Council ticket 'non-exclusive': Shepherd

RUMOURS that Mayor Geoff Kettle and The Greens were considering running a ticket at the September Council election spurred Jason Shepherd into action.

The Goulburn Labor Party branch president freely admits he’s considering the same action, but with non-aligned people.

“We’re trying to get together a group that’s not necessarily Labor. It will be non-exclusive,” he said.

“We’re looking at going down the same route as the last election, that is, a Progress Group, that doesn’t follow caucus guidelines but exercises more discretion and independence in a much more democratic process.”

He maintained this group had already gained a profile as a separate entity in the last four years by campaigning on various community issues.

It’s Mr Shepherd’s second go at Council. In 2012 the engineer of 20 years also organised a ticket comprising himself, Robin Saville, then Labor Party president Roger Lucas, Laszlo Strasser and Andrew Thistleton.  

Only Mr Saville was elected but resigned last February over a confidentiality breach.

Mr Shepherd said he couldn’t name names for this year’s ticket but described them as “well known community members.” Discussions are still underway

Likewise, a “platform” is still being formulated.

He cited several issues, including Council’s recent decision not to waive a development application fee for CE4G’s solar farm has rankled.

“I’m bewildered by Council’s decision not to give them some grace on the fee,” Mr Shepherd said.

“If you want activity to happen you have to give people some incentive. The solar farm has everything going for it but Council has put up roadblocks. Even if they deferred the fee; these things should be part of Council’s remit in ‘being easy to do business with.’”

The performing arts centre, the need to retain rather than sell open space and extending Wi-Fi to Goulburn Base Hospital are also high on the agenda.

Sustainability and heritage conservation are other pet subjects.

He decried the loss of three Clinton St cottages to make way for a 7-Eleven service station when the market was “already saturated” with petrol outlets.

“Encourage business but don’t hurt existing ones,” he said.

“...There’s a whole range of things we can do at local government level to encourage business and investment. I think we (the group) can add value.”

Mr Shepherd also believed politics was apparent on Council, saying Cr Sam Rowland’s 2012 election campaign was “straight out of the Liberal Party text book.” 

He told the Post he’d either run on the ticket or by himself.

“There is a mood for change,” Mr Shepherd said.

We’ve been working in the community for four years and we’ve detected this. 

“I think we can get two candidates up but we’re aiming for three.”

Nominations for Local Government elections close on August 10.

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