NEW BATTLE: He’s fought for irrigators to get better access to water, now this farmer is ready for a new battle and is running for council. Picture: Dominic Elsome
NEW BATTLE: He’s fought for irrigators to get better access to water, now this farmer is ready for a new battle and is running for council. Picture: Dominic Elsome

Pledge for ‘panel’ to bridge disconnected community, council

HE IS BEST known as being a voice for farmers throughout the region – battling for additional water and fairer prices.

But Gordon Van der Est is about to take on a new battle – announcing his candidacy for the upcoming council elections.

The Forest Hill cattle farmer and spokesman for the Lockyer Water Users Forum said he wanted to “make a difference” in council.

“I’ve got a track record of proving I can bring people together to work out solutions to issues,” Mr Van der Est said.

He’s also served on the ARTC Inland Rail Community Consultative Committee – as the proposed route impacts his property.

He listed several key issues he hoped to tackle if elected, including fighting for residents impacted by Inland Rail, as well as pushing for upgrades to dangerous intersections on the Warrego Highway.

“I realise the Warrego Highway is controlled by the state, but we’ve really got to get in there and do something for Fairways Drive, Niemeyer Rd, and Forest Hill-Fernvale turn off,” he said.

“(We’ve) got this massive growth going on and no infrastructure going in to make it safe.”

He also believed a “disconnection” had developed between the council and the community – which he hoped to bridge.

“I just think council has got to become more relevant to the rate payer,” he said.

One solution he proposed was the development of a panel where ratepayers could raise concerns or complaints directly with councillors over decisions.

“The problem is now if you don’t like a decision, your only recourse is technically to go to court,” he said.

He hoped the panel could provide better communication and accountability between council and the community.