Over the last year I’ve been talking to a lot of people about the Council. The repeated message is that people want the Council to change. I am working with the Labor team to work towards that change. This is my vision for what the Council could look like after September 2021, and we have Labor and like-minded councillors sitting around the Council table.
The Council will aim for co-operation rather than competition.
It is likely that no grouping in the new Council will have a majority. This is good. Council works best when we work together to get a good result, rather than compete to force our solution on the rest. This does not mean there won’t be debate, but the debate will be on how to get a good result rather than winning a point.
Cooperation builds a sense that we are working for a common goal, which builds a stronger community. It is difficult to co-operate if some feel they are being left out. As we work together, we will see a stronger and more resilient community.
The Council will encourage all voices to be heard.
If only powerful voices are heard, that is not a co-operative environment.
Labor Councillors will work with those:
- whose experience tells them that they will not be heard. We will make a point of hearing their voice and building confidence that they will be heard and respected.
- who are too busy or distracted by their own lives to have a voice at the Council. We will build ways to make it easier to have their voice heard. This could be by bringing the council to those people rather than expecting that they come to the council. We can use other methods of communication which allow much easier contact with the council.
The Council will spread resources more equitably across the community.
When all voices are heard, it enables the Council to get a clear understanding of where the resources available to the community can best be used. This means that it is not only those with the loudest voices or who have easy access to politicians get access to resources. We also hear the voices of the poor, the dispossessed and the downtrodden, and we work with them to get the resources they need so they can also live the bountiful life we should all expect.
The Council will work in an open environment.
If the council is to work co-operatively, not only with our Councillor colleagues, but also the community, we need an environment that encourages debate and sharing of ideas and concerns. We cannot achieve that if the community feels that the Council is isolated from them.
One of the bridges between the Council and the community is the media. We need a strong media that can communicate what the Council is doing, so we get community involvement. A strong media also keeps the Council honest- the council needs to have its activities scrutinised, as this keeps it accountable to the community. If the community sees that the Council is accountable, members are more likely to feel comfortable about making their own views known.
The Council will welcome new ideas, which improve our Shire. This includes questioning the status quo, and where needed, making change.
New ideas and new approaches always have an element of risk, and this leads to uncertainty. We cannot be sure that the path we take will lead to the outcomes we hope for.
As Councillors, we need to have the humility to say that we do not have all the answers. We need to have the courage to ask others to assist us as we explore new approaches, and we need the persistence to carry through with what we started.
Labor Councillors will
- seek advice from experts in the fields the Council is considering, including from State and Federal Governments and . We seek the best advice, not politics or opinions.
- welcome input from residents who are not sitting at the councillors table, as there is wisdom in the community that the councillors can tap into which can enhance the decision making of the Council.
- make it easy for the community to put their views to Council by enhancing public forums, as well as including residents in some of the Council decision making.
- be prepared to take calculated risks. We will need to have skills and knowledge available to us, to make these calculations.
- use and develop the Councillors’ skills to access the information required to assess new ideas and approaches.
- be prepared to work with uncertainty.
I am looking forward to being part of Eurobodalla Council that is in partnership with the community it serves. If I am elected Mayor, and we have a strong presence of like-minded councillors, we can build a shire that is forward looking, confident of itself, and able to take on the challenges which will confront us in the years to come.