THERE are 23 candidates in the running for a place at the Kempsey Shire council table.
Eight councillors will be elected, one person will be chosen as mayor.
The local government elections will be held on December 4.
Early pre-poll voting for the Kempsey Shire council election opens today (November 22).
Early voting venues are open until December 3 from Monday to Saturday between 9am and 5pm.
Pre-polling places are located at Kempsey Anglican Church, 28-30 Kemp Street, Kempsey; and South West Rocks CWA Rooms, 47 Landsborough Street, South West Rocks.
All voters are eligible to vote early in person ahead of the December 4 election day.
In the order of the ballot paper the following candidates are:
Group A: Simon Fergusson, Joshua Freeman, Amber Piercy, Daniel Freeman
Group B: V Craigie, Kevin Thorne, Mark Shanney, Leslie Freeman
Alexandra Wyatt, Bruce Raeburn, Dean Saul, Byron Fegan, Andrew Evans, Troy Irwin, Liz Campbell, Mark Baxter, Sue McGinn, Kerri Riddington, Anthony Patterson, Noel Selby, Arthur Bain and Kinne Ring.
Leo Hauville is in the running for mayor only.
The order of candidates, as drawn, for the position of mayor is:
- Leo Hauville
- Andrew Evans
- Arthur Bain
- Liz Campbell
- Dean Saul
- Troy Irwin
- Bruce Raeburn
Meet the candidates
Group A: Simon Fergusson, Joshua Freeman, Amber Piercy, Daniel Freeman
We have raised our hands as individuals but stand together for the community.
Group A members are all running as independents in this election, however we have combined to form a group and share many key goals.
We want to hear what you have to say.
Through community consultation and research we aim to make informed decisions that are best for our shire.
Striving to balance growth and development while protecting the community spirit and the areas natural beauty.
We do live in a beautiful part of the world and together, it is our job to look after it. Help us help you.
If you would like to support us then simply vote 1 in Group A above the line.
Group B: V Craigie, Kevin Thorne, Mark Shanney, Leslie Freeman
VJ Craigie and Group B is a vote for genuine independent representation for the average person in the street in urban and rural Kempsey.
We represent the silent majority of people who genuinely want their voice heard in our local Council. No more vested interests, no more sweetheart deals for property developers and a genuine respect for the wishes of the people of Kempsey.
VJ is a highly skilled and talented Project Manager, trained at the University of Sydney. He has an inherent passion for unity among the people of Kempsey, no matter what race, religion or financial status they come from.
VJ and his team hope to establish an advisory panel that promotes unity between the various common interest groups within the Kempsey LGA. With a view to ensuring that the voice of the people is heard at our local Council.
Leo Hauville (running for mayor only)
As Shire Mayor I aim to bring transparency, integrity and full participatory democracy to the work of Kempsey Shire Council.
Council should return to its core role, as defined by the Local Government Act 1993. It is to represent the community in directing and controlling the affairs of Council.
I will lead a Council that focuses on roads, bridges, water, sewage, parks and recreation facilities, among many others. Council should lobby governments on unemployment, mental health, crime management, etc.
Our prime task is to provide the necessary community services in a financially sustainable way. Council's finances are not fit yet, with more to be done.
For just over five years, I have worked proactively as Councillor and community representative, for Kempsey Shire.
My prior relevant experience was working in a partnership business for two years, then as a leader in education for 37 years, the last six as Willawarrin Public School principal.
I will promote the community needs ahead of developers' grasp for bigger profits by voting against variations beyond planning rules (LEP 2013).
I will lead Council to effectively follow the Community Engagement Policy, enhance the long-term Community Strategic Plan, push for financial sustainability in its Operating Plan, follow the local character statements and implement action needed on climate change to protect our unique local environment.
In Facebook testimonials, supporters have said:
"Leo, I would like to thank you for your integrity, your service to this community and also for being sometimes an isolated voice standing up to the party driven cliques on Council. I don't always agree with you, but I always respect your independent stance and the clarity of your vision."
"Leo has been an amazing advocate for the environment and sensible policy on all other issues. He is always willing to stand for what he believes in, never giving in."
I grew up in family owned retail businesses and cattle farming. I moved to the Macleay to raise a blended family of four daughters. We lived in 'struggle street' with financial stress, childhood trauma and ill-mental health.
