Dear Jim and Noel,
thanks for your letter outlining your concerns for your industry and Eden and the Shire in general.
I am pleased to provide you with my response.
You are a candidate for the forthcoming Bega Shire Council elections. Can you please tell our Branch what your views are on the future operation of the Chipmill and Blueridge Sawmill in Eden and the timber industry in general.
I am not aware of any outstanding issues concerning these companies with the current BVS council, however my views and philosphy are as follows:
1. I believe in transparency, being responsible and willing to be held accountable for my actions.
To that end, if elected I would endeavor to uphold the existing due process of the council when considering issues put before the council. Further to this, I would consider it unreasonable to vote against the legitimate outcome of such a process, and would find it unconscionable to do so.
Having said that, when the facts change, I reserve the right to change my mind - but I would explain this when voting, not hide behind any smoke and mirrors. Further to this, if the due process is wrong, then I would endeavour to have the process changed as well, not simply 'accept defeat' of the bureacracy.
Currently a councillor is not required to explain their vote, which I find ridiculous - every councillor should be required to explain the reasons behind a vote that does not follow the advice given to the council, and such contrary reasons should only be allowed given certain factors have occurred (I don't know what these factors might be, but they would have to be compellling enough to warrant going against the advice being received by the council).
Do you understand the issues around Eden for example, fishing, abalone, wharf usage, and of course the timber industry.
I do not profess to be aware of all the issues around Eden, or even understand the background behind all of them.
However, I am aware of the industries in Eden (fishing, forestry, new wharf precinct/plan).
However, I am happy to be informed and if elected would endeavour to do my own research for each issue rather than simply rely upon other councillors or the media.
Would you also enlighten us as to how you want to better serve ALL the towns in the Shire and what you see as the most pressing issues for the Shire.
The issues facing all towns in the shire, are pretty much the same. And the same as they have always being. What to do about aging infrastructure (roads, bridges, buildings), an aging population, options for our children, jobs....
One approach is to hold the hand out to the State Government for more grants, and yes, this needs to continue - but we also need to be able to remove the barriers which stop things getting done, so we can turn these challenges into opportunities - how can we take advantage of renewable energy technology, revitalising existing industries whilst creating new ones, turning our existing economy into a grener economy with a knowledge focus. I don't know how, but I do know that continuing as we are isn't the answer.
Hope this gives you an idea of where I am coming from?all the best with your campaign