TOURISM should be advanced and supported through Central Queensland as a significant part of the region and a way to encourage more people to the area, according to Capella resident and council candidate, Natalie Curtis.
Mrs Curtis, whose family and husband's family live in the area, said she believed it was important to promote the region and make it convenient for people to visit by providing free and easy-access camping areas, and also cheap or low cost parking for travellers where people also could the local services.
"I travelled around Australia once, and some of the best places we stayed at were showgrounds where you paid a small amount of money and had services available to you."
She said she also believes in promoting a welcoming atmosphere where people said "g'day" to each other which would help encourage tourists who could enjoy the friendly, local environment.
Born in the Darling Downs, Mrs Curtis has lived in the Central Highlands for the past 20 years after first arriving to study at a Diploma of Agricultural Studies at the Emerald Agricultural College.
Mrs Curtis said water security, the safety of the region's roads, and infrastructure for schools and hospitals were also issues she would look at if elected to council.
"Roads are our life blood. Being a farming area, so much is transported."
She said the region was struggling, and council needed a strong voice to speak not just to the local government, but to lobby all tiers of government about the needs of regional and rural Queensland.
"And that's something that I'm not scared to do. I've lived in rural communities all my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But we get forgotten a lot of the time."
Mrs Curtis said support for small businesses in the area was essential.
"Without small business, we don't survive. We're struggling in Capella, as we've got no grocery store here now. And it's a 100km round trip for us to go get groceries from Emerald or Clermont."
As a family involved with rugby league and motocross, Mrs Curtis said she prioritised sport and activities for young people, and would like to see better utilisation and maintenance of current facilities so they could be used all year by different groups.
She believed it was important sporting infrastructure was a primary concern as improving and maintaining facilities would also help attract new families.
"I'd like to see better use of rate dollars. We've got a small rate base and a large area to cover, so we need to make the most of every dollar we get."
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