Mildura votes: Council candidate Q&A

We asked candidates a series of questions relating to issues relevent to Sunraysia. Responses are listed in ballot order.

Mark Eckel

Age: 65

Background: Club industry marketing/entertainment manager/radio announcer.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Ali Cupper. 3. Deb Bogenhuber. 4. James Price. 5. Max Thorburn.

What is the most important issue for the next term of the council? I don’t believe there is one issue that’s above all else. Serving on council for four terms, you realise the council plan and getting it right is the most important document. It outlines what the vision means to our community and docu­ments how we will work towards it over the next four years.

How would you encourage development/investment in the region? Open-minded councillors changing the bureaucratic mindset; it should start with “how do we make this work?” as opposed to “putting up unnecessary hurdles”. Major developers with creativity are pivotal to the district’s potential growth at the end of the day, if you have no vision, no plan, you’ve got no future.

Should the council be more transparent and accountable? How/why not? Yes. Revisit our community engagement process, I don’t believe it works. Open our council forums where possible to the public.

What should be done to reduce rate increases? Review the current staff structure in line with the community’s current needs, to ensure the balance of staff is able to provide the essential services. Review all needs for consultants, contractors and a more competitive tendering process. Review vehicle fleet.

What would make Mildura the “most liveable, people-friendly community in Australia”? By following the council’s purpose: promote the social, economic, 

environmental and cultural wellbeing, now and for the future, through effective governance and community engagement.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes.

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes, but paying your way.

Min Poole

Age: 45

Background: Customer service, finance and project management within business, education and community. 

Top 4 preferences: No preferences being allocated.

Most important issue? Engagement with our ever-

diversifying community, while working as an effective team to achieve a strategic plan. I’m excited for the challenge of influencing important decision making, aiming to make the best use of available resources, ensuring results benefit our municipality with attention to all towns.

How to encourage development/investment? Via promotion of our natural assets and lifestyle to attract skilled people and sustainable investments. I’d like our socio-economic reputation improved while welcoming executives to live here (flying to work if required).

Transparency? Councillors are elected to represent the community. Transparent decision making and accountability are necessary for the community to feel involved. Residents’ views are to be respected and local knowledge used for economic progression. Walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Reducing rate increases? Obtain more funds from the state and federal governments. Continual financial analysis while mitigating risks of service reduction. We should not be disadvantaged for living here.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Ensuring affordable access to services and support through continued development of education, health, housing and transport. Encouraging all-inclusive activities with progressive collaboration to be a great place to work and raise families. Empowering locals for vibrant quality of life.

Do you support in principle: 

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes

John Arnold

Age: 66

Background: Horticulturist for 30 years, aluminium manufacturer for 18 years. current co-ordinator of Mildura Country Music Festival.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Jill Joslyn. 3. Sharyon Peart. 4. Simon Clemence. 5. Max Thorburn.   

Most important issue? Foster development in housing and businesses to broaden the rate base, thus helping to reduce rates. Connect Fourteenth Street to ­Ontario Avenue and Ranfurly Way.

How to encourage development/investment? Complete the combining of Mildura Tourism and Mildura Development Corporation into a new entity to forge a new direction to encourage investment and tourism. Must encompass our smaller communities.

Transparency? I believe the council is already very transparent, with all decisions other than contractual matters made in public. Policies and community plans are developed after community consult­ation. 

Reducing rate increases? Ensure council services are run in the most cost-effective manner. Regular reviews of services are imperative.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Mildura is already one of the most liveable cities in Australia. 

Do you support in principle: 

New motorsport precinct: Yes, business plan determines viability. Involve private enterprise.

New Mildura South sports precinct: Yes, if it can be funded ­appropriately and not increase rates.

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): I declared a conflict. I ­believe it must go through the proper process including State Government licensing.

Green waste service: Introduction vital, but must be affordable.

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Support in order of priorities, rail freight first and then passenger rail.

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: Support the review to ensure most cost effective delivery of library services.

