Candidates give their views

November 13, 2009

Marilyn Dixon
Why are you standing?
Gwydir Shire Council has been very good to my family, and I feel it’s time to give back something to the community. I have been inspired by my mother, who was the first lady councillor in the North West region.

What do you want to achieve?
Water is a priority for Bingara. I am also concerned about Council’s level of spending. One of the issues I am concerned about is the unnecessary use of council cars.

What qualities or skills do you have to bring to Council?
I want to be on Council for what I think, not for what anyone else thinks. I am friendly and approachable and would try to work for the good of the community.
I want to see the Gwydir Shire not only survive but prosper. I am dedicated to the whole of the Gwydir Shire.

I do have a common sense approach. I can think for myself. I am hard working. I am honest. I believe I can make a difference.

Michael Allen
Why are you standing?
I didn’t like the money wasted with people standing for Council and then resigning before the end of the term. People resigning have become a liability to the shire.  I believe the way we vote in Gwydir has caused the problem. I want to see the structure changed so that the constituents can vote for the Mayor.

If people could vote for the Mayor, we wouldn’t see see fractionalism develop. Nine councillors are elected and then the factionalism starts, before the Mayor is elected.

What do you want to achieve?
Firstly, I want to achieve a better electoral system. I want a happy Council so good decisions can be made. Infighting has held this Council back. I believe there is a lot of unhappiness in Council which is preventing it functioning effectively.

I also believe that whether people are on the left or the right politically, they should leave their politics at home when it comes to Council meetings. We have to deal with the government of the day, no matter which party we prefer.

Regarding the ramps policy, I believe we should have a commonsense policy following precedents set by other councils around Australia.

What qualities or skills do you have to contribute to Council?
I’ve been in private business on the land, as well as having experience in retail. Since I’ve been in the Gwydir Shire, our family has invested both rurally and in town and we believe in the future of Bingara and the land around it.

Kerry McDonald
Why are you standing?
I want to be part of Council’s team and work with that team to achieve Council’s vision which is “to be the recognised leader in Local Government through continuous learning and sustainability”. I also want to work towards avoiding future council amalgamations.

I feel I have the time and good communication and organisational skills to work with other councillors, as well as to represent the interests of all people in Gwydir Shire.

What do you want to achieve?
I want to try to get the public behind the Shire Council; to make them aware of what our shire does, how they budget and receive funding. Council needs the public’s support to close the gap between public and private funding.

What qualities or skills do you have to contribute to the Council?
I have worked in a voluntary capacity as President of the Warialda P&A Association, Secretary of the P & A, Catholic Women’s League and County of Burnett CWA. I have also been Treasurer of the Barraba Tennis Club, Warialda Pre-school, Warialda P&F Association and I am currently treasurer of the Warialda Showground Trust. I was also a member of St Joseph’s School Board and have been a volunteer on the community visitors scheme at Naroo Hostel. I have also worked part time for three local businesses and for many years been in partnership with my husband, John on the land producing grain and cattle.

Through all this community involvement, I believe I have developed a rapport with the public and developed skills in working with people to achieve goals. I have also gained an understanding of how funding is applied for through my experiences in applying for grants and loans for various organisations.