I have a background in administration at executive level, experience working with the Parliament of Victoria and as an elected representative. I am passionate and committed to being involved with my community and would like to use the experience I have gained to representing the needs of Western Port Ward and playing a role in the future direction of Bass Coast Shire. I have provided for you, experience I find relevant to the role and would add, life experience has also played a significant role in shaping the person I have become.
I stepped away from pubic life in 2010 due to family tragedy and the need for me to be available for my young children. It took some time for me to find my feet and settle my family into a new life which we found on the Bass Coast. We are so happy to have been fortunate to become a part of such a wonderful community and now that my children have grown, I find myself with the time required to commit to once again doing what I love. It is my hope that the Bass Coast community will give me that opportunity and I will commit to working hard to provide transparent good governance for all residents of Bass Coast.
(1) Elected to Frankston City Council 2003, I participated in the following committees:
• CEO Performance Review Committee
• Frankston Arts Centre Board of Management
• Green Wedge Environmental Task Force
• Frankston Susono Association
• South Eastern Waste Management Board
• Water Campaign Program
• Audit Committee
• Community Grants Committee
• Finance Sub-Committee
• Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee
• Frankston/Mornington Tourist Railway Advisory Board
• Mitcham Frankston Freeway Community Advisory Group
• Public Arts Reference Group
• South Eastern Integrated Transport Group
(2) Mayor Frankston City 2004
(3) Candidate for state seat of Frankston 2006 (Liberal) – Unsuccessful
(4) Intended to stand for state seat of Frankston in 2010. Withdrew due to family tragedy.
(5) More recently I have been involved in the following:
• President Tooradin Business Association
• Bass Valley Landcare Group (current)
I am no longer involved with any political party and would describe myself as a conservative with a social and environmental conscience who enjoys the ability to judge each issue on its merits and to truly be free to vote in line with resident’s sentiments.
What I see in Bass Coast is a competition for funds. Each community has their own projects that all have valid arguments. Having the ability to negotiate will be paramount to the role of elected Councillors in securing a share of the budget for the ward they represent while ensuring all funds are being spent in the interest of the whole of Bass Coast.
Sensitive and balanced planning will be crucial in providing an environment that sustains the population and protects the sensitive natural environment that we all love about Bass Coast. It requires giving our planning department the tools to ensure appropriate and sensitive developments are pursued through well drafted planning policies and strategic plans. And ensuring our planning staff feel confident using these tools to manage this often complicated but crucial responsibility.
A continued push and strong advocacy for Bass Coast to state and federal governments for investment is crucial for the continued provision of services and facilities. With rates capped since 2016 (and rightly so to protect residents from over zealous councils), it does limit local governments ability to solely provide all that is needed.
It is vital that council remain frugal in its management and that every contract entered into on behalf of residents is fiercely negotiated to ensure the best possible outcomes are delivered.
The tourism industry is heavily relied on to boost the economy of Bass Coast and to provide employment. I would like to see Council take an active role in widening the net and to encourage small businesses and other suitable industries to locate to Bass Coast to stabilise our economy, especially with recent developments during Covid19 that exposed Bass Coasts significant reliance on Tourism.
Back to basics. After walking the streets talking directly to residents I am convinced most of us are focussed on the basics. Rubbish collection, footpaths, road maintenance, drainage, parklands and our environment.
A sustainable council. I would like to see a concerted effort in addressing climate change and lobbying for funds to address the impacts ie: beach erosion, land erosion, investment in renewable energy, recycling… all of which are important for future generations.
There is so much work to be done and the abovementioned is just the tip of the iceberg! I hope it has given you an indication of my holistic approach and commitment to work hard to secure the best possible outcomes for the Bass Coast community.
Questions 1 thru 15 are from BCRRA and 16 thru 34 are collated from the community questions received. Candidates were asked to respond to all 34
- Why do you believe the community should vote for you?
I have had years of experience working with the Parliament of Victoria and as an elected Councillor for the City of Frankston, serving a year as mayor. A large local government, Frankston City has given me the skills I intend to draw on to negotiate the best outcomes for the residents of Bass Coast. As my forever home I would like to play a role in the future direction of Bass Coast and use my knowledge to work for the provision of facilities and services for a growing population while finding a balance that protects our incredible environment.
