Democracy for Dinner - Candidate Questionnaire
*Note: Max Lesser declined to complete the survey as he is a sitting councillor.
1. Name three top three priorities for Mount Alexander Shire
|Action on climate change||X||X||X|
|Paths, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure||X||X||X||X|
|Opportunities for youth||X|
|Community voice and engagement||X|
|Supporting local businesses||X||X||X|
|Recovering from COVID-19||X||X||X|
|Other||Improved youth and mental health services||Health and wellbeing||Health and Well-being|
2. Other Questions & Answers
|Bill Maltby||Hans Paas||Toby Heydon||Susan Mayfair||Rosie Annear||Stacey Raselli||Keppel Cassidy||Glenn Sutherland||Michael Johnston||Gary McClure|
|How would you assess the current level of rates levied in Castlemaine?||Too high||Too high||It's not that simple||Too high||It's not that simple||Too high||It's not that simple||About right||It's not that simple||Too high|
|How important are visitors from outside our Shire to our community and economy?||Very important||Very important||Extremely important||Extremely important||Extremely important||Extremely important||Very important||Extremely important||Extremely important||Extremely important|
|How important is it for Mount Alexander Shire to commit to actions which contribute to tackling climate change?||Very important||Extremely important||Extremely important||Extremely important||Extremely important||Very important||Extremely important||Very important||Extremely important||Extremely important|
|How serious an issue is access to housing and housing affordability in Mount Alexander Shire?||Very serious||Extremely serious||Extremely serious||Extremely serious||Extremely serious||Extremely serious||Extremely serious||Very serious||Extremely serious||Somewhat serious|
|Which of the following should be Council's highest priority for waste management?||Annual/biannual hard rubbish collection||Improving the amount and effectiveness of recycling in the Shire||Improving the amount and effectiveness of recycling in the Shire||Improving the amount and effectiveness of recycling in the Shire||Reviewing / upgrading the waste transfer station/s||Working with community to reduce the amount of waste produced||Working with community to reduce the amount of waste produced||Working with community to reduce the amount of waste produced||Working with community to reduce the amount of waste produced||Working with community to reduce the amount of waste produced|
|Thinking about roads and infrastructure, which of the following do you think is the highest priority for Mount Alexander Shire?||Council needs a proper maintenance program targeting the areas most in need||Improving walking and cycling infrastructure||Improving walking and cycling infrastructure||Maintaining and upgrading country roads and bridges||Improving walking and cycling infrastructure||Improving walking and cycling infrastructure||Improving walking and cycling infrastructure||Maintaining and upgrading country roads and bridges||Improving walking and cycling infrastructure||Improving walking and cycling infrastructure|
|What is the issue you have heard most about during your campaign?||Council consultation on issues with community||Post-Covid business, jobs and community services.||Waste management and recycling||lack of consultation||Lack of affordable/secure housing.||Less red tape, more action on basic facilities||Lack of affordable housing in our shire||Community facilities||Affordable Housing||The culture of service offered by council|
|(In five words or less) What is the best thing about living in Mount Alexander Shire?||wonderful caring diverse community||Easy-going way of life||The people||the environment||Community. Bush. People. Kindness. Stars.||Relaxing lifestyle||Our friendly, creative community||diverse welcome community||People, Arts, Rural Character, Community Engagment|
|(In five words or less) If you could change one thing about Mount Alexander Shire, what would it be?||not respecting all community members||More Jobs and affordable housing,||To celebrate the artists more||the council||Real world communication. Fuck Facebook.||Teaching newcomers country town values||More connected, resilient communities||Merge CHIRP and Castlemaine Health||Concerns about newcomers||Change the disdain for council into Respect.|
|Please elaborate on any of your answers to the questions above.||Council needs to be representative of the whole community and work towards a better and stronger connection , as we adjust to Covid normal living council will need to support small business and recreational organizations stronger as the adapt , rubbish and recycling are part of the climate change solutions , current policies are lacking in this area||I have the knowledge, experience and skills to work with fellow councillors, the CEO, council staff and community to help our shire emerge from the COVID pandemic EVEN BETTER||On waste management, whilst working with the community to reduce the overall amount of waste is a vital global and local imperative, first we must stop so much ending up in landfill. This can be best and most quickly achieved by recovering more to recycle before it gets to landfill.