We lived, witnessed and experienced the disadvantage and discrimination that comes with being in one of the poorest socio-economic areas in NSW.
Today we're a multi-racial, multi-generational family.
With life experiences brings growth and intelligence; and inspired by my daughters and their peers I got a Cert 4 and Diploma in community service.
I am a Board member of YP Space (youth homelessness) and the Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre. I volunteer to coordinate the Love Bites Healthy Relationship program to high school students.
I am committed to using my skills to collaborate with community, and to be an advocate; to make improvements in the lives and prospects of young people and families in the Macleay valley.
It's my ethical responsibility to value us equally so we can all share and benefit from Council services and programs.
I have professional ecological and environmental law qualifications. If elected; I will be capable of asking the right questions about (1) sustainability of planning & development proposals (2) lawfulness of decisions (3) adequate assessment of social sustainability and environmental impact. (4) culturally appropriate assessment of Aboriginal heritage.
I am skilled in environmental planning, assessment and land management; including biodiversity and agricultural lands.
I have extensive knowledge of the Macleay valley landscapes gained from firefighting, land management work and landholder conversations. I have worked with and learnt from the Dunghutti people and farmers about the important link between healthy people and healthy Country.
Council has representatives from business, tourism, hospitality, farming, finance and education. The environment and land use planning skills are a gap amongst current Councillors; one that needs filling.
Bruce Raeburn (also running for mayor)
Why am I standing for Mayor? Because in the last election there were only two people standing and they were both already on the council. I feel there is the need for fresh blood on Council and some real choices for the community.
So what do I bring to the table? A wide range and depth of relevant experience in many fields which I feel I could draw on in my role as Mayor.
Firstly I joined the Navy at 15 and served nine years specifically in marine engineering. Then I moved to the Macleay Valley and have been here for the past 40 years. I worked at Nestles for nine years.
After that I designed, built and ran Llewellyn Cafe, one of first cafes in Gladstone. I also planted out the park in Gladstone with rainforest trees among the privet and when they got bigger the privet was removed and that's how we now have the beautiful park which is it today. I did extensive work on the oval in Gladstone as well, creating one of the most aesthetically pleasing ovals in the country.
In addition, I secured the club room at South Kempsey Oval through my networking skills whilst at a conference in Sydney in 2013.
In more recent times, I have been the driving force behind the creation of one of best public rainforest Arboretums on the coast at East Kempsey by the Macleay River. We have just turned the old stables into a modern office for Landcare while still keeping its rustic charm.
I own a farm at Moparrabul where I am practising regenerative farming to improve the land and increase the fertility of the soil. I have also planted thousands of trees on the creek bank to stabilise the bank and to create a resistance which slows down the creek, dropping sediment and gravel.
In the big flood early this year, the creek bed was raised by two metres over 150 acres, which is a lot of water stored in the landscape. This is important as one of the main reasons we had the big fire in 2019 was because we had dried out landscapes.
It's your choice. If you want man of action with a fresh vision and good people skills, I am your man.
Dean Saul (also running for mayor)
Proud to state that I am from the Macleay Valley, a local born and bred.
A Shire Councillor, cafe owner/operator, investor, and former farmer - this background has led to me to understand the plights and difficulties, and to share the pain felt when confronted by natural disasters that our valley has battled through time and again.
From a financial perspective, my beliefs are that Council must ensure that its spending is responsible and financially sustainable. Investments in infrastructure must be for the benefit of the local community by implementing strong economic and asset management with regards to achieving intergenerational equity.
Therefore my future priorities are :
- Infrastructure - Higher levels of road maintenance and roadside slashing. Stormwater and drainage, footpaths and kerb and guttering, and new bicycle pathways.
- Tackling Crime - Lobbying for funding to purchase Mobile CCTV Units, as a crime deterrent strategy. These Mobile CCTV Units can allow police to source more additional evidence for court actions against criminal activities.
- Random Alcohol and Drug Testing Policy for Councillors. - Such a policy will ensure that the wider community has good faith in a Councillors' decision making and leadership.
The next two years will be financially challenging, inflation will push the cost of living even higher. Only through lower rates and taxes will our Shire prosper long term.
I believe in a safe community withsensible decisions for asecure future.
That is my commitment to the Kempsey Shire community.
I am proud to say I have been a resident of South West Rocks for close to 28 years and safe to say I have seen many changes to the shire districts in that time.
