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Posts Tagged ‘Sue Brooks’

F.C.A.T.A. Update – 23rd Sept 2011

FCATA
F.C.A.T.A. Update – 23rd Sept 2011 …
FCATA LogoThis months update is more of the same I’m afraid. To try and lift the profile of the FCATA in a direct way with Councillors and try to have them engage – I attended the Maryborough Council meeting on the 17th Aug and again attended the Hervey Bay Meeting on the 7th Sept. The Council Minutes reflect the address I gave during the public participation as follows:

Minutes of the FCRC Ordinary Meeting No. 15
held on Wednesday 17 August 2011 Page 4
ORD 7 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
ORD 7.4 Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre

Ian Bleys, 43 Wide Bay Drive, Eli Waters
Mr Bleys addressed Council on his support for the action being taken at the meeting to reduce admission fees at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre. He said that this region had approximately 5,500 disability pensioners and believed it to be the highest in Queensland. He sought Council’s support to use the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre for aqua therapy sessions to help people with disabilities improve their quality of life.

________________________________________

Minutes of the FCRC Ordinary Meeting No. 16
held on Wednesday 7 September 2011 Page 4
ORD 7 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
ORD 7.3 Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association

Mr Ian Bleys, Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association referred to a proposal regarding the Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association which had been sent to the Chief Executive Officer and Councillors, and said a reply was still awaited regarding this matter and the proposed programme which would be beneficial to disabled people.

These minutes are but a fraction of what was said and don’t fully reflect what I was trying to say in both my address’ – I don’t know who vets these minutes but they do a very poor job on accuracy and content.

After the 17th Aug Meeting I received a visit from Councillor Hawes – no other Councillor of Council staff made contact. Ms Hawes is a genuine soul and she does have some appreciation for the intent of the program. I appreciate her support.

In pursuing the Council I sent Ms Desmond the following e-mail message on the 29th Aug as a followup to the Council address –

From: Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Assoc [mailto:fcata@bigpond.com]
Sent: Monday, 29 August 2011 1:26 PM
To: Lisa DESMOND (Lisa.Desmond@frasercoast.qld.gov.au)
Cc: All-Councillors@frasercoast.qld.gov.au; Chris FOLEY; Ted SORENSEN;Mr Paul Neville
Subject: FCATA Pool Admission arrangements

Dear Ms Desmond,

I refer to the e-mail exchanges we had prior to the Council Meeting held on the 17th Aug and the concession admission process submission presented at that meeting.

In those message messages sent to you – and previous messages – I asked a number of questions you still have not responded to – can I please have some answers?

Specifically – I had ask if you followed up with Gladstone Council as you said you would in our July conversation about their GATA program and their free admission for all concession card holders between 8-9am Mon – Fri?

And – the question on 7:30-9:00 am ‘free’ access to the pool for FCATA members in line with the GATA concessions granted by the Gladstone City Council – where the FCATA pay Council a part of the FCATA membership fee for that access – what progress has been made on this issue?

The safety upgrades necessary – has any progress been made to have them addressed?

Have you pressed the Amenities upgrades necessary to the expenditures allocations Committees you indicated would have review any specific needs required to address the Aqua Therapy requirements – if you recall you indicated those meeting are about to take place around this time of year –

This Council has taken well over two years to address the disability access raised – how long before Council addresses the rehabilitative aqua-therapy requirements of this community?

Regards … Ian Bleys.

———————————————————————————————–
Fraser Coast Aqua-Therapy Association – Proposed
Contact Information:
The Proposer –
Ph/Fax: 61 7 41 941 081

Ms Desmond has neither acknowledged this message or responded in any way. I n fact that was one of the reasons I went to the 7th Sept meeting to front Ms Desmond and directly ask her why she has not responded. That was also ignored in the time since passed.

In the two weeks since that meetiing – her non response was further engaged when sent her another e-mail message on the 20th Sept – to follow up a similar message I sent her on the 29th Aug. The latest message is pasted below –

From: Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Assoc [mailto:fcata@bigpond.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 20 September 2011 7:27 PM
To: Lisa DESMOND (Lisa.Desmond@frasercoast.qld.gov.au)
Cc: All-Councillors@frasercoast.qld.gov.au
Subject: FCATA Proposal – What Progress has been made to address the issues raised …

Dear Ms Desmond,

I have been patient – some two weeks after I fronted the Council and 4 weeks after the previous address to Council in Maryborough – and you still have not acknowledged my correspondence. I also note that no Councillor has been in contact since I addressed the Council two weeks ago.

