Queensland has lost a giant of local government

I FIRST met the late Mayor Steve Jones about five years ago and there are two things I will always remember from that encounter.

Firstly, his handshake - it was as strong as oak - something you would expect from a knock-about country bloke like him.

Secondly, was his no bullshit attitude to life - you always knew where you stood with Mayor Jones, whether you liked it or not.

I got to know Mayor Jones professionally over the past five years and I am not ashamed to admit I shed a tear when I learned he had passed away.

Having dealt with many politicians at a local, state and federal level over my career, it was heartening to meet one that actually cared about what they did.

Most of them are in the game only for self-promotion and if they try to tell you otherwise you know they are lying.

FAMILY MAN: Mayor Steve Jones in front of heavy machinery (left) and (above) with granddaughter Avery.
FAMILY MAN: Mayor Steve Jones in front of heavy machinery (left) and (above) with granddaughter Avery. SUPPLIED

There are only a handful of them in my experience that are there for the right reasons - and Steve Jones was one of them.

His passion for his community was unparalleled; his leadership was inspiring and his unique way of calling a spade a spade refreshing.

I was one of the last journalists to interview Mayor Jones before his sudden death.

During that conversation he confirmed he would contest his fourth mayoral election and outlined his vision for the community.

He told me when it was time to hang up his hat; he hoped he would leave his community in a better way than when he took office.

There is absolutely no doubt he achieved that.

Mayor Jones went on to say we would catch up next time he was in Ipswich to go for a few beers.

Unfortunately I never got to take him up on that offer, instead I'll raise a glass to him myself and say "farewell, mate".

LOCAL LEADER: Steve Jones was elected to the then Gatton Shire Council in 2000.
LOCAL LEADER: Steve Jones was elected to the then Gatton Shire Council in 2000.


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