It would appear that with the event of COVID-19, we are seeing a huge migration of people from Sydney along with the Central Coast to our shire. At the current rate we certainly will have a massive problem with our road infrastructure, affordable housing for low income earners and without a doubt the sewerage systems at Hat Head, South West Rocks and Stuarts Point will not handle this increase as they are at breaking point now.
Stuarts Point in particular should be of the highest priority.
South West Rocks needs better access to the town as the two old bridges over the creek need replacing and relocated so they offer motorists and semi-trailers a straight run into town without harsh right angles. If there is an accident on the second bridge the town would be cut off for hours.
I would fight for the re-introduction of a defensive driver course for Learner drivers including all Yr 11 and 12 students. This could be run at the Airport on Thursdays and Fridays.
I was heavily involved in this program several years ago with essential skills for every teenager in the district on how to avoid accidents. A crucial skill for living in our fast paced world.
I have owned several successful businesses in my life and know how to balance the books and show a profit.
I would like to think a council could employ the same attitude. I look forward to serving our community.
Andrew Evans (also running for mayor)
Having been a ratepayer in Kempsey Shire for nearly 30 years I am seriously concerned when I see Council wasting our hard earned money on white elephants like the Cinema complex.
I actually worked for Council back in the 90s, and I understand how Council systems work, and we could do without our money being blatantly wasted on grand gestures, when we have lots of other things we should be spending our money on - the state of the roads in some areas are frankly disgusting, and the lack of basic services such as footpaths, and clean public toilets is appalling. So many things we should be doing - the public deserves better.
Having recently retired, I bring a wealth of knowledge, and an honest belief that things can be done better, and that the people deserve a Council that serves them, not some fancy clique who thinks they know best.
The ratepayers supply their hard earned money to Council to be the caretakers of the Shire (on behalf of the community) not to waste their money.
I'm genuinely independent, and not connected to any group, and I'm standing specifically to "keep 'em honest" and to make sure they use our money wisely.
Troy Irwin - (also running for mayor)
Throughout his career Troy Irwin has been the manager of one of the biggest cattle shows in NSW with 7,000 breeding cows, abattoir foreman managing 200 people, a real estate agent on the Northern Beaches, a stock and station agent, auctioneer, marketing manager at North Sydney for company specialising in pre IPO and property trusts, bus driver, garbage truck driver, concrete truck driver, lawn mowing man, cattle trader, horse breeder and working dog appreciator.
He is a father of two well-educated daughters and has three grandchildren.
Mr Irwin says he practices what he preaches with regeneration of local forest country and sustainable cattle enterprise.
His campaign focus is on Bellbrook water, Stuarts Point sewage, Kundabung roads, the environment, the spend on upgrading Kempsey saleyards, water storage, lack of flood and bushfire mitigation and council's financial decision-making.
He says he is going to "fight like a bag of cats" to save Kempsey TAFE, and questions the bushfire recovery spend and public benefit of the airport adventure park at Kempsey over an equine park.
Mr Irwin is using an image of Wonderwoman and her 'lasso of truth' in his campaign material.
He believes there needs to be more transparency over the spending of ratepayers' funds and accountability in managing the environment.
Liz Campbell (also running for mayor)
As a Macleay local and current Mayor, I understand the civic responsibilities of representing our community, and the importance of fostering respectful debate amongst nine councillors and strategic thinking and planning at a high level.
I've learned through experience that to achieve good things for our local community, a Mayor must work effectively with all levels of government and a strong Council team is what gets things done.
I am not a single-issue councillor. Important to me are building an inclusive community where people feel accepted and connected; financial sustainability so our community can grow and thrive; appropriate development that balances protecting our natural environment with accommodating increased building and population expansion.
If re-elected, I will advocate for:
Community Engagement - Partnering with the community in developing our new Community Strategic Plan.
Financial Management - Focused efforts on our 10-year Financial Plan to keep rates contained.
Water and Sewer - Oversight of the major projects underway in Kempsey, South Kempsey, Crescent Head and Stuarts Point to ensure they are on track and on budget.
Roads - Review of the 10-year roads program, including strong community engagement on road priorities and maintenance.
Economic Development - Continued work and expansion of the Horizon 2030 Economic Development and Tourism Strategy.
Health - Actively work with State and Federal Governments to progress work on the health precinct in West Kempsey, and to improve Shire-wide health services, especially Mental Health, Child Care and Allied Health.