- What are your strengths in working with people?
I am a bubbly, friendly and an approachable person who enjoys assisting my community to navigate the sometimes, confusing web that is government. My ability to really listen, engage and my desire to help, makes the role of a Councillor the perfect fit for me, but don’t let the smile fool you, I do my research and can be assertive when the need requires.
- If elected, how will you demonstrate that you stand at the front of the community rather than standing beside the bureaucracy?
Part of being an effective Councillor is to ensure you are engaging with the community you represent, listening to their concerns, their ideas and ensuring this remains at the forefront of your thinking when decisions are to be made. This can only be achieved through immersing yourself in your community. On matters before Council, it is important to understand the Agenda and read reports provided by officers however the key is to do your own RESEARCH and where alternative options that are supported by your community are available, lobby your fellow Councillors for support, know all the facts and be strong in your ability to debate for better outcomes.
- What considerations, inclusions or deletions will you take when forming your new Council Plan?
I am continuing to research all council documents and seek input from Western Port Ward residents. I can offer the following points of interest I would like to see included in the Council Plan for progression of works.
Additions to strategies to be developed as part of the Council Plan:
• The Bass Coast Strategic Coastal Planning Framework – with specific attention on the development of Coastal nodes; ie: Grantville.
• San Remo, Newhaven & Cape Woolamai Structure Plan
• Wonthaggi Commercial and Industrial Land Assessment
The current Economic Development Strategy will require updating and should also be a focus of the Council Plan with specific attention required to seeking alternatives to the heavy economic reliance on tourism.
- How will you demonstrate that you remain focused on financial discipline at Council?
Council must seek a much greater contribution of funds from state and federal government. With the state government capping rates in 2016 (rightly so, in order to protect communities from overzealous councils) it has made it imperative that we use strong negotiation skills. An example is the recently negotiated deal with state and federal governments to provide the Cowes Community & Cultural Centre. I would argue that Bass Coast should have received the $10million from the state without having to enter into a loan agreement. Recently Torquay received $20million in grants, comprising $10million from the state and $10million from the federal government for an Aquatic Centre, this grant did not require the repayment of funds.
- Is Council’s 4 year Strategic Resource Plan together with the 10 year financial plan appropriate to meet the future needs of The Bass Coast Shire Council and its Ratepayers?
Council is restrained by legislation and will need to be frugal in its approach while fiercely negotiating with state and federal governments for a larger slice of taxpayer funds. The future needs of the region are a fast growing and ever changing landscape. The current plans are a guide to assist in the future direction of Bass Coast however should be amended as the financial environment changes and as the community evolves.
- Will you be prepared to challenge the system (council officers and fellow councillors) to keep your constituents well informed
I would take my role as a representative of the people very seriously. Councillors are there to express the views of their community and to negotiate the best outcomes. For a Councillor to be effective they need to build a relationship of trust with their community as there will be times when Councillors are unable to discuss details due to commercial in confidence.
- Will you take action to investigate the 10 year Waste Contract details in the first 12 months of your term as a councillor? Will you review the contract model settings and make findings publicly available?
Waste management is always a priority as it is often the first issue raised when thinking of your local Council. I am keen to investigate the contract details.
- Will you support continued live streaming of open Council Meetings and availability of a publicly available video archive?
Yes! I support live streaming.
- Will you take action to review the Governance Rules Policy in the first 12 months of your term as a councillor including community consultation?
I was disappointed this policy was not held over for consideration by the newly elected council. I understand it was adopted due to a deadline placed by the state government however an extension of time could have been sort with local government elections approaching.
- Will you take action to Review the Media Engagement Policy in the first 12 months of your term as a councillor including community consultation?
Again, this policy was adopted in March this year and I would have argued for it to be held over for a decision by the newly elected Council. There are sections of this policy that I would like to have clarified and considered by the newly elected Council.
- If elected, what commitment will you make to improve Council engagement with the wider community and build community engagement with your local ward?
It is my opinion that Council as an organisation has made appropriate attempts at engaging with the wider community and seeking input from residents on matters of importance. As a Councillor I will seek to engage with residents through a variety of avenues.
