City of Greater Bendigo council candidates - Lockwood ward

Greater Bendigo City Council

Lockwood Ward

Damien Irving

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

Like many, I’m frustrated with council’s performance. Council needs change. But change only happens when people are willing to put their hand up. I think it’s fantastic that there are so many candidates - the community has a great range of choice this election, there is a real chance of change happening.

What can you offer as a candidate?

My priority is to be available and approachable and to listen to the people of Bendigo, families, local businesses, clubs and groups and ensure that decision-making is reflective of what the community really wants. I’m not aligned with any political parties, I only have the community's interest in mind.

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

Listening - I think it’s the most important skill a councillor must possess. Decisions made by Council have a big impact on the lives of residents. It is vital that councillors listen to everyone’s concerns and that each concern is taken seriously and given the attention it deserves.

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

People of Bendigo and Lockwood ward have told me they want to see council focus on the basics. Residents need to see money spent where they live, such as better roads, footpaths, reliable drainage and bus shelters. If the infrastructure is there people will use it. We need more footpaths and riding tracks connecting neighbourhoods to shops, train stations etc - this will result in less reliance on cars and a healthier community.

Rate rises are hurting homeowners, and while rate rises are now capped, property prices are increasing and pushing rates up. It’s important that council do their best to keep rate rises low. I’m not going to make promises I can’t keep - and the big promise that is often broken is the promise of preventing rate rises. In reality, to avoid big increases, it requires cuts to services. This is already happening as a result of the independent review of council expenditure, which has resulted in a net saving of $4.3 million over four years. There are more non-essential services that can be cut?

Marong, Maiden Gully and Lockwood are massive growth areas. It is fundamental that the goals outlined in the community plans for these areas continue to progress.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

I’m passionate about making our city the most livable city in Australia and to inject pride back into the community. We have a beautiful city, we should all be very proud.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

Jobs - we need to continue to stimulate the local economy and grow the number of jobs. We need to continue to educate the community on the benefits of supporting local business. We also need to encourage local business to continue to evolve and adapt.

For those who served the last term, what would you have done differently?

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

No, I’m not aligned with a political party. I’ve always voted based on policies proposed.

Jennifer Alden

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

I am standing for Lockwood ward at this council election because this Council desperately needs renewal, new skills and fresh vision and I am ready to provide that. I have lived in the Lockwood ward for the past 20 years. We have enjoyed raising a family in a healthy environment.

Like many other community members I have been appalled by the damage brought to Bendigo’s reputation by the actions of some Councillors in recent years. I believe that the community deserves better.

I believe it is time for me to contribute back to my community. I am involved in extensive community engagement networks where exciting initiatives are underway in regional cities and rural towns. We have much to learn from and to be inspired by in efforts to create a vibrant and thriving Bendigo where quality of life can improve as our population expands. Understanding what is possible allows for vision and leadership to bring fresh ideas to the Council table that will allow people to reap the benefits of proper inclusive and future focused planning for our community.

What can you offer as a candidate?

I offer a fresh, progressive voice for the community. I believe that my decades of experience on committees and boards and in management roles have equipped me for the job of Councillor. My skills bridge the governance and the business aspects of Council, combined with a focus on best practice from a broad range of areas relating to community development and wellbeing.

My business involves collaboration, bringing people together to create exciting new partnerships and projects to specifically address community’s priorities for wellbeing. With a doctorate of public health I am keen to contribute substantially to Council’s Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan.

As a small business owner over many years I understand the importance of striving for a prosperous community and am interested in creating job opportunities for local residents. I offer vision, such as an idea for Bendigo to develop a sustainable housing demonstration site that would provide employment opportunities through the renewable energy and smart energy efficient housing sectors.

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

I believe the financial and governance skills required to responsibly manage the business of a Council the size of the City of Greater Bendigo are critical at this point in time. With management experience of Not For Profits, including Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, I am well versed in these matters.

The ability to engage with the community is essential. In determining who could best serve the community on the next Council it is important to bear in mind candidates’ backgrounds and activities with groups on the community. Experience in this area is one of my assets and I believe I can work with all communities to support them to create the places in which they desire to live, both in town and in our rural communities.

My interest in planning for a better Bendigo saw me attending some of the recent public open space consultations and contributing to the online forum, viewing my local area through a different lens. Some suggestions I contributed to that forum were: A Wolstencroft food garden, Spring Gully Community Orchard, Kangaroo Flat Community Garden, Golden Square Community Orchard and Therapeutic Garden.

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

Bendigo’s Urban Growth Boundary must be maintained. The development of a compact city needs great thought to avoid poorly planned developments that do not acknowledge social and environmental impacts on the community. Development is not a free-for-all at the expense of our precious green open space. There is no role for developers on Council. Ward councillors at Council meetings having to absent themselves for large parts of meetings as a consequence, due to conflict of interest, is of concern, as community representation then suffers.