Social and Affordable Housing - Build on work already underway for ways Council can use our resources and land to assist State and Federal Governments to deliver affordable housing.
I believe that with a forward-thinking team of councillors, we have the opportunity to build on the strong foundations laid over the past five years to create positive change within the Kempsey Shire.
I ran for Council in 2016 because I was disgusted with the way State and Federal Governments were neglecting this Valley.
In 2016 the Kempsey Shire LGA was ranked fourth poorest in NSW. out of 132 Local Government Areas.
We had double the unemployment rate of the State average, at 11.6 per cent of our workforce.
Crime rates were ranked in the top three of NSW. Teenager self-harm and suicide rates were nearly the highest in the State.
Thousands of residents (over 3000) in our LGA were living below the poverty line .
Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour were booming, whilst our valley was neglected. The lion's share of Government grants were going to Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour .
I am proud to say that 'this Council' - especially since the new executive took over - has made it a priority to get our fair share of grants.
In the last three years we have received over $150 million in grants. Unemployment fell to five per cent in early 2020 - just before COVID hit - thanks to these grants.
I am running for Council again because there is still a lot to do to lift the standard of living of all the residents in our valley.
We need to get even more grants to help lift economic activity.
In a rich country like this, it is not right that we, in this valley, should suffer lower standards of living than the rest of the country.
Looking back on recent years, Kempsey Shire has improved its infrastructure and services significantly.
We have a better shire today which is a direct result of the cultural transformation that was led by the current councillors as well as having formal strategic planning strategies and appropriate monitoring. The Shire's financial position has improved from deficit budgeting to break even which puts us in a strong position moving forward.
We've achieved a lot in five years but there's still a lot to do. I'm seeking re-election for a third term to maintain the current momentum.
Judge me on what we have achieved for our valley.
We've improved services and infrastructure.
We've attracted millions of dollars through State and Federal grants to directly benefit you, the community, as identified through extensive consultation and engagement.
We've replaced toilets, improved sporting facilities, developed the coastal village foreshores, improved roads and bridges, invested in our sewers and waste water facilities and all while we responded to natural disasters and COVID-19.
I've been asked why business skills are important for a councillor. They are important because good financial and resource management is essential for financial and organisational sustainability.
The flip side is poor financial management which leads to wasted money and resources and ever-increasing rates without matching productivity or service improvements. Without good corporate governance and business skills we risk not achieving our goals as identified in our Community Strategic Plan.
I bring over 20 years' experience as a professional company director and hold a Masters Degree in Business.
Judge me and Mayor Liz Campbell on our achievements, not on hollow promises.
I'm standing as an independent candidate. I'm not, nor ever have been, a member of a political party. I'm not running on a ticket nor am I entering into any preference deals. I am not seeking or accepting any donations.
I love the Macleay Valley and care deeply about it's future and the well-being of its people.
As a resident of Arakoon/South West Rocks for over 20 years I have long been concerned about our town's lack of representation on council and, if elected, I will be a strong and committed voice for the Rocks.
While wholly supportive of growth in the Shire, I recognise that the recent pace of new development, especially in South West Rocks, has led to growing concerns amongst residents about the inevitable impacts on our natural environment, our existing infrastructure, access to medical services, and the affordability of housing. These are legitimate concerns and will be amongst my key priorities if elected.
For my part, I will listen to the ideas and concerns of all Kempsey Shire Council residents with an open mind and will work with any and all elected Councillors to secure the best outcomes for us all in a transparent, empathetic and fiscally responsible way.
I believe I'm known amongst my friends and colleagues as a good listener, a collaborator, a delegator and someone who speaks their mind and gets things done. I dislike bullying and deceit and am not afraid to call them out.
I will advocate for the people of South West Rocks and the Shire without fear or favour.
Born in Kempsey in 1965, I have been married for 27 years and have three children.
I started my own business in 1994 and employ 10 locals and sponsor many community sports and fund-raising events.
In 2010, I was awarded Businessman of the Year. I have built 2 houses and one factory as an owner-builder so I know what's required from council to achieve these goals.
I was elected onto Kempsey Shire council in 2012 serving nine years and have been deputy mayor for more than two years. I am part of the council team that instigated a huge change in council management and structure and I am very proud of the outcome.
