My decision to run again for mayor was made with full knowledge of the challenges of the task. But challenge is also opportunity and I believe the three major opportunities for our beautiful region are the same as they were this time last year: employment, planning and our city’s reputation.
We all want to be proud of the name Geelong and we want to be able to find a job here and live the lifestyle we choose. And parents want the same for their kids. Currently, it is hard to get work, the urban sprawl is frightening and the mood is gloomy.
Local government can’t solve all those issues, but it can have a huge influence. People clearly want a council that is honest, non-political and accessible. Right now it is too hard to get things done; our council has a national reputation for being ‘difficult’.
People want the mayor and council roles to be about people not politics. Sure, workplace politics is part of life. But just because poor behaviour exists does not mean it’s acceptable. If elected, I’ll publicly name unacceptable behaviour as it happens, until it stops happening.
As for party politics there is no place for that in local council - covert or overt. The undercurrent of politics is destructive. If people spent the same time and energy on getting the job done, creating ideas and celebrating each other’s efforts, as they do on party-based gossip and intrigue, Geelong would be flying.
The next mayor can pick up the baton on the values-based approach set up by Keith Fagg, to insist on professional behaviour, lift the standards and clean up the perception of our council. I appreciate the work of councillors and of council officers and I also understand the role of media in shaping our city. Together, with manners and discipline we can set and achieve a higher standard of performance.
I have many exciting ideas and fully support big plans for theme parks, harbour facilities, a convention centre, bird sanctuary and more. And making these ideas happen starts with discipline, intelligence, imagination and compassion. That’s the change we need.