Two Goulburn-based community groups hit up Goulburn Mulwaree Council candidates for their attitudes to a range of environmental and more general issues, and have shared the results.
The Goulburn Group (TGG) and Community Voice for Hume (CV4H) invited the 17 candidates to answer questions on topics such as renewable energy and housing.
The Goulburn Group
According to TGG, most candidates for this Saturday's council election would like to see "more local action on climate change and greater efforts to provide affordable housing", but there are "some reservations" about how many more wind farms our region should host.
Suggestions for addressing climate change in our region ranged from the council leading by example to encouraging more solar farms and more electric vehicle charging stations.
Jason Shepherd, who heads the Labor ticket, said council should commit to solar panels on all council-owned buildings, including swimming pools, libraries and depots. As well, council either should require rooftop solar and water tanks on new houses or provide incentives to install them through means such as discounting the cost of development approvals.
In response to one of the questions, three candidates - Tim Dally, a TAFE teacher running as an Independent, Mr Shepherd and the Greens' candidate, Leah Ferrara - said they were in favour of council joining the Cities Power Partnership, while most of the other candidates who responded promised to look into the issue further.
To date, 165 councils covering 65 per cent of the Australian population have become members of the Cities Power Partnership, which is an initiative of the Climate Council. Participating councils have promised to take specific steps in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.
Most candidates were in favour of more renewable energy developments in our region but Mr Kirk and independent Steven Ruddell, who is owner of Owens Driving School and a local musician, expressed reservations about more wind farms, while others were non-committal.
Most candidates agreed that the rapid rise in housing prices was creating difficulties for many people. Daniel Strickland, an independent who is area manager for Mission Australia, said he was passionate about the issue. Council should insist on a percentage of new developments including affordable housing.
Ms Ferrara and Mr Shepherd agreed and added that council also could require minimum areas for green spaces. Independent candidate and local radio broadcaster Michael Prevedello said Council could ensure adequate land was available for new developments.
There was strong support for maintaining areas of natural bushland.
Eight candidates responded to the questionnaire, including Mr Shepherd on behalf of Labor, which is running a ticket of five candidates. TGG did not receive responses or was unable to contact five candidates - Independents Andrew Banfield, Adam Milani, Margaret O'Neill and Carol James and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Andy Wood.
The full responses from the participating candidates are on The Goulburn Group's Facebook page.
Community Voice for Hume
The following candidates responded to the questionnaire: Andrew Banfield, Timothy Dally, Bob Kirk, Danielle Marsden-Ballard, Steve Ruddell, Jason Shepherd and Daniel Strickland.
CV4H said that it was disappointing that only seven of the 17 candidates standing for office responded.
The questionnaire asked candidates to rate the importance of the 15 issues below. Following is a breakdown of the responses:-
- Aged Care rated among the top three considerations with the exception of Tim Dally who placed it further down the list.
- Agricultural Sustainability rated as at number 1 or 2 by all candidates, except Tim Dally who placed it at 6.
- Biodiversity again rated highly with all save Tim Dally placing it as 1 to 3, with Tim Dally giving it a 10.
- Carbon Neutrality received 1 to 3 support from 4 respondents with Bob Kirk voting it at 5 and Tim Dally at 8.
- Climate Change scored 1 to 3 for 5 respondents, with Bob Kirk and Tim Dally giving it a 5.
- Education and Training received strong support from all, being rated 1 to 3.
- Employment again came in at 1 to 3 on everyone's list.
- Environmental Protection scored 1 or 2 with everyone save Tim Dally who gave it a 9.
- Housing and Development came in between 1 and 4.
- Fresh Local Food had a spread from 1 to 4 with Tim Dally rating it at 14.
- Parks and Gardens rated 1 to 3 for everyone except Tim Dally at 11.
- Renewable Energy was rated at between 1 and 5.
- Roads rated between 1 and 3 for all except Tim Dally who scored it a 7.
- Waste Recycling again came in between 1 and 3 for all except Tim Dally who gave it a 12.
- Water and Sewage rated 1 to 3 for all save Tim Dally who gave it 13.
CV4H pointed out that Tim Dally narrowed his interests more than most and came down strongly in favour of education and eraining, employment and environmental protection, all of which he rated as number one issues.
The questionnaire also asked candidates how they thought the land from the council's former irrigation farm should be used, with the following rating highly:
- Biodiversity Enhancement
- Agricultural Innovation and Technology
- Environmental Protection - Wetlands and Wildlife
The lowest rating use was for revenue from the sale of the land.
All candidates were supportive of Community Voice For Hume's project Grow Goulburn Mulwaree Farms and Gardens.
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