You have not responded to at least 3 previous e-mail messages – they were asking you directly what action you have taken to follow up on undertakings you made in our phone conversation over 2 months ago.

Prior to these messages you asked me to submit a proposal and I spent a good month preparing that document and it was sent to you in May – 4 months ago …

Ms Desmond your last e-mail sent to FCATA was on the 15th Aug when you spoke of the final amendments to the concession card entry prices. Let me remind you once again – all your efforts have achieved is to bring this Council’s Pool admission prices to the same levels on offer from all your surrounding Councils.

Your Councilmen sat on this issue for almost 2 years defying and denying those same concessions – your appointment triggered a breakthrough but only because the Council was wrong in its price settings.

Please don’t think that this a Council goodwill concession – just measure all the past years when concession card holders have had to pay the same admission price as the general public for season tickets as a yardstick on fairness.

Your Council has an obligation to try to help those in most need within this community – and as has been presented to you in the Proposal – FCATA members having free access to the pool between 7:30 and 9:00am will not inconvenience the H/Bay public pool in any way. The offer was made for part of the FCATA membership fees to be paid to Council for that concession.
Your undertaking to contact Gladstone Council to learn about the GATA program should have enlightened you as to how their Aqua Therapy program has helped their community.

A similar program in Hervey Bay would service a much larger local demographic with 25% on the FCRC area being either an Aged pensioner or a Disability pensioner. In recent communications you gave undertakings that you have not followed through on – I now ask you again to engage on this issue and honour your commitments and obligations to the residents living in this Council region.

Kind Regard … Ian Bleys.
———————————————————————————————–
Fraser Coast Aqua-Therapy Association – Proposed
Contact Information:
The Proposer

… and to this message there still has been no response from Ms Desmond or any of her staff that she might have staffed this out to.

However – I did received two responses from Councillors Brooks and Hovard thanking me for the CC message.

There is not a lot I can say – yet when I read the Independents articles on Ms Desmond’s two weeks ago and what a the opinion about what a wonderful asset she seems to be – I scratch my head and ask – can all that was written be true … then why has she not bothered to engage on such an important issue that has the potential to improve the quality of life for 25% of the FCRC residents?

I would like to write an article about this Council and really let loose on their actual awareness and lack of understanding on what the FCATA is trying to achieve.

Councillor Brooks came back the same day with a response:

Thanks Ian. I still believe you are asking Council to set up a programme itself or for us to give FCATA members free access to the pool. Is this your desire?
Cheers, Sue

There were a few back and forth messages that followed and never achieved anything – in the end Cr Brooks has her head buried somewhere and just does not want to get involved on this issue other than she thinks the FCATA wants something for nothing.

In the last nine months every Councillor has been sent every bit of information about the FCATA and its agenda. If they had of bothered to read any of the detail they would know and understand what this program is about and is trying to achieve. Having now addressed the FCRC Councillors twice – and awaited their response – I was hoping my appeals to the FCRC may have provoked more enquiry and interest … but no – their level of perceived interest is still zero.

Scott Rowe from the Independent ran a story a few weeks ago and that also drew no response from Council. He indicated that when they were asked for a response comment – the answer was ‘no comment’.

Ms Desmond said she would advertise the new concession admission pool prices passed in May in their electronic Newsletter – that has not happened either.

The Disability and pensioner demographic do not have a real voice in this region. Sheila King does wonderful work for her ‘Australia for all’ advocacy group – and there are more than 50 other advocacy and charity carer organisations in the region – but in summary – they all fear speaking out or becoming advocates for a better deal and risking their existing and future funding grants.

Please use this link to make contact with FCATA if you want to be involved in this continuing battle to get an aqua-therapy program up and running. E-Mail: fcata@bigpond.com – Ph: 07 41941081.

All I can offer is that whilst I remain healthy I will keep putting this issue in front of Council and other avenues available.

Lets continue the battle.