Many in our community are doing it tough and I will work to make our communities healthier by supporting people in growing their own food and learning how to cook it, by reining in the influence of pokies and advocate for secure housing, all of which can influence health and wellbeing.

Rate-capping cannot be used as an excuse for Council to move out of roles such as community services for young and old or environmental services. These areas will need championing when budget allocations are made. Early years, youth and aged services are essential Council services and must be maintained. A hub for youth and an aged care service information hub are needed.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about improving access to and affordability of healthy food for everyone in the community. Our food system is not working because we have increasing waistlines and levels of obesity and poor health. Learning to grow and cook food is an important skill. Councils have a strong role in supporting backyard and community gardens, community orchards and kitchens and nature strip gardens. My experience managing an organisation that managed 20 community gardens plus school kitchen garden programs has allowed me to advocate for these to expand in Bendigo. I am keen to include the community in activities with food as a connector, making better use of facilities we already have and that contribute to health and fitness for all. Growing some of our own food is one way to lessen our environmental impact in a warming climate and as part of that free compost should be provided from the Council’s organic waste collection processing.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

We need to plan for our future communities to be ones where everyone can feel welcome and where everyone feels they can have a say in how their community looks and feels, in ways that give everyone a voice. A welcoming, fair, inclusive and diverse Bendigo will be supported by the Council’s Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Plan, on which I was a community reference group member.

All issues pale by comparison to the emerging and future impacts of global warming. We have already witnessed the fires and floods caused by the alterations to our climate. Communities need to be supported to better prepare for managing the impact of these potential disasters.

Population growth will provide opportunities to better plan for our communities, both town and rural areas. The challenge ahead will be to develop housing and community infrastructure that will allow our whole community to thrive and for people to experience an improved quality of life.

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently?

I would have handled the Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Centre issue differently. I would not have endorsed the demolition of the Leisure Centre, rather refurbish and add on in much the same way that our library in the CBD was revitalised and updated. The decision to decommission the Golden Square community pool as part of the new pool development process was a poor one and now, with an election looming, our sitting Councillors have reversed their previous decision.

I would also have looked at the length of contracts being allocated in recent times, particularly with a new Council coming in. One example of this is the seven year contract for waste management that could potentially prove problematic. When any new project is undertaken it is best practice to evaluate the outcomes and have the capacity to modify the project in light of experiences.

I would have set a more ambitious vision as part of the strategic planning for the future of the City, especially around the capacity of the City to better act to address climate change via internal actions such as divestment from fossil fuel investments, similar to councils ranging from Newcastle to Melbourne and Ballarat.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

Yes I have been a member of the Australian Greens since 1995 and am proud to be an endorsed candidate for this election, a requirement of all members of the party, in the name of transparency.

Samuel Tshisekdi

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

Bendigo needs Change. I have decided to run for council to take Christian values and the Christian voice into the core of the city’s planning and decision making.

In saying that, I am not wishing to suggest that Council elections should become sectarian contests in the same way I believe they should not be party political contests.

I simply state I am the product of a Christian heritage, am proud of the ethos and values under which I was raised and have developed and believe that these are a sound foundation for any organisation that claims the community benefit as the reason for their existence.

In the process of deciding to present myself as a council candidate in the Lockwood ward I have canvassed residents about Council, its operation, priorities and decision making processes. In this I have to say I have encountered a widespread degree of disenchantment with the turmoil in Council and the rate rises that have got out of hand. Residents are concerned about how Council operates and its level of real connection with the grassroots of the community. I think there are bridges to be built and I’m the type of person to assist that process.

What can you offer as a candidate?

I studied business management in the UK, hold a degree in Theology, speak 6 languages and am completing my BA in International Relations. My wife, a Boort farming girl, and I have settled in Bendigo to raise our family.

My command of several languages and understanding of cultural diversity and sensitivity should represent an important value and resource for the city’s engagement and presentations.

Having lived in England my firsthand experience of the immigration challenges facing Europe brings a world scale view to our region.

As a church pastor, business owner and communications consultant I have the skill and knowledge to facilitate strong relationships across the diverse range of community members and stakeholders.

I believe in building consensus and working collaboratively to promote local business, industry, community groups and education, providing pathways for employment for our youth and unemployed.

I’m passionate about engaging community discussion on all significant decisions and to a greater degree, putting the community in the driver’s seat.

I’m a ‘centrist’ which means I work hard to understand the views, experience and concerns held on both sides of any question. I will be the voice of reason, common-sense and pragmatism with strong moral values to get the people’s business done. 

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

In short I would say a good many of the qualities I’ve annunciated in answering the previous question. Local government claims to and should be the closest tier of government to the people. I’ve gained the impression however, that the community is being ‘ruled over’ rather than genuinely engaged.

