I may be the last person on the ballot paper, but I’m definitely your number 1 choice for Council.
I live in and understand the Ward I wish to represent. I have owned my house since 1981 in Cowes and since 2013 have made the seachange.
Professionally, I hold a BA in Media and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. I hold accredited diplomas in Gemmology, Diamond Technology and Jewellery Valuations.
I am a leader in the jewellery industry. For the last 45 years I have been the director of our family business Klepner’s Jewellers established in 1889. I have been president and chairman of the Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA) (1981 to present). I am a board member of the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) (2009 to present), and I am Australia’s representative to the World Jewellery Congress (2009 to present). My contributions to the jewellery industry have been recognised by my peers by awarding me an honourary life membership of the GAA, (2001) the youngest ever to be awarded that honour. Internationally, I was awarded an Honorary Fellowship to the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (2013) for my contributions to Gemmology. I have been elected a member of the Royal Society of Victoria (2001).
Due to my deep industry involvement, I have the skillsets to make a positive contribution for our community on Council. My professional industry involvement has given me a deep knowledge of Governance; for example, I know how meetings should be run. I was the governance officer of the GAA from 1990-2009. I also contributed to the writing of the GAA and the JAA constitutions. In my term as president of the Reason Party (Victoria) (2017-18) I helped write the Reason (Victoria) constitution.
I am now running as an independent for the Island Ward. I am no stranger to the political process. In 2017-18. I was involved in saving the Cowes northern beaches from the car ferry terminal which catapulted me into local politics. As a result in 2018 I stood as an independent for the state seat of Bass running on island issues. I understand local government and have been sitting in as an observer to many of the BCSC meetings since the 2018. I am a good networker and negotiator. I will work with my fellow Councillors to achieve the needs for our island and Shire.
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 may be the last name on the ballot but I am definitely your number 1 choice for Council. A vote for ME is a vote for YOU!
Why vote for me? Three words: Rates roads and Rubbish. Our rates are too high and the rate payers don’t get value for money, our roads need better maintenance and our waste collection fees are too high and need to be incorporated into the rates. The red bin must be collected weekly in summer. I will faithfully represent the community concerns at Council. We need better Accountability, transparency and more engagement with the community at Council meetings. Answers to questions must be meaningful and the 50 word limit has to be raised. Meetings must continue to be live streamed and I would move that video questions be allowed. Capital works that I support: the aquatic centre, the sports hub including a regional skate park, and the construction of a interconnecting safely lit network of bike tracks. Also I will keep the pressure of the State Government to deliver on the promise to complete the Community hospital. Lastly not raising the rates next year.
- What are your strengths in working with people?
I am a good networker and negotiator. I believe I am a good leader can inspire people to come together to achieve a goal. I am no stranger to the political process and governance. I was the governance officer of the Gemmological Association of Australia (1990-2009). I also helped write the constitution of the Jewellers Association of Australia and contributed to constitution of the Reason Party (Victoria). I have constantly attended the ordinary council meetings of BCSC since 2018 so that I have an understanding of BCSC if elected. I have been the director of the family business Klepner’s established in 1889 for 45 years. I have a good and achievable vision for our island. I will work with my fellow Councillors and the CEO to achieve positive outcomes for our community.
- If elected, how will you demonstrate that you stand at the front of the community rather than standing beside the bureaucracy?
As I stated in question 2, I am a good negotiator. It has to be remembered that the CEO and staff of the Bass Coast Shire are not “the enemy”. Nothing will be achieved with a them and us attitude. The Shire staff are here to help the councillors through the complexities of all the reports, policies, planning codes, Shires documents not to mention the Shire’s responsibilities under the Local Government Act. The community’s voice shall not be ignored by me in the decision making process.
- What considerations, inclusions or deletions will you take when forming your new Council Plan?
The plan will be the Mission Statement for the next 4 years. I will move to alter the Governance Rules, Ecotourism: co-ordinate the 3 bike track reports and proceed with them car charging points for the electric cars at car parks and in Thompson Street. Capital works : The Cultural Centre, The Aquatic centre and sports hub, Solar farm, the new transfer station. Find a suitable location for PICAL so that the next stage of the community hospital (as promised by the State Government) can proceed. Utilise our new cultural centre and support community groups events and programs.
- How will you demonstrate that you remain focused on financial discipline at Council
The minutes and the financial quarterly reports will show how I have performed.