________________________________________

FCATA Web Master …

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29th Mar Update …

Hello all,

Yesterday was a watershed day in many ways …

  • First off in the morning there were on camera interviews with Channel 7 and Channel 9 – they came in response to help spread the word about the program to the Fraser Coast community.  Both Channels indicated they will air the interviews Monday night – interviews can be seen using the links below – files are compressed .avi file format and run for about 90sec –
  1. Channel 7 Local News Story
  2. Channel 9 Local News Story

The comment I will make on the record about the content of the interviews is that there are no versions of the truth – I challenge the Mayor to deny he gave an undertaking during a meeting in Sept 2010  to immediately address the issue of ‘concession pool’ prices.

The undertaking he gave was that Council would not wait until the next round of budgets to move on ‘concession card’ discounts – his comments in the linked interviews above were not an honest reflection of the commitment he gave during that meeting – his other interview comments were a muddied version of the truth – he was playing politics –

I call him to account for his comments – he cannot deny that he shook my hand and looked me in the eye and said: ‘No – we’ll do something now’ – in response to his Director Community Development’s suggestion that they do a review in the 2011-12 budget.  The offer he did make has been documented at this site previously –

As to what other information he spoke about – the man is unconscionable and still has no comprehension what this program is about an can offer to the Fraser Coast Community …

  • A registered participant who contacted the Federal and State Member – and a Councillor – copied to me the return comments by Councillor Brooks who I call a flip-flopper – and to ensure she is not misquoted – her response is pasted hereto in full –

sent 25th Mar:

Sue,

My partner Neville, is unable to walk very much at all, due to significant problems with his health, To have something like this in Hervey Bay for people with disabilities would be wonderful and is urgently needed, Please support this

for me, as a carer I am not getting much attention and help from anyone as it happens.

__________________________________

response 28th Mar: from Councillor Sue Brooks

I hope Mr Bleys is successful in launching a group. I am sure Council will provide support to any such group once it is created.

Take care, Sue

___________________________________

further reply to Cr Brooks:

sent 28th Mar:

Thanks Sue, my understanding is that the Fraser Coast Council has not been very supportive of the issue

____________________________________

28th Mar – final response from Cr Brooks:

This is just not true. Mr Bleys wants Council to create the group and support it etc and this is not what Council does. We require the community to create the interest and/or bring it together and then we can work out ways to support it. Mr Bleys is doing a great disservice by running Council down. I believe he is not helping his cause and is not understanding the Council commitments properly. We do not have the resources to go out and create this group but if the community does, we will help as much as we can. We have always said this!

Ta, Sue

PS It is not just about entrance fees to the pool…

____________________________________

I sent the following message to All Councillors and Lisa Desmond yesterday after I received the Cr Brooks information:

To – All Councillors and Ms Desmond –

You are advised that the Cr Brooks comments are completely incorrect and misguided –

_________________________________________

For some history please read the attached file sent to All Councillors in Sept 2010 – a summary version appears below:

The file can be read using this link:  Pool issue 20100922

  • Two years ago I contacted Debra Moore with a DVD about the non existence of ‘concession card’ discounts for pool admission.
  • Ms Moore said there was nothing she could do and suggested I contact Cr Muckan – I left several message for Cr Muckan over a matter of weeks and he replied to none of them.
  • I again contacted Cr Muckan via e-mail to raise the same issue again early 2010 –
  • That resulted in a Council meeting in August last year – see attached file for Council minutes and responses …
  • Council requested a report on ‘budget impact’
  • Council report does not respond on ‘budget impact’ – but quotes erroneous numbers for other Council pool admission fees.
  • Council report proved to be false in its information –
  • My own report submitted –
  • Mayor requests meeting
  • Mayor gives an undertaking to fix the problem –
  • Mayor gives me a personal invitation to pay the full and general admission price on a monthly basis – no discount to the general public price –
  • This monthly payment plan is already available to the General Public
  • During research for report – Gladstone Aqua Therapy program is discovered –
  • Approach made to Council about supporting a similar program –
  • Council advise they cannot support a program or establish such a program –
  • Federal Funding grant ‘Healthier Communities Initiative’ canvassed with Council as being a possible funding option for program
  • Council advise the funding application they are preparing and the parameters they understand the funding to be made available under – do not suit the proposed aqua-therapy program –
  • Further research undertaken with Carer groups and they all suggest to apply for funding under the ‘Healthier Communities Initiative’ – submissions for this Federal grant closed on the 4th Feb 2011 –
  • Back to Council and told that they cannot become involved with the aqua therapy program – it has to be established by the community before council can get involved –
  • Further research done on establishing an aqua therapy program on the Fraser Coast undertaken –
  • Council again approached on pool access and cost question –
  • Council indicate they will negotiate pool access and cost when Management Committee formed –
  • Council informed that no funding applications can be made until Council give undertaking to support the program with pool access and a known cost for that access –
  • Council refuse to answer further correspondence or return phone calls –

