Loddon River Ward

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Inclues townships of Newstead, Welshman's Reef, Yapeen, Guildford. and surrounding areas.


One vacancy


Damien Kingsbury, Hilton Hazeltine and Matthew Driscoll.

Candidate survey responses - Loddon Ward

1. Name three top priorities for Mount Alexander Shire

Matthew Driscoll Damien Kingsbury Hilton Hazeltine
Housing affordability X X
Waste management X
Rates/budget X
Action on climate change
Paths, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure
Opportunities for youth
Community voice and engagement X X X
Supporting local businesses X
Recovering from COVID-19
Supporting ageing residents X

2. Other questions

Matthew Driscoll Damien Kingsbury Hilton Hazeltine
How would you assess the current level of rates levied in Castlemaine? Too high About right Too high
How important are visitors from outside our Shire to our community and economy? Extremely important Extremely important Extremely important
How important is it for Mount Alexander Shire to commit to actions which contribute to tackling climate change? Extremely important Very important Very important
How serious an issue is access to housing and housing affordability in Mount Alexander Shire? Extremely serious Extremely serious Extremely 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 Reviewing / upgrading the waste transfer station/s
Thinking about roads and infrastructure, which of the following do you think is the highest priority for Mount Alexander Shire? Maintaining and upgrading country roads and bridges Traffic management in townships Ensuring adequate parking near shopping areas
What is the issue you have heard most about during your campaign? Community Engagement and Social Housing Housing Lack of support for ageing residents
(In five words or less) What is the best thing about living in Mount Alexander Shire? Dynamic, diverse,independent,respectful community Arts culture bush heritage people Community, Mateship, Fresh air, Accessibility, Heritage/history
(In five words or less) If you could change one thing about Mount Alexander Shire, what would it be? Increase employment and find ways to keep young and old in our community greater social inclusion A council that is interested in representing all the people of the shire fairly and equitably
Please elaborate on any of your answers to the questions above. The needs of the Loddon River Ward have often been overshadowed by the needs of the greater shire, and it’s time for a change. Our community has evolved, and our voice deserves to be heard.I propose to hold regular meetings/listening posts with my constituents to ascertain what the Loddon River community really wants. We deserve visionary leaders who listen, are forward thinking, community-focused and meaningfully engaged in the social and economic life of our community. We need representatives who work towards transparent, fair and timely council decisions, based on honest communication. Melbourne's population is growing and Castlemaine is an attractive alternative to living in a big city, so there's new life coming in all the time. While this adds to the vibrancy of the shire, it also puts upwards pressure on housing, meaning there's less rental stock in particular and house prices are more generally increasing. Council can and should act to limit non-residential housing e.g. Air B+Bs, ensure that unused council and other low use land is available for social housing, and ensure there is social housing available in new residential developments. Many residents of Loddon River Ward have indicated they feel they have not had their voices heard. I see my role as a councillor is to be YOUR representative in council. My decisions will be dictated by your needs. My actions will be driven my your projects. I want to see a cleaner more included ward where everyone has the opportunity to have their say on any issue that concerns them and they are heard and their concerns acted upon.
How should Mount Alexander recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and related impacts on economy and community? Various initiatives to better support small local businesses to attract tourism and increase employment. Establish a business recovery taskforce in consultation with our community to develop new initiatives.Improving council support for community initiated and community led local projects.Better allocation of funds to improve mental health in our community. Promote local businesses to bring in more visitors to create more jobs, spread council services equally across the shire and promote the whole shire as a destination, limit council bureaucracy for businesses development and community-initiated activity, seek state funding for the Castlemaine-Guildford rail trail and extend that to Newstead, with a link to Maldon to complete the circuit, and promote/provide more public events. I would like to see council actively encourage community activities by making it easier for business to do business in different way. This can be achieved through minimizing the amount of permits required, reducing or removing costs of certain permits and basically making alternative methods of conducting business easier and cheaper.
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? I propose to hold regular meetings/listening posts with my constituents to ascertain what the Loddon River community really wants. I have also started a social media Loddon River community page to connect to those who prefer this style of communication, bringing council issues front and centre, and enabling me to present our needs to council with a broader understanding and ensuring everyone has an opportunity to voice their needs with the assurance they will be heard. Regular consultations with community members and organisations, listen to and reflect feedback, balanced against the needs of the whole community. I have already committed to at least monthly "listening post" sessions in the townships of Guildford and Newstead. This will increase or decrease with demand as will the locations. I will also endeavour to spend more time in the more areas of the ward that are often often forgotten such as Yandoit, Yapeen, Muckleford and areas of Werona/Campbelltown, Sandon and Strangways. As your local councillor I will consult with you on various projects to find out our I can best support your activities and I will fight for your voice to be heard in the chamber.
Name three characteristics that make a good councillor Integrity, empathy and able to get things done. Ability to understand and master a range of complex and sometimes contradictory issues (e.g. 'more services-lower rates), listening to and talking with community, independence from vested interests. Approachable, Community Focused, Committed