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: I have advocated to have public land adjacent to our development privatised and sold to private enterprise for development.

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes, and I have paid my own way for one visit. I see China as important for our education and  horticultural sectors’ future.

Deb Bogenhuber

Age: 43

Background: Self-employed/small business owner, ecologist, developing the local food economy

Top 4 preferences: 2. James Price. 3. Jason Modica. 4. Helen Healy. 5. Ali Cupper.

Most important issue? Finding innovative and diverse ways of reducing rates while maintaining services.

How to encourage development/investment? Increase focus on building our ­local economy from the bottom up.

Transparency? Absolutely. Questions raised at public meetings should be noted and responses/actions noted and be available to the public. Evaluation and review of consultancies commissioned by the council should be undertaken and results made public. I agree with Jill Joslyn’s suggestion of performance reviews for councillors. Better promotion of the council’s achievements and plans within our community.

Adopt community development principles of community engagement – true engagement starts at the beginning of planning processes, not after decisions have been made.

Reducing rate increases?

Investigate efficiencies within council – for our population size we have considerably more council staff compared with other councils. Long-term planning to invest in infrastructure such as ­renewable energy that reduces costs. Learn from other councils.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Adopt a conscious ethic within all levels of council of “how can we help”. Reduce red tape and provide incentives for start-up businesses, small-scale locally owned food enterprises and not-for-profits/social enterprises. More support and celebration of the rich culture of our First Nations people and our diverse cultures. Support and partner with community groups at all levels. Become a leader in organic agriculture and fair food.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes to conference centre, no to casino

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Undecided

Gavin Sedgmen

Top 4 preferences: 2. Simon Clemence. 3. Greg Brown. 4. Sharyon Peart. 5. Glenn Milne.

I will make comment on council core business issues via other mediums. 

Jason ‘Jake’ Modica

Age: 46

Background: Tradesman, small business operator

Top 4 preferences: 2. Helen Healy. 3. Ali Cupper. 4. Deb Bogenhuber. 5. James Price.

Most important issue? To address the disconnect between the wants of the community and the actions of the council, both elected and bureaucratic.

How to encourage development/investment? Our council should invest for the future by encouraging the develpoment of solar infrastructure, creating a manufacturing hub in Mildura. Between 2008 and 2014 state governments gave $17.6 billion in coal subsidies. The council should advocate for the transference of these subsidies to renewables and invest in rural/regional electorates to kick-start a new age in decentralised energy production, to create jobs and foster localism.

Transparency? Yes, a council should be transparent and accountable. Currently there is a perception that our council are inward-looking wall builders, which alludes to a lack of transparency. Whether claims are legitimate, to be effective council must be outward-looking, engaging and inclusive.

Reducing rate increases? A solar manufacturing hub will offset our infrastructure, powering all buildings, libraries, parks and gardens, street lighting and swimming centres. This infrastructure investment administered by the council for the benefit of the community will create jobs and lower rates. The ongoing profits would be redistributed within the council budget after costs. We are capable of being leaders in this field, making Mil­dura Australia’s solar capital.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Mildura is a great place to live, but we need to be honest and reflective about the town we live in now, celebrate the positives and address the negatives to become a stronger, cohesive, independent regional capital.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: No

New Mildura South sports precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes, but without a casino.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: No

Raylee Waugh

Age: 60

Background: Self-employed, currently business development officer at Cloud Copy Click at Telstra Business Centre. Owned and operated Offsys Solutions for 15 years.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Simon Clemence. 3. Jake Modica. 4. Judi Harris. 5. James Price.

Most important issue? Getting our customers happy with our performance. That means improving our performance and communicating better about why the decisions are made.

How to encourage development/investment? By making us ready and willing to accept investment and business activity when it is presented to us.

Transparency? Yes, we need to see that value of jobs being done, what they are costing and where we can improve on delivery of services and make cost cuts if possible. Any business would want this.