I believe passionately that we need to support the arts sector more for economic as well as social and cultural reasons. The arts are one of Castlemaine's greatest assets and competitive advantages and there is plenty Council can do to raise artists' profiles and promote this sector without having to spend big.
|Have mainly been contacted regarding lack of consultation with projects affecting residents homes and environments. Then no follow up. None reply to letters.||I had a really hard time as a teenager. There was very little to do in Castlemaine and there were very few support services for a young person struggling with mental health and substance-use problems.
Now, working as part of a local suicide prevention and awareness network, as well as mentoring and running Teen Mental Health First Aid at Castlemaine Secondary College, the gaps in mental health services (especially for youth) are more prominent than ever. Council needs to promote communication and collaboration between services, so that gaps in support can be identified and addressed.
|Country town values, embracing your local community, buying as local as you possibly can, supporting your local sporting teams, enjoy watching country kids go out on their push/dirt bikes, bush track riding on horse back, fishing, yabbying, running around barefoot and swimming in local reservoirs, dams, town pools. Never forgetting to check in on your neighbours, especially the elderly ones. Always saying hello to strangers you walk past on the street and a catch up with friends at the local pub from time to time. Always being available when someone needs you.||Our shire has an incredible wealth of smart, creative and resourceful people, and we have created a community we can be proud of. Now we need to harness those resources to tackle the challenges facing us: the economic and mental health impacts of Covid19, inequality and housing stress, and the climate emergency. Our challenge is to create more connected, resilient communities, where resources are shared and used wisely so that everyone has enough; where we look after this country with care, restoring ecosystems and soil fertility to make it a better place to live for future generations.||Merging of CHIRP and CMaine Health resources and facilities will significantly improve prevention of illnesses and improve our mental health issues as well.||I agree with the realisation that there is a global climate crisis and emergency
I believe Council’s role is to continue the work it has been doing in working towards achieving zero net emissions by 2025. Carbon Neutrality could be extended to requiring planning and development applications to outline how those projects intend to match council’s objectives of achieving net zero emissions. Council should also work with existing businesses for the businesses to achieve zero net emissions by 2025.
|I have had numerous distressing stories related to me regarding engagement with council whether this be about business development, building and planning or refurbishment of sport and recreational facilities. This must change. I will work hard for transparency, fairness and respect for council and staff, but it must be a two-way conversation.
Council must engage but also listen. Council must investigate and bring ideas together, but these visions must also be actioned in reasonable time frames. Council must engage with the whole community, not just the noisy minority or trendy groups.
|How should Mount Alexander recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and related impacts on economy and community?||helping small business ( hospitality etc ) with an easy permit system for outdoor dining, sponsoring live music in the parks , promoting sporting interests lobbying governments for extra grant monies to help health services , to create employment , to allow neighborhood communities to grow and become an interagal part of the community ,||By Council working with business and the community services sector and the other two levels of government to help get the jobs back, create new jobs, especially for youth and find ways of providing affordable housing.||I think we will recover well from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have done extremely well to limit the spread of the virus in our community and this is testament to the hard work, sacrifices and commitment of all. With working from home remaining commonplace, more people from Melbourne will want to move here. This will provide enormous opportunities as well as challenges and we need to work very hard to address housing supply and affordability.||Have a full moon market on Western reserve, footpath dining free of council charges for the next 6 months. Encouraging free enterprise like coffee vans and food vans. Multiple weekly local farmers markets and swap meets. Council letting residents know through Mayor what's going on and what they are doing.||Castlemaine may be approaching its 'new gold rush', as Melbourne is released from lockdown and people who'd usually be travelling overseas will instead be spending time and money in our region.
Local businesses need to be supported in transitioning to outdoor and open-plan operations, and be encouraged to hire and retain local staff. Community and neighbourhood resilience groups should be fostered and encouraged. Collaboration is key.
|By improving our local economy. Council needs to do all they can to encourage new business and industry to our area. This will create secure local jobs and give opportunity of home ownership to help with our housing crisis. Create easier avenues to access help for mental health, as many who have been out of work and isolated will not be doing very well at all. Create a welcoming, fun and safe place for adolescents to go to outside of school hours||Council needs to focus on building strong mutual support networks, such as neighbourhood resilience groups, that enable community members to share social support and practical resources and skills. It also needs to invest in our economic strengths that will benefit the whole community: the arts, tourism, education and high quality, sustainable agriculture and food production.||Ensure people wear masks in public.