Many of the ‘consultative groups’ established by Council appear to be comprised of selected community representatives and there may even be questions about the extent to which their processes are ‘guided’.

I believe an important quality for a councillor is to demonstrate the ability to make hard decisions based on such things as cost benefit analysis and sound prioritising and then be able to present the cogent reasoning that underpins that decision.

It is also important for a councillor to be of independent mind. Not to be different for the sake of difference but whilst being prepared to receive reports and guidance from relevant officers and independent organizations, also to possess not only the skills, but the will and ability to vigorously assess the value of such advice. 

Finally, I would point to the importance of having a sound degree of understanding of wider social, political and especially economic considerations.    

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

To be direct I think the job for a new councillor goes well beyond picking a numbered list of priorities.

In the current climate I certainly believe greater community consultation, transparency and accountability on all major projects must be an overarching priority.

The effective provision of services, amenities and facilities that are the traditional responsibility of local government are perhaps being overshadowed by some of the larger grander big-ticket items.

The reality for the ordinary citizen is that roads, footpaths and drainage remain at the core of everyday family living. Access for prams, young families and seniors are fundamental safety issues. Modern higher density development has meant that footpaths are only available on one side of the road. It is important that pathways, safe cycling and other sporting and recreational amenities are inherent in all new residential developments.

I want to look closely at the spread of departmental budgeting. There is some suggestion that funding for some of the core responsibilities of Council have stagnated or even declined in favour of ‘wow factor’ projects and activities. I would be confident that processes and consultation surrounding Council budgeting would show room for improvement. Lastly, adequate public transport is a significant issue.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

I mentioned it earlier and I am indeed ‘passionate’ about engaging community discussion on all significant decisions, effectively providing the pathway for putting the community in the driver’s seat.

Many facets of my life and work are about ‘communication’. I’ve in fact developed a process of communication that I have titled “The Voice of Reason”. This process is equally relevant at individual, community and business engagement levels. Cutting through modern day hype and sugar coating that dominates the presentation of important issues and drilling down to learn what is truly meaningful to people.

It is especially important that in Council we have representatives willing and able to understand and translate into policy what really meets the true needs of people.

I also aim to increase council transparency and accountability through greater public disclosure and access to information.

I am passionate about creating an environment that speaks positively about Bendigo in order to promote our region, attract businesses to our city and promote employment opportunities.

Lastly, I am passionate about fighting the issue of family violence and finding ways to stretch to incorporate those less fortunate than ourselves through community cooperation, discussion and the application of real solutions.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

When viewed in detail there are serious financial and economic issues confronting our nation and their impacts translate down even to a place like Bendigo.  I think it is very important that particularly an organisation like our local government body has a clear understanding of these challenges and develops contingency plans for a range of scenarios that if not obvious or even probable but are certainly possible.

One example would be ‘debt levels’, private, government and business. Whilst it is as I said, not a subject to engage most people and I don’t pretend to have made a detailed study, some reading of the situation suggests that debt has the potential, should it get out of hand, to have widespread repercussions on all levels of society.

I think one of the big challenges facing Bendigo is the sound management of the rapid development we are currently experiencing, so that we don’t get carried away with progress for its own sake, whilst effectively leaving behind the foundations built over generations on which our success has been based.

Understandably we like to highlight Bendigo’s ‘bling’ but we also know that like many other communities, we have our share of very concerning issues.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

I am not currently, nor in fact have I been a member of any political party. I am aware and concerned that a significant number of candidates running in these Council elections are indeed active in party politics through various manifestations.

I think this is of concern and I will be interested to see the declarations of all candidates. Whilst I feel certain those who do have political affiliations or associations, will attempt to provide a rider that they ‘are not endorsed by any Party in these elections’ and essentially expect us to believe this will not impact decisions they would make if elected to council. 

Elise Chapman

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

I am standing as a Candidate because I believe I can build on what I have achieved over the last 4 years as a Councillor for the people of the Lockwood Ward. I have enjoyed working hard for the residents on issues such as the Golden Square Pool and the Malone Park upgrade. Volunteering on a regular basis for community projects such as the Golden Square pool has shown me the importance of working side by side WITH the community can achieve great results.

What can you offer as a candidate?

I have the drive and enthusiasm to work for better outcomes for the residents of the  Lockwood Ward. Residents in Lockwood Ward need someone who cares about their issues and will fight passionately for them. I believe I can be their voice in Council. 

I am the only Lockwood Ward candidate who has successfully completed the 'Municipal Association of Victoria's, accredited  three year diploma of Local Government. In fact I am the ONLY woman in Bendigo's history to have completed this qualification. 