Reducing rate increases? Rates should not increase and if possible decrease – if we can assess the costs of services provided and streaming costs to run more efficiently. The consensus is rates need to be reduced. I agree so long as this can be achieved without sacrifice to any existing essential services.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people­friendly community?  

Our region is in a unique place. We have a better chance of home ownership than any other city due to home affordability. This factor could be utilised to promote attracting working families to this area. We need to start focusing on the positives and not the negatives. We need to work better, smarter and together. We are close, with the quality of sporting venues and clubs and especially our restaurants and cafes, but vandalism and personal safety are areas for improvement.

Do you support in principle: New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes, but ideally without the casino.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: Yes

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes

Domenico Capogreco

Age: 45

Background: Self-employed viticulturist and  winemaker.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Anthony Cirillo. 3. Phil Douglass. 4. Walter MacKenzie. 5. Mark Cory.

Most important issue?  A rate freeze, followed by a rate reduction.

How to encourage development/investment? We have everything we need here including water, minerals, fresh produce, livestock, substantial daylight hours and a wonderful diverse multicultural community. We need to revolutionise the way we do business in Sunraysia and capitalise on our resources by processing/producing “in-house”, and have direct trade links. Only then will we gain the respect and confidence of local, national and international developers and investors.

Transparency? Yes, debates at public meetings with community members to have a say on issues that affect the future of our region.

Reducing rate increases? A proper judgment cannot be made until such time as the results of a comprehensive audit of council financials are made available. However, a structural review would be conducted to determine initial savings.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Encourage the right people to the region who are willing to put in the hard yards, and work together to make our region prosper. The result would be community prosperity, comfortable independence and self-reliance. Poverty is the reward of the idleness of the governing powers that be!

Do you support in principle: New motor­sport precinct: Yes in theory, but only if it is built with foresight to accommodate both national and international racing (FIA approved grade 2 or 3 minimum).

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, ­conference centre and boutique casino): Yes, as long as there is scope and infrastructure for expansion.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes, I fully support its return.

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes, if they create trade opportunities.

Michael Jones

No answers provided. 

Top 4 preferences: 2. Greg Brown. 3. Helen Healy. 4. Liam Wood. 5. Ali Cupper.

Anthony Cirillo

Age: 26

Background: Table grape grower and exporter of fresh produce.

Top 4 preferences:  2. Domenico Capogreco. 3. Phil Douglass. 4. Walter MacKenzie. 5. Mark Cory

Most important issue?  Getting rates and expenditure under control.

How to encourage development/investment? Refer to my advertisement.

Transparency? Yes, more freely avail­able information – it is very hard to gain access to certain information that is supposed to be free to the public. Also, a lot more community input when spending money on projects.

Reducing rate increases? Refer to my advertisment.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community?  Providing services to all age groups within the community to a high standard, affordable living and doing long-term projects that will give the area decades of growth and prosperity as the Chaffey brothers did originally.

Do you support in principle: 

New motorsport precinct: Yes, as long as built to a standard that will attract national events.

New Mildura South sports precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes 

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: No

Liam Wood

Age: 37

Background: Studied landscape architecture at RMIT, own landscape design business Melbourne, owner Dom’s nightclub, The Setts, Red Cliffs Hotel, Black Stump Bistro.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Deb Bogenhuber. 3. Helen Healy. 4. Mark Eckel. 5. Jason Modica.

Most important issue? All councils need to be accountable to their constituents this requires exemplary management and transparency.

How to encourage development/investment? The council needs to be proactive in all fields of promotion and support for new investment and development.

Transparency? It is essential we, the people, trust our council. Too many closed council meetings.

Reducing rate increases? Too much acreage, not enough ratepayers. Budget savings, increase in population and a strong case to the state and federal governments to meet the needs of rural councils.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? ­Sustainability in jobs, growth, ­public amenity and the environment.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Need to see business plan.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes

Jill Joslyn

Age not supplied

Backgound: 1979-87 own business, Apex Park Mildura.

1988-93 own business, Jossas Delicatessen, Mildura.