- How will you ensure that the CEO and officers genuinely and respectfully answer all public questions with a sincere response that address the core of each question?
I would argue that the CEO and Officers do genuinely and respectfully answer all public questions with a sincere response. Whether those responses are seen to address the core of each question is open to personal opinion. If it is my opinion that a response has not addressed the question, then as a Councillor it is my role to seek further clarification and I will do so.
- Do you believe that keeping any increases to rates, fees and charges within the State Government Rate Cap or below the CPI increase is paramount for Council?
Any increase in rates needs to be balanced against the benefit to the community. It is important to remember the pressure for services, facilities and capital works is always a big consideration for Council at budget time, this is why as stated previously, we need to negotiate and advocate strongly to state and federal governments for a larger investment in Bass Coast. I would have argued against a rate rise this year with the impacts of Covid19 hitting our region hard, this was a time Council could have shown greater support during the hardship our community is experiencing.
- Would you be in favour of regular virtual community connection sessions in lieu of the previous model used by Council?
Yes I would support embracing technological abilities now available however I would also be mindful of the sections of our community who do not have access or understanding of these options.
- Why are you standing as a Councillor?
I enjoy interacting with my community and can see the vision Bass Coast has for the future. I would like to play a part in the journey. I have the knowledge and experience to ensure community views and expectations are at the forefront of the decision making process with a focus on transparent good governance.
- Do you live in the ward you seek to represent, and why should we vote for you? Community Engagement
Yes, I do live in the Western Port Ward and I am keen to remain immersed in my community through involvement with local community groups, sporting clubs, public events and to remain available to residents through email, social media, PO Box and telephone.
- Council recently commenced Live Streaming meetings (for a trial period). They also recently adopted policies defining Council engagement with social and other media. How do you feel about these?
I support the introduction of live streaming council meetings. I would have argued against adopting the new policies of council engagement with social and other media with the impending local government elections. It is my understanding there was a deadline from state government however an extension could have been sort.
- How would you improve Council engagement with the wider community and build community engagement with your local ward?
Refer question 17.
- Public Transparency and good Governance are at the core of BCRRA’s purpose. Council has recently adopted new policies covering Governance Rules and Public Transparency.
Refer question 18.
- Do you feel there is a need to review these policies, and if so when should this be done?
I will be keen to discuss the matter with the newly elected council.
- What role do you feel community consultation has in reviewing these policies?
It is incumbent upon elected Councillors to seek input from the community they represent, enough to be able to make decisions that reflect community sentiment. It would be impossible to conduct formal community consultation on every aspect of Council business.
- What measures would you put in place to demonstrate honesty and transparency in your decisions and spending of ratepayers’ money?
Refer question 5. Decisions are made based on expert reports provided by Council Officers and due diligence conducted by Councillors.
- Do you think ‘The Fair Go’ rate cap is better or worse than limiting rate rises to CPI?
Fair Go Rates are determined by the Victorian Government annually and capped in line with CPI each year.
- Bass Coast Shire has budgeted for a significant amount of Capital Works in the coming years. How do you feel about the level of borrowing necessary to deliver these?
Refer questions 5 & 14.
- What is your opinion of Council’s current financial position? And of the outlook projected in the Long Term Financial Plan?
Until elected as a representative I wish to reserve my opinion however I do have a number of points of interest here and would like to be briefed before commenting.
- What is your opinion of the 10-year waste contract agreed by the last Council late in 2016?
This is another matter I am very interested in and will seek a full briefing on.
- And what do you think of the (uncapped) charge for waste services being separate to the general rate charge? Community
Once briefed on the 10 year contract, I will consider all options.
- What is important for you about township boundaries and character within the shire?
Each township holds its own individual character that should be protected. This can be achieved through Strategic Plans and Planning Policies. I support the need for further development that is sensitive to our environment. It will be critical for Council to find a balance between the two.
- What is your feeling about the condition of council owned roads and footpaths and bike paths?
There is a lot of work to do with local roads. Residents need to be aware of “special charge schemes” that are now imposed on unmade roads, requiring property owners to contribute. There are many areas of Western Port Ward that have unmade roads that need regular grading and footpaths are severely lacking. All of these measures need to be addressed amongst a huge demand on available funds.
