TRRRA Candidate Questions
- Why are you running, and what do you think you can offer Tamworth Region?
I am running purely and simply because I love where I live and I would like to assist in our region (Tamworth and our towns and villages) to become a better place to live, visit, move to and flourish as a person, a couple or as a family. I can offer sound and well formulated, balanced community leadership. As I am not a member of any political group or party, I never have been and never will, I can act independently and according to what is in the best interests of the community at large.
- How do those of you with political affiliations address the issues that arise serving two masters?
I am not a member of a political party and never have been. My master is the community and the Local Government Act as well as various NSW Government Legislation.
- Every candidate says that they always put the community first. But what does that mean to you?
It means when I make decisions on recommendations in the business paper or when listening to members of the community in personal meetings, phone conversations or reading emails, my line of thinking will be based on what is both best for the member or members of the community and what is permissible and possible within the confines of the budgets and what is in accordance of the Local Government Act. I can never promise everything, that would be impossible. But I can always listen, provide people with an explanation on why decisions are made, be transparent and most importantly be honest.
- What are your views on the interaction between Councillors, senior council staff and developers documented and available on public record?
The information our community requires to be informed if they so choose to be informed, is available through documents including Council Meeting Business Papers and Annexures, reports, annual expenditure and program reports such as the Annual Operational Plan report, the Annual Report with financials and other quarterly and annual reports all publicly available.
As a councillor who only wants what is best for the community, any interactions with developers I have are in the best interests of the people who are either impacted and/or going to benefit from the development, regardless of the type of development. We need development, we need developers. Taking minutes in meetings between councillors and developers is not necessary in my view as it clearly states in the General Policy Register that any gifts or benefits received or offered by a developer to a senior member of staff or Councillor, must be declared if valued over the amount of $50. In my view, no gifts or benefits should be accepted full stop, I have said this numerous times in the public arena and for the public record each and every time this policy has been determined for alteration or change as part of Council Meetings.
- How would you improve transparency and accountability for Counsellors and the Council?
I can only speak from my perspective, the only way you can have transparency and accountability is to ensure as an individual, I uphold the values and the requirements I promise when I make my Councillor Oath and as I am required to respect under the Local Councillor Handbook and the Local Government Act. More importantly however, there can be all the rules and requirements under the sun, but if the individual his or herself is intending to act inappropriately, the responsibility should fall on the individual to ensure they act in a full transparent and accountable manner with integrity and honesty. I believe this is me.
- Understandably, the Council needs to maintain confidentiality around some issues and be discussed in Closed Council sessions. How do you feel those Closed Council discussions impact the Council’s transparency and accountability?
No I do not, as long as all Councillors act and determine for the benefit of the community.
- Would you support a review of Chaffey dam water management?
I support anything that ensures that water in Chaffey Dam is managed intelligently and with common sense. The water in Chaffey Dam between 2016 and 2020 was not managed well, everyone who isn’t hiding underneath a rock will know that. The Water Sharing Plan must be flexible in how water is managed as water availability and water resource levels change. The NSW Government’s management of the water in Chaffey Dam has been ordinary to say the least and I hope a serious lesson has been learnt, the community will not stand for a repeat.
- What are your views on TRC pursuing alternate water sources to ensure water security, e.g. purchasing some or all of the Peel Valley licenses from those willing to sell?
It is my view that it is not Council that should be purchasing the water licenses, but it should be the NSW Government that purchases these licenses. It is not Council’s license to purchase, Council did not over allocate licenses nor does it have any responsibility over how these licenses are managed. Council can advocate on behalf of the community for a better managed use of water. In my view there is enough water in Chaffey for Tamworth and the growth of Tamworth, but only if there is a whole lot less stupidity in how this resource is managed, released and managed. The pipeline must be full time, not only in use once stores drop below 20% at Chaffey, this is another one of mindless decisions of the NSW water authority.
- Do you believe the community should be advised before the sale of community assets?
Yes, and it is, it is usually only the terms of the sale that are not made public, for obvious reasons.