1994-98 Community services officer MRCC, part-time position.

1994-98 Community services officer with SMECC, part-time position.

1998-99 Project officer with aged care assessment team, Mildura Base Hospital.

1999-2012 School-focused youth service, MRCC.Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2011 for work in prevention of youth suicide. 

Top 3 preferences: 2. Sharyon Peart. 3. John Arnold. 4. Min Poole.

Most important issue?  Develop shared vision, embrace diversity and new ideas, work together to enable municipality to grow.

How to encourage development/investment? Get the council to work closely with a new economic development/tourism entity. Simplify processes to assist new development. Lobby the state and federal governments for funding to assist development.

Transparency? No, the council has accountability checks and balances laid out by the State Government. All agendas and minutes are available to the public. Only commercial-in-confidence matters are held in camera.

Reducing rate increases? The rating strategy is working. Over four years rate rises have been reduced from over 6 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Sustainability reviews are ongoing across all departments in the council.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? I believe it already is. I came here 37 years ago and I love it. It is my home.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): No

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes

Judi Harris

Age: 67

Background: Secondary teacher, university tutor, TAFE off-campus tutor, probation and parole officer, educational consultant in New York City.

Top 4 preferences: I am an independent candidate.

Most important issue?  To encourage sufficient growth in the region to support an increase in jobs.

How to encourage development/investment? We need to continue 

to support Mildura Development Corporation as its role is to attract and facilitate regional development. We are investigating ways to redevelop dried-off irrigation land and this will need to be acted on. Planning procedures and processes must be transparent, expeditious and supportive of new investments.

Transparency? Yes, it can and should be more transparent. The council can further diversify the way it communicates with residents so that more people hear what, how and why decisions are made. Accountability is improved when residents, after constructing the four-year plan, get more regular updates on its progress.

Reducing rate increases? Continuing to reduce costs will be essential in the next four years. Major energy savings have been made, along with other measures, but more will have to be done.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Having strong employment, social cohes­ion and equity, environmental sustainability.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): This is a State Government decision.

Green waste service: Only if it includes organics.

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: The local communities should decide how they want to access library services.

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City ­visits: Yes, because of the educational and business benefits.

Max Thorburn

Age: 70

Background: Former chief of staff Sunraysia Daily, sports editor 3MA, 25 years editor Mildura Independent Star, nine years editor Mildura ­Independent online, 23 years voluntary manager HOT FM, ­cafeteria owner and numerous other business ­operations over the past 50 years.

Preferences: Not supplied.

Most important issue?  To curb the unsustainable wages explosion. It is at 4.9 per cent with a rate cap likely of 1.8 per cent next year. We should do this by not replacing some people who leave, at the rate of 15 jobs a year, for the next three years.

How to encourage development/investment?We have to change our way of thinking and offer business incentives. Either we put in some infrastructure services or give land to major companies in return for the jobs they will create. This is standard practice elsewhere in the world.

Transparency? I would be happy for everything to be in public including confidential.

Reducing rate increases? Reduce wages and limit budgets, for example instead of subsidising the ­Mildura Arts Centre by the tune of $1 million­- 

plus this year, we reduce its budget to a subsidy (loss limit) of $750,000.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? 

Mildura is a great place to live already. We just have to be more accepting of development and ­becoming a busy tourism ­centre 52 weeks a year instead of a ­peaceful haven just for locals.

Do you support in ­principle: 

New motorsport precinct: Yes, but have missed the boat.

New Mildura South sports precinct: It’s 10 to 20 years away, yes.

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: Yes to Irymple, No to Mallee Track

Continuation of Mildura ­Riverfront Master Plan: If we ­continue we can’t do the ­motorsports or Sixteenth Street, so no.

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes

Anthony Ciszkowski

No answers supplied.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Mark Cory. 3. Domenico Capogreco. 4. Anthony Cirillo. 5. Phil Douglass.

