Academic, Uber driver will bring ‘big picture’ vision
DRIVING people around Ipswich as an Uber driver has allowed a council candidate to get to know the city, its people and its issues.
Kendal Newman, who describes himself as a "part-time dad, part-time academic and a part-time Uber driver", will run for a Division 1 seat in the March election.
The 59-year-old and his family only moved to Ipswich in August but he believes other candidates are lacking a "big picture" vision.
Mr Newman spent the past 20 years working for universities in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates but wanted to return to Australia to raise his family.
"I think there's a need for bigger picture thinking," he said.
"Ipswich is in a unique position in the way that it's going to double in size in the next 10 years.
"I see other candidates focused on making a bridge two lanes instead of one … what about attracting sustainable economic development, business and industry?
"Economic development and marketing, it gets about $10 million a year. I think with a $2.6 billion organisation, you could probably double that and start to really look at some strategies to make this vision of what we want Ipswich to look like in 10 years time more of a reality."
Mr Newman works two days a week at James Cook University in Brisbane, teaching courses in e-security and data visualisation.
He commits a few hours a week to driving for Uber to get away from the computer screen.
Mr Newman praised the framework put in place by former interim administrator Greg Chemello for the new council team.
"The first order of business (would be) making sure that the framework that he's put in for transparency is maintained," he said.
"I've never been a member of any political party. I'm fiercely independent.
"I know how to do strategies, know to align them with objectives and how to read financial statements and make decisions based on them.
"I think in any other election it would not be an advantage to be a complete outsider and independent.
"But my gut instinct tells me maybe that's an advantage in this particular election."