Have testing facilities. Allow cafes and restaurants to have sit-down meals. Advocate for allowing Melbourne residents to travel from Melbourne if no Covid symptoms.
|The first challenge will be for the Shire to become united on how to go forward after Covid restrictions are lifted.
The Shire’s proximity to Melbourne means there will be opportunities to take advantage of Melbourne residents wanting to travel, leading to early peaks in tourism dollars, so the Shire should promote itself & prepare for these opportunities. Council should also support residents suffering Covid-19 mental health & financial issues
|The vibrant arts, hospitality and tourism community have suffered badly during the recent pandemic and will need creative and proactive support to recover. Council has a unique opportunity to do this by joining with the Castlemaine State Festival and engage with the arts and hospitality sectors to make this event the best ever. Make the town look like there is a huge arts event happening and assist busineses to quickly recover and be ready.|
|If elected how will you engage with residents (and others) and make sure that your decisions reflect the many views in our communities? Will your approach differ for different people?||my approach has always been to listen and respect all sides of a discussion ( in fact one can learn a great deal this way )and come to a reasoned decision that is fair and represents the majority and is the best result for all , I am approachable in all forms of communication, how am I different - simply the fact that I believe everybody has a right to an opinion and that should be respected ( providing it's not illegal or immoral ) being a councilor is a privilege given by the community not a right , and councilors must act in everybodies interests not single issue interests||My previous council experience was characterised by full and regular engagement with ward residents and beyond. That means knocking on doors, convening meetings and encouraging participation in the decision-making of the council.||I believe in regular community consultation and, if elected, I will reach out to the community for frequent input. Consultation via community organisations and businesses is important, but I'd like to engage with Shire residents on a one-to-one, individual basis too. I would like to institute a weekly online video chat timeslot that is open access for any Shire resident to discuss with me their concerns, hopes and ideas.||I will contact them and ask them. I intend to hold weekly Friday lunchtime residents clinics at the Ray Bradley or Trades hall. All welcome.||If elected, I plan to make time - weekly - to engage with and listen to community members.
When faced with difficult decisions, I intend to gather as much information as possible about all sides of the issue - asking questions, doing research, listening to people - so that I can reach an informed decision that takes the whole community into consideration. I hope that my approach remains consistent, open, respectful and friendly with everyone.
|On a daily basis I already speak to many people from all walks of life through my work place. I'd also make myself available through email, phone, social media and create a physical listening post (covid allowing) for residents to tell me of any concerns, through these outlets I believe every resident has opportunity to be heard and respected.||Community engagement and transparent decision making are important priorities for me. I believe that council exists to serve the community, not the other way around. I'd like council business to be transparent and accessible to all, with genuine community consultation on important issues, so that residents feel they have a say in the decisions that affect them. I also support the introduction of a 'people's budget' to give the community a voice in deciding where their money is spent.||Community consultation is the key issue--- public meetings if allowed , and surveys. Social media comments are useful too, but also have to be taken with a grain of salt.||Residents will have my e-ddress, phone number & Facebook details.
I will attend round table forums the Council has with community groups such as indigenous community & LGBTQIA+ members. I will advocate for Council to undertake community engagement sessions whenever a project is likely to directly affect residents in order to gather information & to provide feedback. Council's web site will be important for disseminating information to residents. There may be some people that don't feel comfortable in group sessions, so I would ensure they can contact me if they want to discuss an issue.
|I live and work in the community. I work with the community through Rotary and I will engage with other resident and buniess groups to ensure their voices are heard.|
|Name three characteristics that make a good councillor||Respectful, Genuine , commitment||Engagement, Listening and Advocacy||Hard working, honest, conscientious.||1. seeing things through to completion 2. Listening to all points of view. 3. Being beholden to no party or business interests.||Patience. Flexibility. Fairness.||Being approachable, available and understanding to the needs of others. Especially the needs that you've not previously been aware of, must be open and willing to learn.||Empathy: caring for the wellbeing of the community and all community members.
Integrity: acting ethically and honestly for the good of the community rather than personal gain. Civility: willingness to work respectfully and constructively with other councillors and community members to achieve the best results for our Shire.
|No conflict of interest.
Keen to speak for majority public opinion. Problem-solver.
Patience. Ability to learn with an open mind.
|Good listener, leadership background and community engaged.|