Julie Waters

Age: 55

Background: Administration at Mildura Urban Water Trust (now Lower Murray Water), administration at Murrayland Fruit Juices, administration for Keam Group of Companies, hi-tech inspection carrying out building reports to all DHHS properties in the district, Diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention, Commissioner for Motorcycling Australia.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Bernard ­Denner. 3. Phil Douglass. ­4. Dom­en­ico Capogreco. 5. Anthony Cirillo.

Most important issue? To address the rates burden on all of our communities without any services being affected. Cap the continual increasing of staff wages that, at present, this community cannot sustain. Attract outside investment to create employment.

How to encourage development/investment? Address the continual, 

never-ending red tape and excessively high costs associated within planning.

Transparency? The council should be more transparent and accountable for every dollar spent and every decision made as they are representing the ratepayers and residents of all our communities and it should be their duty to treat that at its highest level. There are too many decisions made behind closed doors, which the public are respectfully entitled to witness the stamping of, such as contract works and planning.

Reducing rate increases? Carry out an independent audit across the board, address all levels of management, the continual wage increases at 4.9 per cent yearly – 80 per cent of rate income at present. Review existing services to assess savings of outsourcing options. Lobby the State Government for fairer regional infrastructure support.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? 

I would say we already are, that’s why I live here, but improvement in our transport availability – buses and passenger rail – would make us even better.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsports precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes, with conditions set.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Undecided

Jo Clutterbuck

Age: 49

Background: CHAILIS board member, Willowfest administrator, Mildura Field Days co-ordinator, finance officer with Matthews & Associates, state candidate for Mildura in 2014, joint proprietor G & J’s Vineyard Contracting Pty Ltd, Diploma of Management, Reclaim Mildura Base chair.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Max Thorburn. 3. Domenico Capogreco. 4. Sharyon Peart. 5. Gavin Sedgmen.

Most important issue? Review operations including costs to identify savings that may be used to reduce the cost burden on ratepayers and increase the funding available to infrastructure projects.

How to encourage development/investment? Planning difficulties ­underpin much of the frustration 

experienced by developers. Streamline the planning application process and improve the processing times. 

Transparency? The council should be transparent and engage in genuine community consult­ation that encourages and allows community members to feel that their concerns are being heard and considered. Accountability is vital, as is communicating to the community an accurate picture of what decisions are made, why and how much they cost.

Reducing rate increases? Investigate poss­ible efficiencies in operating costs, including wages.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Mildura is already an amazing place, we just do not celebrate our region’s achievements well, nor do we tell the world how wonderful we are.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, ­conference centre and boutique casino): Undecided, I may be prepared to support a casino if existing poker machines were relocated to a new facility. 

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: Need more information, however, I value the service and believe it is important that residents are given access to library services.

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes, though I am not prepared to prioritise this over other much-needed projects.

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes

Bernard J. Denner

Age not supplied

Background:

Health educator 25 years, national/international, business owner/consultant, qualified secondary teacher, recent manager and developer of Hot FM Community Radio, CFA volunteer 16 years, bail justice.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Julie Waters. 3. Phil Douglass. 4. Domenico Capogreco. 5. Anthony Cirillo.

Most important issue? Besides rate restraint, we need to develop infrastructure and business opportunities with partners, both government and private-sector, that support employment and growth.

How to encourage development/investment? First, develop a range of business plans that are fundable projects through state and federal government or private investors. Explore the options of motorsport complex, convention centre and multipurpose sports stadium and support our agriculture and horticulture to develop products suit­able for Asian markets. Promote tourism to create employment and new business.

Transparency? The council meetings should be more open and transparent, especially in deciding building permits. Transparency also of infrastructure tendering for new council projects and upgrades. The council and staff must be accountable for their decisions on all big projects and consider local contractors. The council budget, wages and spending must be transparent.