Council are aware of my own disabilities and their restrictiveness – yet they offer no logistical support to help establish a program that would benefit a great many number of people living in this community – forming a Committee to manage what will become a $500-$750k annual budget requires people with some experience and financial ability.  The people who will benefit from this program will be able to provide some volunteer type help – but as for being able to serve on Committee and manage a budget, staff and the logistical support required for this program requires people with relative experience.

I do not have the ability to go and knock on doors seeking Community leaders to become involved with this program – all my efforts to date have been made largely over the internet – some small media help and by phone – in fact there have only been three councillors who has made any attempt to contact me in relation to this program – and I would go so far as to say  –  collectively – they and the rest of the Councillors take no responsibility for voting unanimously on the Council produced report last August – they got it wrong then – and they have it wrong now –

As a Council – of course they can act to better service their local community – they just choose not to when it comes to the aged – the disabled and the concession card group on this issue …

Why should they wait for this group to form their own committee and structure a program and then approach Council to beg them to help – why the hell don’t Council be pro-active in helping this Group help themselves.

Cr Brooks’ comments are naive in the extreme and are indicative of just how Council and Councillors recognise this large demographic group living in their community – they need Council to provide initial support by providing pool access and a costing for that access to help get the program up and running.

Carer groups have large Administration and funding behind them – this program does not have that – everybody says this is a great program and is needed – yet nobody at Federal, State or Local Council wants to become involved at the base level of formulation and getting this program up and running – the question is why?

This Council provides a budgeted General Public pool subsidy in excess of $250K per year – what do they provide for the ‘concession card’ group for pool subsidy – zero  support – if they matched the general public subsidy – then the program has a base level of cost funding to make application for Federal and State funding.  That level of support would encourage funding from other groups –

If the only thing stopping them from making a commitment like that is that they want to deal with a Management Committee – then I say bullocks – this is a genuine attempt to do good community work and if council cannot see they – they are blind –

I do hope this clears up the misleading information Cr Brooks has put forth in her response …

She has continually got her facts wrong and completely off topic when she has responded on this issue with me in the past – any support she has offered to date comes as a flip-flopper and has had no real contribution to where the program is currently –

Regards … Ian Bleys.

Let me say further –

  • The Council have had 2 years to address any moral and conscious position they personally may have in ‘not’ offering ‘concession card’ discounts to pool users – and they have not budged – this is not something that has just suddenly arrived at their front door – the Hervey Bay Council had never considered the issue of ‘concession card’ discounts prior to the amalgamation – yet the Maryborough Pool according to my research did offer concession card discounts –
  • In the 2 year period this matter has been on the FCRC doorstep – the Council have given the ‘general public’ a budgeted $500k in subsidised admission prices – and not a thing for ‘concession card’ holders using the pool.
  • When Cr Brooks says it is not just about entrance fees – she is right – it is about how a Council she serves on and supports – can be so blatantly prejudiced against the ‘concession card’ demographic on pool admission prices – when the  same Council can offer ‘concession card’ discounts of varying degrees on so many other Council services in the area –  [i.e. Council Rates – Bus operators operating under Council Tenders – Brolga Theatre – Maryborough and Hervey Bay Shows – and I am sure there are others.  In addition electricity suppliers offer discounts – as to private local business’s – tradies – Supermarkets – some Professional services etc ] –
  • What is the problem in expecting this Council to fall into line with every other like Council up and down the QLD coastline and offer pool discounts to the ‘concession card’ holders.
  • It is not like this group is going to the pool for leisure activity – they are going for exercise and the need to use the pool to assist with their mobility issues.

