Council candidate's plan to smash Ipswich's 'stigma'
HE IS well aware of the magnitude of the job that lay ahead, as well as the sheer number of people for whom he will be advocating, but Russell Milligan believes he is the right man for the job.
The 50-year-old self-employed telecommunications technician and former soldier will contest the Ipswich City Council election next year, vying to represent one of two division four seats.
Mr Milligan, running for a position as councillor for the first time, said he wanted to be part of the new council team that smashed the "stigma" hanging over the city.
His platform will focus on "restoring civic pride" and consist of six pillars, including prioritising major infrastructure projects, public safety, extending public transport services, improving council controlled roads and an overhaul of waste management procedure.
Having grown up near Mulgowie, the Brassall resident believes his upbringing and life experience will allow him to relate to the needs and concerns of the residents in the vast division, from those living in townhouses to farmers on 100ha working properties.
Mr Milligan will run as an independent and is the son of former Laidley Shire councillor Bob Milligan.
"There are just under 31,000 enrolled voters at present (in division four)," he said.
"We need to not only repair the reputation (of Ipswich) but make it better than it ever was.
"Being a councillor or an elected member of local government is something that is community service. It should be viewed as such. It's not a job."
If elected, he would support an independent audit of the current financial state of the council and will push a "back to basics" approach as the city enters a new era.
This will centre on outlining and prioritising adequate public transport services and infrastructure for all of Ipswich, particularly in rural and high growth areas.
"There are places and districts in Ipswich that haven't seen any real infrastructure input for some time," he said.
"There are still gravel roads in the country regions that need to be upgraded. People are running businesses out there. They're paying their rates.
"It's all about fair access to services. It's about the big picture. Getting the prioritisation of those aspects is very important and then of course you can have the other small ticket items for your own division.
"In future developments we need to factor (public transport) in much more than what we do now. If a large whole new suburb is going to be created, that developer needs to work with the state in terms of providing extra services.
"As we grow exponentially with our population, we're going to hit half a million in the foreseeable future. We can't have that many cars on the road."
Mr Milligan believed localised crime had "hit a peak" and another priority would be the promotion and development of community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch, as well as more attention to sporting and social groups to keep young people busy.
Making changes to the way the council handles waste management and recycling is also at the fore.
"Ipswich in general has a name for rubbish," he said.
"That must stop. It needs to be investigated properly and not only Ipswich City Council but the State Government needs to step up to the plate and find out how to alleviate the causes of the problem."