Reducing rate increases? There will be a range of options after full disclos­ure, but State Government regional infrastructure support needs to increase for municipalities, especially Mildura with its low rates base supporting a massive land area. An audit of services to assess savings and value of outsourcing services. No new appointments until an independent audit has been completed. Senior staff entitlements to be reviewed. Grow our population. Staff wages account for 80 per cent of rate income.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Transport options  including buses and passenger rail interstate services. An indoor sports stadium, riverfront options, wine, food and music to boost tourism, greater infrastructure for tourists and more community events.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes, with conditions.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Maybe

Sharyon Peart

Age not supplied

Background: Small business owner-operator 11 years, local government 8½ years, company director, corporate experience, 25 years sales and marketing.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Jill Joslyn. 3. Simon Clemence. 4. Jo Clutterbuck. 5. Max Thorburn.

Most important issue? Rate rises to a minimum without cutting services. Effective, efficient service delivery. Managing asset renewal and maintenance of assets. Funding priority infrastructure.

How to encourage development/investment? Streamlining of planning processes, Mildura Riverfront stage 2 project, motorsport precinct, support to strengthen local businesses to grow and innovate and convention centre and five-star hotel. I know my community expects considered views and more information is needed on The Mildura project as at present there are no plans for the Victorian Government to grant a second casino licence.

Transparency? I am committed to being open and transparent at every opportunity. There is always room for improvement. The council chooses to keep financial delegation for the CEO lower than a lot of councils, meaning contracts must come to formal council meetings, not just signed off by the CEO. These ­meetings are “in camera” for commercial­-in-confidence reasons.

Reducing rate increases? Continual review of effective and efficient services. Our library services are a great example. Technology means we can test efficiencies with the community, challenging if there is a more cost-effective way of delivery. Some services may expand and some services may be delivered differently. A State Government subsidy is needed for isolated councils that cannot rely on their neighbouring council for service support.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? 

Community pride, completion of the riverfront, population growth, growing tourism, all children have the same education opportunities as their city cousins.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Answered above.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: Answered above.

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes

Ali Cupper

Age: 36

Background: Solicitor, lecturer in social work and social policy, child protection practitioner and practice leader, family law mediator, founding director of the Australian Advocacy & Politics Summer School, director of Mildura Working Man’s Club.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Mark Eckel. 3. Helen Healy. 4. Jason Modica. 5. James Price.

Most important issue? Rate reduction. We need to build trust and confidence in the community that the council takes this issue seriously. We need to provide more detail about our sustainability review and convene a community/people’s panel to ensure deeper and more thorough community participation in the budget process.

How to encourage development/investment? By promoting Mildura as a destination of choice for fledgling entrepreneurs, highlighting our relatively low cost of living and impending opportunities of the NBN.

Transparency? Yes. In addition to the community/ceople’s canel, the council could introduce an open public question session at every ordinary council meeting. Ideally, we would allocate 30 minutes for open questions from the floor. Alternatively, the format could be modelled on this week’s candidates forum, where an independent (non-council) representative would moderate questions and select one or two, to which councillors would provide a timed response.

Reducing rate increases? To develop alternative income streams through a more entrepreneurial approach to council business.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Giving as much priority to social inclusion as we do to rate reduction. 

Do you support in principle: New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes (but unable to vote due to conflict of interest in directorship at Mildura Working Man’s Club).

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Yes (but only if councillors’ travel expenses are deducted from their quarterly allowance).

Glenn Milne

Age: 58

Background: Welfare worker, press photo­grapher, Diploma of Business, Associate Diploma of Welfare, graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Min Poole. 3. Sharyon Peart. 4. Simon Clemence. 5. Jill Joslyn.

Most important issue? The budget is always the most important issue. Meeting the requirements and expectations of the community and constant cost shifting by the State Government will require the next council to make some hard decisions. The council must lobby the State Government for a better distribution of state funds.

How to encourage development/investment? I would like to see the State Government free planning laws. We need a stronger development arm of the council to work with and encourage investors from overseas. We are seeing huge investment in horticulture in the tens of millions of dollars.

Transparency? There are areas where the council can improve and they are being worked on. There are matters that need to be confidential to provide the best outcome for the community, particularly with contracts.