No – the Fraser Coast Regional Council are wrong and they also run the risk of the State Member for Local Government becoming further involved over the State Disabilities Act 2006 – and with reference to the following sections as a start … : [the Act can be downloaded via this link: http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/D/DisabServA06.pdf ]

  • Part 1 – Division 2(6-8) [Objects]
  • Part 2 – 18 [Persons encouraged to have regard to human rights Principle]
  • Part 2 – 19(3-5) [Persons encouraged to have regard to human rights Principle]
  • Part 2 – Division 2(20–33) [Service delivery principles]
  • Part 3 – Section 34 [Minister may make disability service standards]

The FCRC presides over the highest per capita number of disability pensioners in QLD – yet it is a Council that does not recognise what this really means.  The pool provides such relief for and assists in so many ways to aid this group – they have never thought to help this group in this way –

Councils reasoning is they believe someone else should put together a program for this group of disadvantaged persons.  Yet late last year when a local carer tried to instigate a Learn to Swim program for a disability group – the Council chose to refused them access even though it was independently funded and staffed away from the pool staffing resources.

The Council does allow private physio’s to bring their clients to the pool because the pool does not offer this service.  They also allow privately conducted water aerobics and other exercise programs on a private ‘pay as you’ use arrangement the persons conducting the program.

The Council has very strange attitudes to the whole ambit of disabled and aged persons using the pool to keep fit and help with mobility issues – as long as you pay the general public price – you can use the pool.

That attitude does not run consistent with what it does for ‘concession card’ users in other Council services and amenities.  I dare say that the Council policy on this issue is flawed in a way that Council do not understand what the pool offers and can mean to those wanting affordable access to manage their mobility issues.

Have you had enough of this Council?  Contact your Local Member and give them a serve – their contact details can be found at this link:    https://fcata.wordpress.com/contact-info-for-federal-and-state-members-local-councillors/

________________________________

To change the target away from the Council for a period as advised by a mentor – I turn to the positives of the week –

  • I will be making a few calls during the week to approach some people about serving on an interim steering Committee – looking for 4-5 people to serve until the first General meeting.
  • The Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Program President intends to make a trip to Hervey Bay to attend what looks like a delayed General Meeting to be held on the 5th May 2011.
  • It is very important that the meeting be delayed until this time – the lady who set up the Gladstone program now residing in Hervey Bay has indicated today that she is prepared to become part of the initial FCATA steering Committee – she is away for most of April.
  • Carol has been advising me on so many matters relating to this program – but not the Council bashing stuff – that she will be an invaluable asset to the program.   She is a qualified nurse and started the GATA program off over 22 years ago – she is very familiar with Council problems coming to terms with a program like this.
  • The steering Committee will be looking into the registration of the Association and its Incorporation – and will present a different face to Council to hopefully bring about changes to their resistant position.
  • I looked to the number of Respite Carers and their preliminary estimates and the number is approaching 200 – I have over 60 individual Interest Notifications and this is fast approaching the bottom side of initial target estimates of 300-500 in this initial interest stage.
  • This is but a fraction of the 5,500+ disability and the 14,000+ aged pensioners living in the area.  Hopefully the media stories on TV last night will carry the message out to a greater number of potential users of the program.

Cheers all ….

24th Mar Update …

Hi all,

Yesterday – (23rd Mar) –  I again tried to speak with Ms Desmond – the Acting CEO of the Fraser Coast Regional Council.  I was seeking to have some dialog with the CEO over the pool access costs for the FCATA program – and follow up the message I sent her on the 11th March. There has been no response to this message to date.  I was informed on the 18th Mar that the e-mail message had been received and printed out.

I was told that Ms Desmond was locked in meetings all day and that matters had backed up on the CEO – the reason for that backup was of course on the News last night about the Council workers going on strike.

Instead – I had a pleasant conversation with her Aid – Katherine.  She was very loyal and spoke of the CEO’s workload – and I then began to understand a few things.