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

We should never forget that being a Councillor is about working FOR our residents. It’s about having a passion for improvement of services and amenities for those who live and work in our Ward as well as having a plan for the future.  As a former business owner and a ratepayer in the Lockwood Ward, I have a very sound understanding of the needs of people in the Lockwood Ward. 

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

The top three issues for the Lockwood Ward and the City of Greater Bendigo are:

I have a list of 50 issues across the Lockwood Ward that I will be advocating for. See my Facebook Page for a full list of issues and pledges. I have chosen three random issues as I believe all 50 are important.

1.       To have a Council we can trust to deliver real outcomes for residents rather than focusing on political agendas and social engineering;

2.       Better, more efficient and sustainable waste management services;

3.       Better services and healthcare for the elderly, children and disabled.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about Waste Management and seeing Bendigo become a leader in Waste Management in Central Victoria. I believe by having a ‘Waste to Energy’ plant in Bendigo, we can not only reduce our own waste, but can create employment in our region and become a processing centre for smaller outlying towns as well.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

The biggest challenge facing Bendigo is to have a Council that is focussed on delivering VALUE in services to the residents. I do not believe that the current Council has been focussed on delivering what residents want and expect from their Council. 

Councils should NOT be involved in social engineering and should maintain a balanced political position. 

Council should be focussed on delivering better roads, footpaths, waste management, services for the elderly, working with our youth,  and community healthcare, planning for growth and making Bendigo the great place that it can be the future.

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently? For those who served the last term, what would you have done differently?

As a new Councillor elected in 2012, I naively believed that Councillors were always presented with the full, impartial and balanced facts before being expected to make important decisions. 

I have come to learn that is not always the case and that not all Councillors or Council officers are always working with the best interests of the wider community at heart.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

 Yes, I am a member of Pauline Hanson's One Nation, political party. 

Jan Pagliaro

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

People often have a lot to say including myself on how council should be run. So instead of complaining and doing nothing about the problems and issues in Council, I decided to become part of the solution and put my hat in the ring to become a councillor.

What can you offer as a candidate?

I have worked in the disability and aged care sector for 12 years so have a deep insight into our most vulnerable and disadvantaged. I will always ask the question how does the decisions council are making effect our most vulnerable. I don't have any agendas except to see that the rate payers and people of Bendigo's are being represented and their rates aren't being squandered. I believe in regular meetings and interaction with the public will help council in making better informed decisions.

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

A good councillor is one who serves and believes in taking care of the community.

He/ or she must remember that they are elected by the residents to represent their interests in council.

A councillor must be prepared to listen. They need to be in touch with the people and keep them informed of any decisions being made in their ward.

Above all a good councillor is there to serve the people not their own agendas.

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

My three top priorities in my ward.

1. Roads and footpaths.

There are many areas in Lockwood wood ward that don't have footpaths, roads with large pot holes, roads that are only 3/4 finished and the list is endless.

Could you imagine the central business district of Bendigo having to put up with pot holes, no footpaths or unfinished roads. I don't think so.

2. Happy Jacks

Lockwood is a small thriving community that doesn't have a milk bar or grocery store that the people can attend. I believe in helping the owner of happy Jack to reopen again.

It would benefit passing trade and be greet meeting place for the local community.

3. Golden Square needs to stay open.

The pool is totally run by volunteers. It has gone from 1500 patrons 2 years ago to 18,000 patrons last year. What a wonderful effort.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

I'm passionate about the rate payers and people of Bendigo having their say on what happens with their money. Regular meetings need to be held for public participation.

In council affairs. That council utilises all small business in Bendigo not just a small portion of them.

When the next big exhibition comes to town $1 from every ticket sold could be given to our various charities in Bendigo.

I would like to see some Youth mentoring programmes to help get our youth of the street and give them a hope and future, to help break the homeless cycle they find themselves in.

Rates to be kept at a minimum as so many of our elderly and young families are finding it very difficult to make ends meet. I have spoken to people who are having to help their families with food as a large amount of their loved ones money is going on fortnightly payments to council for rates.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

Biggest issue facing Bendigo in the future is the new councillors having to try balance the next budget due to the overspending by this current council.

The continuous waste of tax payers money by council.

Keeping people out of Local government who have political agendas as they will be serving the party line not the people.

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently? For those who served the last term, what would you have done differently?

N/A

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

I'm not involved or affiliated with any political party. Politics needs to be kept out of Local government.

George Egan

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

I believe that the council needs a wide variety of community members to represent the entire community not just special interest groups or political parties. I have grown up, been educated and raised my family in Bendigo and want to ensure Bendigo continues to be a country city that provides services to the community and is a desirable place to live.

The Greater City Of Bendigo is now a larger area and we cannot just assume that the rules that apply to the CBD will fit the rural areas of the community.  The councillors must represent different regions, opinions and goals of their  communities but they must all be able to work together to deliver a result for all members of the community.

