Councillor concerns

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 31-Dec-2015

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It’s great to see candidates coming forward for the 2016 local government elections. 

The major role of councillors is to develop a four year council plan and its annual budget, introduce new long term strategies and policy which will shape Greater Bendigo for many years ahead and to represent constituents who elect councillors to advocate for their particular needs. 

Councillors have a responsibility to lead Greater Bendigo so that it thrives and prospers and to develop services, jobs and healthy lifestyles and to make sure it is all sustainable going into the future.

Aspirations of becoming a councillor need to be based on experience in financial management, having a vision for Greater Bendigo that is inclusive and innovative thinking that will give our city a competitive advantage. 

While there is much debate about rate rises, priority projects and the level of service provided, among many other issues, arguments of substance need to be developed in the best interest of the whole community. 

While personal beliefs might influence a particular councillor’s argument they do not strengthen it. 

Substance in a debate means analysing all the issues, providing possible alternatives and after doing so, you come to a conclusion that this is the best way forward for the whole community. 

It takes most councillors about 30 hours per week in preparation and research, in attending meetings and consulting with the community.

In public life you should not aim to gain financially and you cannot afford to take anything personally. 

As a credible elected representative you put everything that can be termed personal to one side and have your full focus on what benefits the community. 

I believe personalising issues and debates only serves personal interests and as a result deflects from a productive outcome. 

You can not be a councillor one minute and then a private citizen the next. 

As an elected representative you are always representing the community. 

That does not mean that a councillor cannot speak out on issues. 

It makes for a healthy debate when alternative outcomes are presented.

 We live in changing times and it is responsible that the state government raises the issues of reform and a rates cap. 

The Local Government Act has not been reviewed for 26 years and the whole community’s ability to pay rate rises must be taken into consideration. 

As for the experience of candidates there is time for them to become familiar with many of the issues confronting council which will complement their list of skills they already possess. 

But leave your personal baggage at home.

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