Andrew McCarthy-Wood

Radio Announcer, Freelance News Video/Photographer/Journalist and Media/Marketing Consultant.