Building trust takes commitment

Defining “trust” can be a tricky thing. But while it can mean different things to different people, it ultimately comes down to the simple feeling that you can rely on someone to do the right thing, even when no one’s watching.

Unfortunately, Cairns Regional Council has taken the “no one’s watching” bit a little too far in recent years, and the result is a lack of trust within our community.

One thing I’ve noticed in my time as a Councillor is that too much happens behind closed doors, and the community is too often left wondering what’s really going on. Too many confidential reports; too many secret meetings; too many decisions being made without the community’s input and – all too often – without their knowledge.

Over time, a culture has developed that shies away from accountability, and undervalues community input. Meaningful communication is sorely lacking and too little effort is made to foster genuine engagement. For a community as diverse, as engaged, and as connected as Cairns, this is simply not good enough.

Trust in local government comes from understanding what is being done and why. It is earned through actions that recognise every resident and every ratepayer deserves to know how their money is spent and how decisions are made.

Transparency and integrity go hand-in-hand. When decisions are made authentically, based on facts, and in the best interest of the community, there is nothing to hide. And that’s where trust starts to be built.

Being open and honest has always been important to me. It’s something I strive for in both my work and my personal life. It shows respect, and it earns respect in return. This is a quality I intend to bring back to Cairns Regional Council. And I hope to bring you along for the ride.

With Team Eden, I’m collaboratively developing a suite of actions that will reflect a new culture of transparency, accountability and engagement – three crucial attributes for good government. Things like openly publishing detailed data that reveal how the council is doing business, lifting the veil of secrecy around Councillor workshops, and establishing new methods for meaningful community engagement. I’ll be sharing more details around these and other key actions with you in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I encourage you to think about how you’d like to interact with your council – your input is something I, and Team Eden, truly value.


Amy Eden, Mayoral Candidate, Cairns Regional Council

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