- 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?This will depend on what the 4 year strategic plan contains
- Will you be prepared to challenge the system (council officers and fellow councillors) to keep your constituents well informed
Yes but within the constraints of the Shire’s media policy. I encourage ratepayers to contact me. I will not forget it was You who elected ME.
- 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?
YES far as business in confidence allows.
- Will you support continued live streaming of open Council Meetings and availability of a publicly available video archive?
- Will you take action to review the Governance Rules Policy in the first 12 months of your term as a councillor including community consultation?
- Will you take action to Review the Media Engagement Policy in the first 12 months of your term as a councillor including community consultation?
- If elected, what commitment will you make to improve Council engagement with the wider community and build community engagement with your local ward?
I will make myself available to attend as an observer to Island Voice, PIMHAG, BCRRA and other community interest groups. I will take on board resolutions of these groups so that they can be listed on the Council meeting agenda rather than just a question from the public.
- 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?
The answer is transparency and accountability
- 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?
- Would you be in favour of regular virtual community connection sessions in lieu of the previous model used by Council?
Yes. The more community engagement the better.
- Why are you standing as a Councillor?
See my earlier answers
- Do you live in the ward you seek to represent, and why should we vote for you?
Yes I live in the island Ward part B see earlier answer
- 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?
See my earlier answers
- How would you improve Council engagement with the wider community and build community engagement with your local ward?
See my earlier answers
- 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.
- Do you feel there is a need to review these policies, and if so when should this be done?
Yes in the first six months
- What role do you feel community consultation has in reviewing these policies?
The BCRRA has done a good job in keeping this on the front burner. It is appropriate that the BCRRA produce a list of recommendations that I as a councillor can take to the table in Council. Not just a long list of public questions.
- What measures would you put in place to demonstrate honesty and transparency in your decisions and spending of ratepayers’ money?
My record will speak for its self.
- Do you think ‘The Fair Go’ rate cap is better or worse than limiting rate rises to CPI?
For the next year I will vote not to increase the rates and incorporate the rubbish collection levy into the rates.
- 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?
I agree with the Capital Works program. For the foreseeable future money will never be cheaper to borrow. As long as the seat of Bass stays marginal both major political parties will ensure that promises made are kept. Grants will be given to the Shire for our capital works. As long as the “money birds” are Victoria’s premium tourist attraction Bass Coast Shire will not be overlooked.
- What is your opinion of Council’s current financial position? And of the outlook projected in the Long Term Financial Plan?
- What is your opinion of the 10-year waste contract agreed by the last Council late in 2016
It must be renegotiated. As part of this negotiation the red bins have to be collected weekly in Summer.
- And what do you think of the (uncapped) charge for waste services being separate to the general rate charge?
I am against this type of “rate creep”. I am on record saying that the rubbish charges must be incorporated in the rates.
- What is important for you about township boundaries and character within the shire?
I support the town boundaries. I love the feel of our island with its farms and hamlets. They must be protected. Every development inside the boundaries has to be judged on its merits and suitability for the location.
- What is your feeling about the condition of council owned roads and footpaths and bike paths?
In a word terrible. They were better maintained when the Island was its own Shire. We raise almost 60% of the rates of the Shire and yet the island only get about 35% returned. It’s time the Shire gives back a better return to the Island in services.
- What are your views on the level of importance of art, culture, and indigenous recognition in the Council framework?
I am a big supporter of the arts, cultural programs. I am excited about the way our new Cultural centre can be utilised. It goes without saying that we must respect and consult with our first nation people.
- 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 will retain dogs off leash runs on Phillip Island. I am also in favour of off leach parks inland on the Island as well. I believe that on the poles should be a container with green biodegradable poo bags so they can go into the green bin.
- What would you like to see BCSC do to address Climate Change?
We need to become carbon neutral. We need to utilise renewable energy sources. Build a solar farm and use batteries to store power. Plant more trees and install car charging points in the carparks and in Thompson Avenue. Erosion id critical for the Shire. In the island ward we need realistic erosion measures. Sandbagging is not the answer. That has been proven in Inverloch.
- How do you rank the importance of tourism against local amenity?
Take the tourists out of the economy and the island’s economy would collapse. Ecotourism is our new future. Through the income these industries we can afford the amenities our community wants. The one goes hand in hand with the other. These are not mutually exclusive ideals.
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)
No responses to these questions have been supplied at this time.
27 February 2021
Visit my website: www.ronbauerforbass.com/ to find out more
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