My Mission for the
City of Greater Bendigo
Imagine if we made Local Government sexy.
Or if voting was a cool thing to do.
One of the biggest problems we have locally is consistent with most Local Councils in Australia. No one knows what it is, who we are, what we do, why we do it nor how. Local Government is the forgotten hybrid engine always running and the only time you realise it’s there is when something’s gone wrong.
From talking with residents over the last 14 years, most of the political noise comes from both ends of the political spectrum but the majority don’t actually contribute to the conversation. They are stuck in the middle, content with the status quo and they really only weigh in when asked to. Or told to. And who can blame them. If you’re happy, why rock the boat?
But. Imagine if more people cared. Imagine if more people were invested in our local community. The more engaged and informed our constituents are the stronger we are as a region. And if we can maximise that sentiment, the better off the City of Greater Bendigo will be. (I sound like an idealistic twat)
How do we make this happen though?
It starts with Leadership. But for years it hasn’t changed in Bendigo. Yeah, some faces have changed however the way we’ve been led hasn’t. My fear is that whenever stagnation sets in, that’s when we start seeing negative signs (eg. stunted growth, ageing population, disenchanted youth). That’s why we’re always encouraged to continue self-educating after school so we can continually grow and change as our society does. But has our Leadership grown? Has it changed? Or has it stagnated? Have our Leaders represented a correct understanding of our community?
I’m not saying their understanding hasn’t served us well to this point but what I am saying is that we’re on the brink of a time where our Leadership needs to change.
And I believe I represent that change.
The number one priority for Bendigo moving forward is Jobs!
Bendigo’s growing and quickly at that. We need be on the front foot to make sure our growth is healthy. Currently our unemployment rate is at 4.6% and even more shockingly our youth unemployment is at 18.3%. Jobs stimulates our local economy and supports our residents.
A business park is where we start. Obviously the first attempt at one was butchered however that doesn’t change our need for one. We need to get the ball rolling.
The Central Business District.
Most people want to talk about the Hargreaves Mall however I’d argue most of people’s frustrations with the Mall are consistent for the whole CBD.
Issues that need addressing in the CBD:
• The Hargreaves Mall
• Antisocial behaviour
• Shop vacancy
• Public transport
The heart of Bendigo is in its CBD and its about time we bring its hearts back to life.
Bendigo’s governing area is not like Geelong and Ballarats. Their budgets are similar when considering the population however we govern more space than both of them combined. (Message to the State, that’s bullshit!) This leaves us with a greater challenge of where to spend our money.
We cannot let our smaller communities be forgotten.
One thing I love about our regional communities is the sense of togetherness they hold. They still know who their neighbours are and who in among them can achieve what when needed.
This strength is what I want to encourage and grow! These communities are often also forgotten when it comes to basic infrastructure.
We’ve started great examples within Bendigo (example: The Spring Gully creek path connecting the Ewing Park and Wolstencroft Reserve developments). Let’s start creating footpaths and upgrading the roads in our rural communities to facilitate and grow what makes them so great already!
When talking to businesses and residents, often what they need aren’t the responsibility of Council but I want to start holding the State and Federal Government accountable for its responsibilities to our residents.
A train service that is quick and reliable, phone and internet services that are fast and consistent and getting control of the constant raise in electricity prices. These are just a few things that many residents need to make their day to day life easier. And they deserve these things.
We have a landfill that’s life expectancy is about to end. And we haven’t a REAL solution to deal with our waste moving forward.
Council introduced a green bin 4 years ago and State government want to bring in a fourth bin. This all means an increase of rates. Not to mention we don’t have hard rubbish pick ups. Bandaids on an open wound do not work!
My answer? A Waste to Energy plant!
These aren’t the incineration plants of the 90’s. These are energy producing, waste dealing, money making infrastructures that could put us ahead of anyone in the state. Not to mention, make money off all the other councils in who have the same waste predicament as ourselves. Bendigo has considered it in the past, it’s time for it to be put back on the agenda again!
In 2016, the community wanted change and its what we got. But aside from 7 (of 9) new faces representing us, we ended up with a familiar feeling across the next 4 years. That’s not the change people wanted.
What I bring to the table is some energy and exuberance. Why does the impression of our Councillors have to be sullen and stern. After all, that’s not what our community is.
Our community is exciting and fun. Professional but still a little bit cheeky. It’s time we were represented in such a way
Social media. Its apart of our world and as a Councillor we need to be using it. We’re currently navigating a world-wide pandemic that asks our community to be physically distant with each other. It’s also a time for leadership. Social media is a perfect tool and yet none of our current Councillors took advantage of it to support our community.
I am who I am. I am professional when I need to be but I love to relax and have fun when I can. But through it all I stay honest to who I am.
Now that honesty can come in blunt, direct interactions but it can also come in the form of in-depth, detailed responses. People often receive varied experiences with myself however that is usually dependant on the context, the participants and the desired outcomes.
What everyone receives is me. And no bullshit.
Frustration often comes from a lack of understanding. And a lack of understanding often comes from a lack of knowledge. I will be the link between the community and City of Greater Bendigo.
A key part of being this link is staying involved with our community. We need to be IN and OF the community. Staying involved and engaged opens up a personal connection to the members of the community and with this connection we can make the easy decisions quickly and the hard decisions compassionately.
Often Council make decisions on plans and strategies that look 20 years ahead. These decisions are often made easier because of this time frame. But I don’t think they should be easy decisions.
But. I’ll be honest. I have a conflict of interest in this matter. I’m only thirty and in 20 years time, I’ll still be impacted by the decisions I’d be making now. It’s the best conflict of interest there is can be. It makes voting on our future more compelling and makes some of these ‘easy decisions’ a lot harder. What it does mean is that I represent a relevant part of the community and that’s not currently the case.
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