Reducing rate increases? Rate increases have been falling steadily over the past eight years. This needs to continue through cost cutting,

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community?  Mildura already is.

Do you support in principle: New motorsport precinct: I support this due to the huge economic benefits for the community.

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: I support this in principle, needs a business case though.

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): I support a conference centre without a casino.

Green waste service: I support this in principle.

Lobbying for return of passenger train: The council passed a motion this year supporting lobbying, which I supported.

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: Not supportive in general and would like to hear more from the public.

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Only through private investment.

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: Sister Cities are encouraged by the State Government to open doors to education, investment and development.

Mark Cory

Age: 38

Background: Shearer by trade, then became a welder, owner-operator of a small engineering business and truck driver.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Phil Douglass. 3. Anthony Cirillo. 4. Walter MacKenzie. 5. Domenico Capogreco.

Most important issue? Getting the books in order and bringing the council back from the brink of insolvency.

How to encourage development/investment? By cutting red tape, creating a plan for the next 50 years with a clear outlay for what industries can go where so developers will have a clear outline before applying and then a streamlined application process can get projects under way.

Transparency? Yes, line-by-line accounting with a quarterly statement and comparisons to the same time the previous year.

Reducing rate increases?  Reduce management, re-evaluate all items such as insurance, leasing of vehicles, negotiating a fuel price/card deal with a fuel retailer. Attempt to get other councils to join in to increase bidding power.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community?Less regulation, especially in things like small building developments, the farmers markets and roadside stalls. Let our own unique culture develop.

Do you support in principle: New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes

Green waste service: No, we already have private companies provding that service.

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: No answer supplied.

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: If they raise the money via sausage sizzles or their own pocket, yes.

Phil Douglass

Age: 65

Background: Mining, construction and education and training sector. 

Top 4 preferences: 2. Domenico Capogreco. 3. Anthony Cirillo. 4. Walter MacKenzie. 5. Mark Cory.

Most important issue? Providing real and sustainable rate relief across all sectors. 

How to encourage development/investment? Rate reduction across the board to boost investment and reduce red tape to aid developers as well as encouraging industry to the region.

Transparency? Transparency and accountability should be a given. More decisions should made in public meetings and less in councillor forums. The council must be more ready to provide unrestricted information on request and without delay. 

Reducing rate increases? The four proven principles: innovation, waste reduction, economies of scale and workforce redesign have been used throughout the public and private sector to restructure operations and reduce costs.  This, along with retiring debt, will produce savings which in turn should be used to reduce rates. 

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community?  

Mildura already has the basics for this and it can be achieved with a proactive and engaging council having this as a goal. Embracing innovation and encouraging new business into the area and cutting red tape in planning should have a knock-on effect that would help business and investor confidence. A council putting its efforts into promoting our lifestyle, avoiding using non-factual and unhelpful statements about why our rates are so high and working on reducing them is an essential first step in this process. 

Do you support in principle: 

New motorsport precinct: Yes, provided its development is not a cost to the council. 

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: No, unless it is funded by a government grant.      

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: No, unless funded by other sources than the council.

Walter MacKenzie

No answers supplied.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Phil Douglass. 3. Domenico Capogreco. 4. Anthony Cirillo. 5. Mark Cory.

Simon Clemence

Age: 61

Background: Police inspector and local area commander for Mildura, with 39 years as a police officer, primarily as detective and senior investigator. Graduate Certificate in Applied Management. 

Top 4 preferences: 2. Sharyon Peart. 3. Jill Joslyn. 4. Jo Clutterbuck. 5. Max Thorburn.

Most important issue? Lower rates. Lower debt, examine expenditure, employment/wages for cost cutting/saving.

How to encourage development/investment? Examine world’s best practice in attracting business, develop a strategy, analyse positives and negatives of doing business in Mildura, develop a portfolio of appropriate business types, target these businesses (domestic and international) and review ouctomes.

Transparency? Yes, the public is not well-informed. The council’s communications strategy is failing. Regular public forums should be held across the district and a ­quorum of councillors should attend.