I want to ensure that the Greater City of Bendigo continues to provides services to all residents but allow residents (especially those in need) without imposing ideals.

What can you offer as a candidate?

What I offer as a candidate I offer my experiences as a community member, as someone that has raised a family in Bendigo and as a small business owner in Bendigo.

With growing up in Bendigo and with raising a family in Bendigo I see the value of open parklands where we can just explore nature and the value of community sporting facilities to engage everyone in a wide variety of sports. We are very luck in the Greater City of Bendigo that we have large open spaces, treed areas as well as active cities.

As a small business man I see the need ensure the council works within it’s Budget and does not impose costs on residents above CPI. If business and households have to work within their income then we must ensure the council does the same.

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

Each councillor must be able to recognise their strengths and weaknesses and recognise them in the other members of the council to deliver the best outcome for the community. We do not need each councillor to be great in all areas but they must be able to work together to deliver the best result overall. Councillors must use their experiences to evaluate all decisions they must make to ensure they benefit all members of the community and apply fairly to the entire community.

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

I am not going into the role with predefined priorities or key actions. What I am offering is to make decisions based on the benefit to local residents, local community groups and local businesses. They key items I will use to make my decisions are:

1.       Benefits to the local residents

2.       Benefit to local businesses

3.       Local Employment

4.       Cost impact on residents

5.       Consistency to previous decisions we have made to ensure we are fair to all residents.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

Care of our elderly, sick and disadvantaged.

Jobs for local residents especially jobs for our young members of the community.

Ensuring that the region has public spaces and facilities that allow families and all residents enjoy their local community and that publicly funded facilities are open to all members of the community.

Ensure that Bendigo has its own identity and that we do not try to become another Melbourne. We need to support our local business, shops and organisations. We need allow residents to be control of their own destiny and not rely on or imposed on by the council. The best council is one that provides services but the community does try to be visible or get acclamation for doing it.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

Ensure that we treat all community members in a fair and just way and respect all opinions in an equal a manner.  The council must work within budget and ensure they do not impose financial impost above the CPI on community members. Where possible the council should support local business (from small business through to larger businesses) both through there directions but also directly through their contracts.

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently? For those who served the last term, what would you have done differently?

As well as representing the community the council represents the city to the outside world so once a decision is make to must present a committed and unified persona. The appearance of the council over the past 4 years has not be one of harmony and that is what I would not want to continue.

As I was not on the council I am not going to comment on the individual decisions made I am not going to make statements on choices that were made when I do not have access to the information behind the decision that the council members made their decision based on. I would say is that I want the decisions made to be fair and consistent to all members of the community and not favour one business type of special interest group.  I also want decisions to be open to visible to the public whenever possible.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

No I have not and I do not think local council is a place for political parties as councillors are elected as individual members not as members of a party which is the case for state and federal elections.

John Cooper

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

I have been helping people for 20+ years, and have been volunteering in the Bendigo community since late 2011. In mid 2011 I separated from the mother of my son and needed help getting back on my feet. Victory Church helped me out, and not long after that I started volunteering with them, helping them make food hampers every school week at both their Strathdale and CBD locations. We still make 20-40 hampers every week.

I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in April 2012 and by mid 2012 Haven helped me create a support group at the Eaglehawk Community House for autistic adults. We now meet every Tuesday afternoon at Bendigo Autism & Advocacy Support Services at 125 wills st. We have a Facebook page -fb.me/ASAPBendigo – where anyone can find out more about ASAP.

I have volunteered at ECH since 2012, helping out with their gardening program and performing some maintenance tasks as required.

I donate (blood) plasma every two weeks & I visit the elderly in nursing homes every week.

I love helping people whenever I can. I want to help more people, and going on council is an extension of my existing community involvement.

What can you offer as a candidate?

I have a determination to get things done. I'm not interested in seemingly endless debates that do nothing but waste time and money. Much better to negotiate, compromise and get on with life. I have lived in poverty and wealth in Melbourne, Brisbane, Oslo and regional areas of Victoria, Queensland & Norway. I've met a broad range of people from incredibly diverse backgrounds, including refugees who have suffered horribly under awful regimes. I can see past the trauma people have suffered and appreciate the person who has survived.

I have a wealth of life experiences that will help me to negotiate quickly with others to reach an outcome that benefits all of Bendigo I embrace diversity and see a difference of opinion as an opportunity to grow, not a time to exchange blows.

I am an independent candidate representing multiple minorities: Autism, homelessness, LGBTQIA+, non custodial parent. I have an intimate knowledge of what it is like to be excluded because of a difference you can't do anything about. I have had experience running my own business, which was slightly hindered by my desire to help people have great properties rather than make a profit.