- What are your views on the level of importance of art, culture, and indigenous recognition in the Council framework?
I love the Arts and see them playing a big part in the health and wellbeing of our community. Celebrating culture and promoting our indigenous community in my opinion is very important. I would like to see our indigenous community celebrated through provision of space that tells their local story. A story that should be told.
- Statistically, one in four Bass Coast Residences has a dog. How do you feel about existing restrictions in place? What, if anything would you change?
I support the provision of dog friendly areas including off leash. As long as our wildlife are protected and people are aware of the space and take the necessary precautions while dog owners conduct themselves in a responsible manner.
- What would you like to see BCSC do to address Climate Change?
Council needs to take every opportunity available to address climate change. I am concerned at the erosion of land and beaches that are just two of many visible signs to the community that there is a problem. We need to continue to advocate for funds to address this as a matter of urgency.
- How do you rank the importance of tourism against local amenity?
There is no doubt that our economy heavily relies on tourism so it is important that we continue to support this industry. As stated previously, council should be engaging business and encouraging other industries to expand our economy. I see local amenity as important and will lobby heavily for improvements in this area as it goes to the heart of community pride.
Questions 35 thru 88 are ALL community questions exactly as we received them.
Candidates were given the option to reply to as many or as few as they wished.
(Questions 16 – 34 above were collated from these)
- What topics or subjects do you consider very important for the Councillor Induction Training workshop?
When I ran for Council in 2003 there was no Councillor Induction Training. I am really pleased to see this has been adopted and I support the need. The current model is a good start, but there is always room for improvement and expansion.
- Do you live in the ward to which you seek to be elected?
Yes I do
- I would like to know what you are standing for.
I am standing to be a voice for the community. In my campaign travels I am hearing constantly that residents don’t know who their current Councillors are. I am concerned about the pressure on planning, the financial and economic stability of Bass coast and the provision of facilities and services.
- I would like to know who will stand up for the local people of this area
I am hoping I will be lucky enough to secure enough votes that that person could be me.
- On what matters are you standing for council?
My interests include but are not limited to sensitive planning, provision of the basics: rubbish collection, footpaths, sporting facilities, programs supporting our community and providing connection, environmental protection, fiscal financial management. All of these in balance.
- What is your number 1 priority for the council?
To represent the views of the community of Western Port Ward and to make informed transparent decisions on behalf of the whole of Bass Coast Shire.
- Are you now, or have you ever been, affiliated to a political party? If so, which one?
I have a previous history 10+ years ago with the Liberal Party however am not affiliated with any political party. I consider myself conservative with a social and environmental conscience.
- Will your loyally be to the Ratepayers first and foremost as it is the Ratepayers who will be voting for you to represent them?
Yes, this is one of the reasons I have not been affiliated with any political party for over 10 years, as I wish to be free to make decisions without influence.
- Given the current inadequate four days notice for publication of the detail of items for decision at council meetings, would you vote to extend this to one week extra (as per the previous council)?
In consultation with fellow Councillors, I am open to changes that are beneficial for residents.
- How will you focus on building community engagement?
I am open to hearing from residents, being involved with community groups, sporting clubs and business. And will continue to reach out to the community to gain their perspective on items before Council.
- If elected, will you work closely with the various Ratepayers and Residents associations, including attending their meetings (face-to-face or online)?
Yes, I may not be available to attend all meetings but I will make an effort to engage at every opportunity.
- What capability and experience do you have to manage the CEO in order to bring improved transparency, financial discipline, and genuine community engagement to Bass Coast Shire?
It is not the role of a Councillor to manage the CEO, the Council makes decisions as a collective group in relation to CEO Performance.
- Will you support all council meetings being fully open to all ratepayers and video cast all council meetings?
Yes. Please note there are items that come before Council that will require to be dealt with in-camera. These items usually involve contractual arrangements that require to be dealt with in commercial confidence.
- Will you support the continuance of live streaming of Council Meetings?
- Being an Elder of the LGBTIQ community – what do you intend to do to you show your support to us [reminding everyone that we make up approx 15% of the community]?