I support jobs growth, industrial, manufacturing and agricultural for our community along with controlled development. We have achieved massive growth in grant funding for our community sporting fields and buildings and also our road network which needs more work, and our new sewer system that is now in the design stages.
I support the Crescent Head master plan and options for the headland parking; South West Rocks has the most development and needs to be controlled in its design with all land owners working together; and Hat Head needs more capacity for the sewer network.
Stuarts Point new sewer system will be delivered and that will help the whole community, and Willawarin and Bellbrook communities need more support from council .
The whole of the Macleay is important to me and being a councillor is very rewarding as a local seeing the benefits delivered. Vote 1 Anthony Patterson for Council, Vote 1 Liz Campbell for Mayor.
My name is Noel Selby. I'm a resident of South West Rocks.
Before retiring I was employed as a sales and logistics manager for a transport company in Sydney.
Most of my working life I have been employed in sales.
I was on the Board of Hawkesbury Radio for eight years and also a committee member of Penrith Bowling Club for three years. I have also coached many junior and senior soccer and league teams.
I have three adult children and have been married to Chris for 46 years.
The reason I'm running in this election is because I don't feel that the ratepayers and residents are getting the infrastructure that is needed with all the development that is happening throughout the Shire.
The amount of destruction of flora and fauna with the clearing of land is unsustainable. In my opinion what needs to happen is that all developments must have wildlife corridors and green areas to make them sustainable.
All infrastructure is in need of updating - roads have to be a priority. Sewerage in Stuarts Point doesn't exist and Council has the money and land but tell residents that it won't start until 2023/24. In my view this is unacceptable.
The environment is another big issue that will eventually affect our Shire unless Council takes a bigger stand on it than they are doing now.
The money that was wasted on the cinema debacle is beyond a joke. And now we have council building an adventure park with money from the bushfire fund that was supposed to be spent on boosting the economy of Kempsey which I don't feel it will do.
It's time for change.
Arthur Bain - The Greens (also running for mayor)
I will represent all residents of Kempsey Shire. I am here to listen and encourage communities to feel empowered and consulted about local issues.
Originally from New Zealand, I have lived and worked in the Kempsey Shire, Dhanggati/Thunggutti country, for 28 years and love it, from the mountains to the sea.
I am an active member of the Rural Fire Service and a founding member of Save Our Macleay River an environmental action group concerned with river health.
I have worked as an educator for 35 years, initially as a Primary School Teacher, later working in Adult Education, and with Elders across the Oxley region to deliver programs to Indigenous youth.
I was a Principal of a small, rural school, and held a position as an Educational Caseworker with the Department of Justice.
I am currently CEO of the Thunggutti Aboriginal land council.
I am running for Council because I have a demonstrated ability for listening to and serving the community. Experience has given me the understanding of what is required to be accountable and transparent in the role of a Councillor responsible for good governance and decision making.
Together we can do many things such as:
- Protecting the health of our river and our land
- Meeting community needs for affordable housing
- Supporting families by reducing costs -such as affordable childcare
- Ensuring access to adequate health & mental health services
- Establishing authentic consultation processes
Kinne grew up in the bush with a love nature and for the beautiful Shire that we call home. Kinne attended Kempsey High School where she was School Captain in 2012, and like many young people do Kinne moved away to pursue my studies. Kinne completed a Bachelor of Business, major in Marketing at the University of Newcastle and went into working in the Higher Education sector in marketing, communications and then in outreach.
Kinne's career focus has been on in increasing participation in higher education, and while she has worked in other parts of NSW, moving back to Kempsey has given further purpose to this pursuit. In 2020 Kinne moved back to Kempsey to take on the role of Centre Manager at the Country Universities Centre Macleay Valley. Kinne enjoys connecting with the students in our Shire, building student aspiration and supporting students through their studies.
In all her endeavours, Kinne has worked hard to bring equitable and positive outcomes, to listen to those around her and to always keep learning. As a councillor, Kinne hopes to do this.
Kinne hopes to represent and advocate for young people. There are young people in our valley running businesses, starting families and furthering their education. We need a council who is listening, supporting and advocating for our young people to have the opportunity and support they need.
As a councillor Kinne will focus on positive outcomes for our communities health and mental health. When it comes to your health in the Kempsey Shire we need to look at all the factors.
Kinne will put the environment and our earth behind every decision. We need a sustainable future for the Macleay Valley. A hopeful future for our youth, and a place where we can take care of our health.
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