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

The ability to listen to what the citizens of Bendigo want and to negotiate for that on council, coupled with a vision for a happier, healthier and more inclusive society. Councillors need to have an understanding of the needs of others and a willingness to negotiate for the best outcome for all in society. Councillors also need to accept they come to these negotiations with a wish list that can't be 100% ticked off. We also need to be willing to advocate for Bendigo to state and federal government.

We need to plan for sustainable growth while respecting the natural and man made icons of the past. For example, any tree older than the gold rush should be looked after and respected with the same level of reverence we have for the iconic buildings of the gold rush. People move their homes and businesses to Bendigo because we are not like Melbourne. All development needs to be considerate of the need to maintain difference to Melbourne. Therefore councillors need to be mindful of what developments they approve

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

1. Public transport

Council has no control over public transport, but we can influence accessibility. There also needs to be planning to include bus routes to & into new areas of development, with stops near community facilities such as schools, shops & medical centres. Train stations on bus routes in Marong, Big Hill, Myers Flat & Golden Square would be good too.

2. Public Recreation.

More people need to be encouraged to use open spaces in ways they enjoy. Free open air concerts for local musicians of all persuasions would be a wonderful way to get the community engaged again. Council needs to listen to what people want and provide ways to make that happen. We need safe bike-ways with safe road crossings throughout the ward. If VicRoads won't build bike lanes on their roads, we need to utilise the road easements to create safe, well lit bike-ways. All new developments need to consider and accommodate all road users too.

3. Full utility connection.

Some developed areas of Lockwood are not on the sewer, storm-water or gas systems. This needs to change quickly in order to improve the quality of life of citizens and enable diverse development.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

The issues I'm most passionate about are ethnic & religious diversity, as well as good quality of life for all.

Bendigo has benefited immensely over its lifetime from being a town filled with migrants from other parts of Australia and other countries. In the time of the gold rush we had people coming from all over the planet. Many tried their luck, failed, and stayed put anyway, creating new businesses along the way.

More religious buildings around Bendigo will encourage a greater diversity of people to live and operate businesses here, as well as respecting the religious diversity we already have. Right now Bendigo largely only caters for Christendom and Buddhists. Soon we will have a mosque. It stands to reason if we seek to accommodate many different faiths we will have a greater diversity in Bendigo, and this will strengthen our great city. All faiths need to be welcomed in Bendigo.

Our quality of life in Lockwood can be improved with better infrastructure. More sealed roads with gutters and good drainage, connection to basic utilities like gas and sewerage, as well as improved recreational options, both seasonal and all year long.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

Traffic isn't being adequately planned for. New areas are being developed ahead of roads being able to cater for the growth, resulting in traffic snarls. We need to learn from bigger cities and plan smarter as we grow out and up. Right now if we wanted to duplicate the highway from Big Hill to Huntly, the only way would be to build on top of the railway line. This would give everyone the CBD routes they want, but would be incredibly expensive as it would mean over 20km of raised roads!

Tourism. We need a big ticket tourist icon. Not a clone of Ballarat or the Gold Coast. Something bigger and better and unique. A native animal sanctuary for example.

We also need businesses to stop using Melbourne based contractors to perform construction or maintenance tasks. Innovative companies building new products ought to be encouraged into Bendigo. It's no good planning for a population of 150,000 if you're not going to educate and employ them.

The water in the mines also needs to be addressed, and perhaps utilised within Bendigo. If we do nothing, we sink. It's not just about saving the Deborah mine. All of Bendigo is at stake.

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently?

Greater transparency about everything. More respect for the environment when approving development. Evergreen estate is partially built on a floodplain and houses are sinking. Giant trees have been removed across Bendigo. These trees survived the gold rush and are at least as important as Fortuna Villa and other icons of the gold rush. I would have fought for development to be built around accessible communities that respected the environment that was here before us. People move to the city in the forest, not the city in the shrubs.

Forming & participating in movements against council decisions is not the way forward. Councillors must negotiate for the citizens and respect the outcomes of a transparent process of debating. Councillors need to look after the people of Bendigo first, not themselves or their mates.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

In 2012 I joined the Wikileaks party, however my membership lapsed. I am now an active & paid up member of the Australian Sex Party (ASXP). In this council election I am running as an independent as ASXP focus more on state and federal issues, however the core principle of the party comes through to council level in the form of respect for the rights & responsibilities of the individual. ASXP believe we are strengthened by diversity and a respect for all genders, sexualities, religious beliefs and cultural identity. I believe we should include people from diverse backgrounds into a cohesive, vibrant community that makes everyone proud to be called a Bendigonian.