Diversity and inclusiveness encompasses acceptance of individual uniqueness, I respect and recognise the differences and similarities in our community irrespective of race, ethnicity, physical ability, income, age, education, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or politics.
- Are you prepared to join in with and work with a local LGBTIQ group and help suggest and
work through ideas and processes? Transparency
Yes, I am prepared to work with any community group that would like to work toward making Bass Coast a healthier, happier and more inclusive community for all.
- How will you demonstrate transparency in your decisions and spending of rate payers’ money?
I am committed to transparent good governance and that will become evident in the decisions I make if I am fortunate enough to be chosen to represent Western Port Ward.
- What measures would you put in place to ensure transparency to the ratepayers of council decisions.
See question 50.
- Will you take action to review the Governance Rules Policy before mid term of your councillor period and set a review period of 4 years and seek public comment?
See question 18. These are matters I am prepared to speak with the newly elected Council about.
- Will you truly promote and conduct an open and honest council
See question 50.
- What is your measure of Performance for the CEO and Mayor of council at this time?
It is not my role to sit in judgement of the CEO or Mayor. A Mayor will be elected following the election of a new Council and the performance of the CEO will be evaluated by the full Council at the appropriate time.
- Do you support maximum CPI increase in rates each year, including waste charges?
Any increase in rates should be considered at the time of budget discussions and in conjunction with considerations of the capital works program. It is my preference to keep rates as low as is possible.
- The Strategic Resource Financial Plan and the Budget are extremely important to Ratepayers and the operations of Council. What concerns have you with the current finances of council?
I understand the importance of these documents to the community and I will seek full details and discuss with the newly elected Council before making any public statements on this matter.
- What steps and actions will you take to ensure Councils Capital Works Projects listed in the budget are achieved during the budget year and is councils Investments in the best interest of ratepayers?
I would like the opportunity to look at the capital works program in its entirety with a detailed report on its progress. This will be a matter I hope to discuss with fellow Councillors.
- Are there any plans to extend the cycle path networks in the Bass Coast area?
I expect these are items listed on the capital works program and will be considered as part of budget talks that are inclusive of the capital works program. I am a supporter of increasing these networks.
- Do you believe that P.I is getting a fair share of council services
A whole of shire approach needs to be considered when it comes to council services.
- Do you support all Phillip Island beaches being dog friendly, on lead, all year round, and the 3 off lead beaches being off lead all year round?
I am the owner of a golden retriever and I support designated off leash areas. I am also a wildlife lover and I am sure most dog owners are too. I would want to be confident our wildlife will not be affected by any increased off leash areas.
- Do you support giving responsible dog owners more opportunities to walk their on-leash dogs on Bass Coast beaches? Do you support having designated off-leash beach areas in each locality?
See question 61.
- Do you support the duplication of the bridge from San Remo?
- Do you support the introduction of more off lead beaches on the island?
See question 61.
- Is there a focus on improving art & culture and indigenous recognition?
I am a supporter of the arts & culture and would like to see more recognition of our indigenous community.
- Will you assist Phillip Island residents and business owners by doing everything you can to ensure there is an appropriate increase in rubbish collection (both red and yellow bins) during peak holiday seasons? Preamble: Phillip Island has an unacceptable problem with excessive rubbish during major tourist season as a small red bin, and large yellow bin pickup once/fortnight is far less than required for such an increase in population with excess rubbish demands during the festive season. Please note, this will not increase the amount of rubbish collected, it will just save residents trying to store rubbish or being required to pick up rubbish dumped around the island.
I am a supporter of increased rubbish collection in peak season however will hold my judgement until a full brief of costings is provided.
- What emphasis will be put on maintaining the roads in the council? In particular the streets in residential towns
There is a lot of work to be done in this area, especially in the Western Port Ward where many streets are unmade and require grading. Our rural roads are also in need of regular maintaining. I am mindful of “special charge schemes” and the financial burden this can place on homeowners. I am supportive however in doing as much as possible in this space.
- What is your policy regarding dogs and dog friendly areas, especially relating to beaches?
See question 61
- Why have you been against some of the developments that have been put forward, namely the United service station in Inverloch which would have without question resulted in cheaper fuel which would have ultimately been of benefit to the large number of retirees in the area?