Whilst this FCATA issue is an important issue from my and many others perspectives – it is one of  many issues the CEO is dealing with on a day to day basis.  She is under immense pressure as the ‘ACTING’ CEO  and the Councillors are extracting their pound of flesh as she tries to prove herself worthy.  But then with a Salary of $250,000 plus perks and superannuation – one would expect that the workload would be fierce.

During the conversation – her Aid let slip that there were over 1600 ‘unread e-mails’ in the CEO’s inbox – when I heard it I asked her to confirm the number – she did.

This spoke volumes as to where the FCATA sits on the CEO’s agenda.  The fact that no acknowledgment or auto response has been received suggests that someone needs to give the Acting CEO some help in making her understand that ‘auto-response’ messages at least give the sender of the e-mail some idea that it has been received – and that the matter has been logged.

Can you imagine what important information might be contained in those ‘unread e-mails’?  I don’t know how many messages she receives a day – but to read and act on 1600+ messages would take many days – perhaps weeks to deal will all the issues involved.  Surely some sort of delegation of responsibility would be in order to ensure that those ‘unread messages’ are dealt with in order of importance. This might just be an insight to why Council takes so long to respond or action anything.

____________________________________________

For several months – since August last year and before – I have continued to pound this council for their inaction over pool admission prices for concession card holders.   That same battle is now taking place in the form of FCATA and trying to extract from Council a price for the FCATA and its future members to go to the pool.

In Oct/Nov last year – the Mayor showed immense disrespect and contempt for the concept of this program in the after math of a meeting I had with him in late Sept 2010.  At the end of that meeting he looked me in the eye – shook my hand – and told me and his Director Community Development who was also in attendence – ‘No – we will do something now to fix this!’

His offer came two weeks later via his Director Community Development – Peter Smith – in the form of a one off arrangement for me to to pay the GENERAL PUBLIC price for a yearly ticket on a monthly basis – the proviso being that I had to pay it at the Council chambers rather than the pool so as to avoid any public awareness of the arrangement. This was an individual offer to me personally when the Mayor knew I was approching him on the basis of all concession card holders.

In an interview with the Pool Manager two weeks ago – he told me that the pool had been offering this arrangement to all purchases of season tickets if they asked for it for several years.

That made the Mayors offer absolutely hollow – a joke – and an insult to all the efforts to convince him to the moral and logical reasons to make a fair decision for the ‘concession card’ group wanting to use the pool.  His offer was an ‘up yours’ response and needs to be exposed for the total lack of responsibility he showed in the position he holds. This man is not worthy to hold the office he does if this is the way he treats marginalised residents living in his constituency.

To provide further information about the Councillor response to the FCATA program – there has only been 3 Councillors respond to any of the 15-20 or so e-mails I have sent to All-Councillors about this program and the Admission price debate since Sept-Oct last year.

That is a pathetic response from a group of Councillors who preside over the 5,500+ disability pensioners in the region – the highest number per capita in QLD – and 1,400+ who under carer attention – and the total 30,000+ over 55’s who are approaching a period in their life where a program such as this will benefit them greatly into the future – and help them remain independent livers.

This Council are not forward looking people – they have no vision about what this program is about – nor what it can and will provide for so many isolated and marginalised residents in this region.  On a matter of such importance and significance for the Fraser Coast region – I would have imagined all the Councillors would have been enthused about a program like this and have made some sort of supportive contact.

Each of the State MemberMr Foley and Mr Sorensen and the Federal Member Mr Neville, have given their support for the program – why is it that council are last to come on board.

The program needs community support to attack this Council and make them aware of how they have misjudged the need for a program like this.  Please ring your Local Councillor and badger them – make them feel pressured to support this program – ask them the question whether they support the program and why not if they say ‘No’.

If they say they support the program – ask them what they are doing about supporting the program – be persistent and not let them fob you off – get angry – express your emotion  – make them accountable for their view.

Please if you do ring your Local Councillor or State/Federal Member – and get a response [see below for Phone Numbers] – log on to this website and tell the readers of this blog your story and the Councillor/Member you rang and their response …  the link to that submission is here – or to the right under Menu Links.

_______________________________

Phone Numbers:

Local Councillors:

To send an E-Mail to All Councillors – please this address: All-Councillors@frasercoast.qld.gov.au

________________________________________________________

Please Ring your Local Members …