Reducing rate increases? Reduce long-term debt, rationalise council employment numbers/wages against benchmark councils by natural attrition and keep a proportion of revenue for emergency funding to reduce the need for extraneous loans.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? Reducing rates, increasing employment through business attraction, addressing underlying social issues such as poverty, disengagement, mental health, drug addiction, family violence and child maltreatment, which are drivers of crime, with a view to ­creating a more socially functional, safe and attractive community. Support improvement to the wellbeing and connectivity of the Aboriginal community. Encourage green, clean technologies. Increase events such as motorsports, passenger rail and further and better foreshore development.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Complex yes, casino no.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: No

James Price

Age: 31

Background: Victims of crime social worker,  co-director of UpStart Co-Working Space.

Top 4 preferences: 2. Deb Bogenhuber. 3. Helen Healy. 4. Mark Eckel. 5. Jason Modica.

Most important issue? I don’t believe that one particular issue should take precedence over another, as the council does not exist to focus on just one issue. First port of call would be working with a council that creates and supports an innovative and entrepreneurial culture, so our community can find solutions to a range of issues from rate pressures, our water future, the creation of new jobs and industry and care for our elderly residents.

How to encourage development/investment? Less red tape and a bit more red carpet. No matter where you stand on the proposed Mildura Convention Centre proposal, the proponents being told a big “no” by the mayor straight off the bat didn’t do much to sell Mildura as a place to even consider investing in. Developments and investments do need to be judged based on their merits, but we have to, at the very least, be open to a discussion with the private sector, otherwise we will simply not even be on the radar as a place to invest. I would actively promote Mildura as a municipality that is open for business.

Transparency? Absolutely, ratepayers have a right to know where and how their money is being spent.

Reducing rate increases? The council needs to be innovative and entrepreneurial about the way it goes about its business. 

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? We need to walk the talk though when it comes to inclusion and diversity and tap into the skills and talents of our entire population. Diverse communities can strengthen our economy. 

Do you support in principle (yes/no): New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): Yes

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: No

Greg Brown

No answers supplied

Top 4 preferences:  2. Michael Jones. 3. Max Thorburn. 4. Anth­ony Cirillo. 5. Gavin Sedgmen.

Helen Healy

Age not supplied.

Background: Event management and marketing consultant

Top 4 preferences: 2. Jason Modica. 3. Deb Bogenhuber. 4. James Price. 5. Ali Cupper.

Most important issue? Accountability, transparency and positivity.

How to encourage development/investment? Lobby smartly for investment and provide incentives to encourage new industries, especially renew­able energies such as solar power.

Transparency? Our council needs to keep people informed of key indicators, improve how it communicates with the public and be consistent in planning decisions.

Reducing rate increases? A complete review of staffing, salaries, wasted resources, an investigation of revenue-raising initiatives such as a water bank and strategies to attract talented people to increase our population and share the rates.

Making Mildura the most liveable, people-friendly community? A council we can be proud of and which engages the community in aiming high would be a good start.

Do you support in principle:

New motorsport precinct: Yes

New Mildura South sports ­precinct: Yes

The Mildura proposal (hotel, conference centre and boutique casino): As an event manager I have seen us lose numerous opportunities to host major national and inter­national conferences  (being well placed with our airport and in the centre of Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney), because we do not have the venue to host large numbers with different rooms for keynotes, meals and smaller sessions. A conference centre would significantly increase tourism, but if it included a casino, there would need to be so many assurances and I am not convinced these could be achieved.

Green waste service: Yes

Lobbying for return of passenger train: Yes

Closing Irymple and/or Mallee Track libraries: No

Continuation of Mildura Riverfront Master Plan: Yes

Reciprocal council Sister City visits: It requires a review to investigate the value of councillor attendance as I have heard mixed reviews of their contribution to the outcomes of these trips. For instance, I would prefer to see reimbursement for one councillor attending every Ouyen Inc or town progress association meeting.

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