This question is one for the current sitting council.
- Would you support adding more / adding to playground areas?
Yes, playgrounds play an important role in connecting our community and provide our children with physical activity, social skills and motor skills. I would support as many playgrounds as our budget will allow and encourage developer contribution for such facilities.
- Do you believe that Business is getting full support of council
I think it is crucial that Council support small business who have suffered terribly with the recent lockdowns.
- How do you propose that Council promotes community connections to facilitate the interaction of individuals and groups and to provide role models for healthy, active, and positive living?
Council plays a significant role in this space by providing community funding for programs at our community centres, running of community events and support of our sporting clubs.
- How should Council support programs to counsel the community in general and individuals on mental health problems and the abuse of drugs and alcohol?
This has typically been an area funded by state and federal governments. I would encourage Council to continue to advocate for these services and offer support wherever possible.
- What would be your attitude to the coordinated development of the arts (particularly music, art, and dance), in the Shire?
See questions 31 & 64
- What do you propose to do about the erosion along Silverleaves foreshore area?
I support the regeneration of our landscape and the need to address beach / land erosion across Bass Shire.
- What will you do to reduce carbon emissions in Bass Coast?
Council can play a significant role in advocating for climate change. The environment should be considered in all decisions made by Council. Council can lead by example by adopting a policy for using and advocating for solar energy, being water conscious and I would like council to investigate carbon sequestration to compliment the work of Landcare in carbon off setting.
- Will you support (or possibly increase) the current council targets and community aspirations for greenhouse gas emission reductions?
See question 76.
- What are the principles that guide you to ensure that the environment of Phillip Island and the entire Bass Coast Shire is adequately protected from industrial and residential development?
Council has identified those areas of environmental significance and planning policy needs to be airtight to protect these areas. I support the protection of areas of environmental significance.
- The Albert Ruttle wetlands is a 22 acre community reserve in Inverloch, which has been enjoyed by residents for more than 25 years. Via a planning loophole it is now in private ownership as two housing blocks. What action would you take to ensure the council applies the development plan overlay and returns this unique wetland to the community as a public reserve?
My apologies I am unaware of this issue. I would recommend speaking with your local Councillors and requesting they raise the matter with Council.
- What is your priority on protecting local ratepayers’ and residents’ rights first and tourism second?
Council places a big emphasise on tourism as it is the major contributor to our economy (providing thousands of jobs). I do support Council looking to encourage other industry to safe guard our economy from crisis’ such as the past six month with Covid19. The health and wellbeing or residents should be a priority for Council.
- Will you ensure local By-Laws are applied to tourists in the same way they are applied to local residents?
By-laws should be adhered to equally across the Shire.
- Will you promote infrastructure needs e.g. footpaths etc. ahead of infrastructure for tourism.
My priority is for the needs of residents of Bass Coast Shire
- What is your vision for Tourism development?
Tourism is the number one employment industry and should be protected. I would like to see Council encourage other industries to ensure the security of our economy. I am aware of Councils future plans for tourism and look forward to further briefings in this regard.
- How will you reduce increasing urbanisation on Phillip Island?
This will only occur through planning policies and strategic plans. It is a matter that should be raised with Island Ward Councillors for consideration by the Council.
- What is your view on the density of housing development on Phillip Island?
Although I will take a keen interest in what happens on Phillip Island, the Western Port Ward has a small section of the Island. This is a matter better raised with Island Ward Councillors.
- Do you agree that the proposed development at 92 Norsemens Road Coronet Bay is inappropriate in scale for the location and does not meet the requirements of land titled Rural Activity Zone?
It is my understanding this application has been withdrawn.
- Given the more than adequate supply of residential land within the shire, will you hold the town boundaries where they are (or reduce them where they are inappropriate)?
There is a formal process for setting town boundaries through the Municipal Strategic Plan, structure plans and strategies. All of these documents go through rigorous community consultation before being presented to Council for adoption.
- Will you fight and oppose foreign takeovers of land and environmentally damaging developments?
I support the retention of land and business for Australian ownership. I support a balanced approach to development and am a strong supporter of our environment.
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