Mayoral candidate David Grace said today he was proud so many Eurobodalla voters supported Labor, its local policies and its commitment to an open and accountable council in the race to the 4 December elections.

“I am proud of Labor’s commitments to community engagement, to the environment, and its focus on issues like small business recovery, housing and jobs,” Mr Grace said. “Eurobodalla Labor for Council can provide a genuine community voice on council, backed up by a network of members and supporters active in towns, villages and communities across the shire.

“All of the candidates in the 4 December elections should acknowledge their party associations and not hide behind ‘independent’ because that label is highly misleading, if not downright inaccurate,” he added.

Mr Grace was echoing the recent online comments of long-time Moruya Labor branch stalwart Don Macdonald who questioned the mantra some espouse that ‘party politics have no place in local government’.

“We buy our groceries locally, we call the local electrician when things go wrong, we eat at your restaurant or café, we go to your gym, we use multiple services locally, we belong to various community groups, and we support local charities and not for profits,” Mr Macdonald said. “Our children and grandchildren attend local schools and belong to various clubs and organisations.

“In fact, in every way we support community, interact in many ways including being ‘your’ friend. So why does all that not matter when it comes to our political affiliations?

“What does it matter if we belong or identify with a political party? Please don’t use that overused excuse that party politics have no place in local government.

“That was dead and buried with this last council whose make-up was supposed to be ‘died in the wool’ Independents – and what a disaster since, where we’ve been left with a council in so much debt, a backhoe couldn’t dig it out.

“I am proud to be Labor!” Mr Macdonald added.

In fact, a Labor mayor in Eurobodalla with a range of political interests represented in the other councillors would not only be good for the shire, but good for its relations with the NSW and federal governments, whatever their political persuasions.

“The argument – ‘we need an Independent to get along with other governments’ — shows a shallow and naïve appreciation for how the political system in Australia operates,” Mr Grace said “where pork barrelling and favouritism are not the basis for the cooperative and shared responsibility elected representatives have for the people they represent.

Fiona Phillips, a federal Labor MP and Kristy McBain another federal Labor MP for the south coast, work very well with the current state MPs, Andrew Constance and John Barilaro, both of whom represent the Liberal and National parties respectively and are standing down from state politics.

“Just because there are different shades of political inclination in the state and/or federal spheres does not in any way affect the collective commitment to good, transparent and accountable government, which means equal access to grants; adequate Budget support for health, education, emergency services and business development (among many elements of funding); and the promotion of Eurobodalla as a place to live, a place to visit and a place to invest,” he said.

The Labor candidates in addition to David Grace are Maureen Searson, Matthew Findlay, Claire McAsh, Deirdre Russack and Jack Egan.

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