Labor will be running an endorsed candidate at September's election for Goulburn Mulwaree Council.
The party's Goulburn branch president Jason Shepherd confirmed he would be throwing his hat in the ring for the September 4 poll. But whether that extends to running a ticket, he's not prepared to say at this stage.
Mr Shepherd said he won party endorsement for the tilt in the past two weeks.
"People say there's no place for politics in councils but the reality is there is always politics," he said.
"It would be hypocritical for me to say I'm running as an independent because I've been very outspoken about issues such as Goulburn Base Hospital, Bourke Street Health Service and Eastgrove television reception. I think some people can take a lesson from having a transparent approach and own up to their politics."
He told The Post that Labor was hardly breaking new ground as The Greens' successfully fielded Leah Ferrara as a candidate at the 2016 election.
But Mr Shepherd said local government wasn't about agendas and he was keen to work as a team representing ratepayers' best interests.
Meantime, Dan Strickland is also putting his hand up.
The 44-year-old Mission Australia southern NSW and ACT area manager said he was passionate about Goulburn Mulwaree and "giving a voice to the voiceless."
"I'm in a position where I'm involved in a lot of community activities and events," he said.
"I've been encouraged to run and after discussing it with my wife and family I've agreed to nominate."
Mr Strickland said while he was a Goulburn resident, he would strongly advocate for the surrounding villages and towns.
He is also Lilac Festival vice-president, a member of the Suicide Prevention Network and an initiator of the Man Walk, promoting male mental health. In 2020 Mr Strickland was named Goulburn's Australia Day citizen of the year.
They are two of eight new nominees for the election. Just four people have officially registered - Goulburn man Steve Ruddell, Adam Milani, Matthew Henderson and Windellama Progress Association chairman, Michael Still.
Mr Ruddell has been regularly attending council meetings to gain an insight. He also turned up to last Wednesday's councillor candidates information session at the chambers. Mr Ruddell, a well-known local singer and guitarist, has also been vocal about the Salvation Army's residential subdivision and what he described as an "unsafe access" on to Hollis Avenue.
Goulburn Mulwaree nominees so far
- Andrew Banfield
- Steve Bray
- Tim Dally
- Leah Ferrara
- Matthew Henderson
- Carol James
- Bob Kirk
- Adam Milani
- Margaret O'Neill
- Steve Ruddell
- Jason Shepherd
- Michael Still
- Dan Strickland
- Peter Walker
Car salesman and former rugby league player, Platon Antony, also attended Wednesday's session. He said he would decide this week whether to nominate.
"I've been thinking about it for a few years," he said.
"I'm getting close to retirement and it fits in well with what I want to do in terms of input to make Goulburn better and stronger."
Mr Antony said he had no single issue but given his sporting background, wanted to build on Goulburn's growing ability to attract regional sports events. He believed the city was ideally placed between Canberra and Sydney to do so.
Southern Tablelands Wholesale Industrial and Safety owner, Steve Bray is nominating. The 61-year-old moved to Goulburn 12 years ago from Wollongong.
"I think it's a good opportunity to be part of what happens in the local area," he said.
"I want to see Goulburn go ahead with a lot more industrial and commercial development."
Local TAFE horticulture teacher Tim Dally is also taking a tilt. The "Goulburn born and bred" 36-year-old feels he has much to contribute.
"I absolutely love the place and I feel I need to do my part for its future," he said.
"I'd really like to see us go ahead, not to get too big but to retain our country lifestyle and have all the advantages that other regional hubs have. We are already on our way."
Councillors have another run
The eight confirmed starters will join up to seven existing councillors in the race. Mayor Bob Kirk, Deputy Mayor Peter Walker and Crs Carol James, Andrew Banfield, Margaret O'Neill and Leah Ferrara are running again. Crs Denzil Sturgiss and Alfie Walker are stepping down. Cr Sam Rowland previously said he likely wouldn't re-nominate but could change his mind. He couldn't be reached for comment.
Cr Banfield has also changed his mind, having previously said he wouldn't stand. He was elected in 2008.
Cr O'Neill, now in her 39th year in local government, says she still has more to give.
"There are a few things I'd like to see sorted out for the betterment of Goulburn Mulwaree," she said.
Mayor Bob Kirk told The Post that if elected, he would stand as mayor again.
"I've been fortunate to be in this role," he said.
"Over the last five-year term, the region has gone through one of its best periods. I've been at the helm and it's a pretty good place to be right now."
He believed the growth spurt required strong leadership and direction and over his time he had forged strong relationships with state and federal political leaders to argue Goulburn Mulwaree's case. Further, the council had been cohesive, progressive and "uncontroversial" over the past 13 years.
Cr Kirk said this unity provided a valuable lesson for any incoming councillor: "There is no I in team."
On Wednesday, Yass Valley Shire Mayor Rowena Abbey spoke about her 13 years on the council, including the last nine in the top job. Cr Abbey reinforced the messages that councillors had to work as a team, accept majority decisions and be realistic about what they could achieve. She is not standing again in September.
Departing Goulburn Mulwaree councillor Alf Walker also addressed the meeting about his stint. Recently resigned Bega Valley Shire CEO Leanne Barnes detailed the rules surrounding councillor and staff interaction and the importance of knowing the Local Government Act and other policies.
Nominations for the council elections close at noon on Wednesday, August 4.
A returning office and pre-poll will this year be established at the Rabobank building in Bourke Street, opposite the Civic Centre.
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