Vaughan Williams

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

As a resident of Bendigo, becoming a Councillor is an opportunity to listen to the people, act on the real needs of the community, and support a more financially sustainable future for the next generation of Bendigonians. Bureaucracy seems to have gotten in the way and it’s time for change. As a prospective Councillor my focus is on transparency and accountability to the elected council officers and council employees alike.  Having a sound understanding of the mechanics of Council allows me to have clear focus and direction.

Also, to bring about this change in the Bendigo Council so:

That citizens really do have a direct say in Council decisions by engaging and seeking community input before a council officer report is forwarded to council for consideration.

To really listen to my constituents and vigorously represent THEIR views on Council.

Play my part in advocating in the best interests of the municipality within best value principles.

What can you offer as a candidate?

 As a candidate in the upcoming elections I offer 20+ years of business experience, including 3 years as Business Development Manager for the Brisbane City Council, displaying a diverse knowledge of large and small business needs.  I have a clear understanding of Council business practices and a vision for an expanding and sustainable future for Bendigo.

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

The qualities that are of paramount importance for a good Councillor to best serve their community is a sound understanding of what is needed in the community by being a good listener, someone who sees future directions for a broad range of industry sectors, community events and sustainable living for families and stands firm on seeing those visions come to fruition.

The three top priorities for the Lockwood Ward are:

 1.    Reduce Council expenditure on salaries, increase Council income from Business Units so that Council budget expenditure increases and Residential Rate increases do not to exceed CPI.

2.    Economic Development Strategy to include all industry sectors, not just health and tourism related industries.

3.      Genuine community engagement. Encouraging Community Ownership.  Open the conversation to the community, Bendigo is built on great ideas.

4.      Footpaths, drainage upgrades and better road maintenance are high priorities. (Had to add a fourth as it is a high priority.)

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

The issue that I am most passionate about facing the Bendigo Community is financial sustainability by increasing business and jobs growth spreading the revenue collection across the larger community.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

I feel some of the biggest challenges facing the new council for the coming term is dealing with pre-existing budget commitments, balancing the old and the new for the consideration of a more financially adaptable future. I feel that keeping a non-politicized council for Bendigo and open communications with the executive will be a challenge for the next term. Creating solutions to better spending.

Rates versus expansion and living within our needs

Finding new and innovative sources of income for the Council.

Council residential and housing strategies

Economic development and Employment for a population of 200,000

Education and recreational needs

Road networks and future traffic problems

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently? For those who served the last term, what would you have done differently?

If I had of been a Councillor in the last term, my focus would have been on financial accountability giving more concern to the future beyond the 4 year term, community engagement and the needs of the community and transparency by the council elect in decision making.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

I have never been aligned with a political party

Matt Emond

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

I am running because I believe it’s important that the Bendigo community has a strong representative on Council who will put community first.  My family has lived in Bendigo for five generations and I moved back to Bendigo because I love our community and what our city offers.  I grew up in Spring Gully and have experienced the importance of supporting the needs of our local community and community organisations. The strength of Bendigo is reflected in the strength of our community. This is the Bendigo I grew up in, it is the Bendigo my grandparents were proud to be a part of and it is the best of Bendigo we should aspire to in the future.

What can you offer as a candidate?

I will work hard to be a voice of reason to drive solid economic and social development for our community.

I have worked in some Australia’s leading health, education and creative industries in the past 20 years and he can attribute every opportunity that I have been given from the lessons I learnt growing up in Bendigo.

I currently sit on the Golden Dragon Museum Board, the Victorian Actors Benevolent Trust (supporting the needs of professional actors during times of hardship), Catholic Education Sandhurst Council for the Arts and is a member of the City of Greater Bendigo Brass band.

I have completed an Executive Master of Arts that was developed in consultation with arts, government, corporate and community sectors to tackle contemporary leadership challenges. 

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

I love Bendigo and the values it taught me of hard work, getting the job done, experience, decency, respect and cohesion.  These are the qualities I believe are important for a councilor. 

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

Increase needed funding to the SES.  SES has an operational shortfall.  Council contributed $14,500, which is matched by the State government.  The cost of operation in 2016 is estimated to be $48,000.  The SES should not have to look for another $19,000 themselves.  SES volunteers are always there to support the Bendigo community in response to storm, flood, land search and road crash rescue. Our Council budget is healthy.  Where we spend it reflects our priorities and what we value for our community.  I value the SES.

Council services provided in an efficient and cost effective manner.  HACC services will be on the agenda for the incoming Council.  We need to ensure the service remains in-house so the care of our most vulnerable is not left to private companies with profit imperatives.  Council must listen to community and our community wants HACC services to be operated by Council.  Working together we can achieve this responsibly.

Fighting for Lockwood Ward’s fair share of roads funding.  It’s great there are plans to fix Edwards Road.  Other roads along the Calder Alternative Hwy requiring immediate action include Sparrowhawk Rd, Olympic Parade, Monsants Rd, Rathbones Ln, Schumakers Ln and Wicks Rd.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

Attracting more jobs for Bendigo.  Australian industries are changing.  We need to ensure that Bendigo continues to grow and support business and attracts new growth industries that can deliver local jobs and contracts for locals first. 

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

The greatest challenge for the next Council is working out the priority list.

Council has a large budget.  It is about priorities and I believe council has more scope to be putting community first.  We need to put the Greater back into Bendigo.

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently? For those who served the last term, what would you have done differently?

I would have worked with decency, respect and cohesion.  I will bring these values to Council.  Seeking to understand before being understood is a value that would serve our Council well.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

Australian Labor Party

Barry Lyons

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

I am standing again as a candidate for the Lockwood Ward hopefully to continue my role as a councillor making consistent common sense decisions on behalf of the citizens of Bendigo.

What can you offer as a candidate?

I offer my time and experience as a career businessman, common sense approach and recent experience as a councillor with roles in Audit and finance, tourism, manufacturing and economic development and most other aspects of the City of Greater Bendigo as it grows and develops.

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

Priorities are Marong and Maiden Gully residential growth ( planning- recreational needs – bike and walking paths etc) and a good hard look at how we improve our management of our very large and important Rural area in the Lockwood Ward.  

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

The challenges and my passions are very similar. Population increase and the consequences. Housing (affordable and accessible) and the employment needed to sustain this expected growth. Council has to be at the forefront in planning and enabling business to set up thrive and employ.

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently? For those who served the last term, what would you have done differently?

Would I do things differently in retrospect, probably not. I have only 1 vote out of 9 but have always been a strong advocate for majority decisions with balanced and sensible outcomes.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

Currently I am not a member of any political party but have supported my son Jack in his endeavours.

Rod Fyffe

Why are you standing as a candidate in the City of Greater Bendigo council election?

I am standing because I am passionate about the Lockwood, and Bendigo,  community and their families. Bendigo has been thriving over the last few years and now we have momentum to build on that to deliver jobs, opportunities and a better life for all, this momentum we have can be easily stalled if the wrong Council decisions are made.

What can you offer as a candidate?

My background as a secondary school teacher has given me skills of working with people to achieve their goals, being able to listen to community concerns, and being able to think through the problems.

As an experienced Councillor I can bring a deeper knowledge of the way Council works to enable people and the community to thrive. It is important to have experienced Councillors with new Councillors to achieve a balance of making progress.

Now retired from teaching I can devote myself full time to local Government work and working for the community.

What qualities do you believe are important for a councillor?

Being a Councillor I think the qualities needed include, being able to listen to the broader community being able to think strategically being flexible so that you don’t become fixed on a narrow range of issues specifically if the majority of Councillors have decided a different course of action being able to work with other Councillors and the community to achieve the best result, and; being alert to opportunities for advancing the City.

What are your three top priorities for your ward, and why?

With Lockwood being quite diverse there are different priorities in different areas including; Mandurang need safe intersections Kangaroo Flat needs drainage, beautification and the implementation of of a number of strategies, e.g. Gateway Park Strategy Maiden Gully needs safer connections to the Calder Highway and between different parts of the suburb, this includes footpaths and bike paths; Marong needs it’s Structure Plan and developer contributions plan  and for it to be implemented; Lockwood South need a community store like Happy Jacks , and I am very happy to continue to support the community run the Golden Square pool.

Council needs to continue to invest in footpaths, road maintenance, and providing opportunities for residents and businesses to grow and provide jobs.

We need to continue to invest in our physical and social infrastructure so that people and communities become more resilient and are able to determine their style and outcomes.

What issue in our community are you most passionate about?

My overriding passion is to see our community continue to thrive. We are in a great position to capitalise on opportunities that come our way and to create our own opportunities.

What are the biggest challenges facing greater Bendigo?

There are a number of challenges that we face going forward. Some of them are in the social areas e.g. drugs and addictions, affordable housing/rent. Others are making sure we keep recreational opportunities for growing communities and not be playing “catch up”.

Jobs are a concern for me. We need to create the opportunities for the jobs of the future especially the service sector jobs. We need to work with State and Federal Government to see this happen.

Council needs to continue to work smarter, more creativity and strategically. Tightening resources and the communities rising expectations are a real challenge going forward.

If you were a councillor during the last term, what would you have done differently? For those who served the last term, what would you have done differently?

Over the last 4 years Council has made real progress with strategies, physical infrastructure, continued progress to reduce the backlog of drainage issues and footpaths. We have had an external review and have incorporated those learnings.

It is disappointing that these have not been highlighted  more as opposed to some of the negative actions of a small minority.

Are you, or have you ever been, aligned with a political party? If so, which?

No.