The new Shoalhaven Council has been sworn in, breaking with tradition by beginning with a smoking ceremony, led by local Aboriginal elder Uncle Paul McLeod, a welcome song by Shakeela Williams composed with William Barton, and a welcome to country from Aboriginal elder, Aunty Ruth Simms. The new traditions of this Council will build on inclusion, reconciliation and consultation.
New Mayor, Amanda Findley, began as she intends to continue, with a call for all Councillors to put aside political interests and past animosity, and honour the terms of their oath to work together for the betterment of the people of the Shoalhaven. “That emphasis on people,” according to Mayor Findley, will inform and colour her Council’s approach to everything that is done over the next four years.
In a ceremony which recognised both the history and the future of the Shoalhaven , Councillors entered the chamber, paired with representatives from the community of the Shoalhaven, to take their place, as the strains of the didgeridoo echoed through the building.
The Ordinary Meeting which followed began with two excellent debates on complex issues central to The Greens recent campaign: aged care provision, and the Huskisson view.
Shoalhaven Heads has run out of land suitable for the kind of aged care facility the community there has been working towards for nearly 15 years. Compromises seem the only way out, involving complex deals with State and Federal agencies. The Greens voted against the motion, although it was carried. Clr Nina Cheyne’s closing suggestion of approaching the Aboriginal Land Council about their centrally located land with an undertaking for provision to be inclusive of indigenous aged needs, demonstrated the kind of fresh approach being introduced by a Green to Council.
In the debate that followed on the Huski view, the Greens on this occasion voted with the ‘Independents’, declaring that the car park adjacent to the wharf at Huski be re-zoned as ‘community property’ over which only Council would have final say as to use and changes.
At the November meeting Council will receive a report on the public response to the Huskisson Management Plan in order to begin the process of considering the best way forward with the Shoalhaven’s ‘jewel in the crown’.
The very first deliberations of this new Council indicate the level of cooperation that is possible, as well as the very real challenges for the Council ahead.
Rosie Wade & Mike Leggett
Confirmed on Sunday 17th September by NSW Electoral Commission, THREE Greens councillors join Amanda Findley, the first Green Mayor for the Shoalhaven. Together with the Labor councillor Annette Alldrick, one third of the new Council will be pursuing progressive policies for the community.
Kaye Gartner (Ward 3), Nina Cheyne (Ward 1), Mayor Amanda Findley, John Levett (Ward 2)
News arrived during the Greens monthly meeting in Bomaderry on 15th September – Amanda Findley had been informed that Jo Gash had conceded the position of Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council. After preferences from the third candidate had been distributed, figures in the vote : Gash 25,096; Findley 26,490. The Ward candidates are to be formally confirmed on Friday.
With preferences and postals still to be counted, it seems assured on Sunday morning that Amanda Findley will become Mayor and THREE of Greens candidates will become councillors.
Here’s how the South Coast Register reported the Gash applecart being overturned!
AMANDA FINDLEY for MAYOR (more)
Remember to Vote 1 above the line The GREENS
Remember to Vote 1 above the line
in Ward One
in Ward Two
in Ward Three
She is supported by four candidates in each of the three Wards. Meet the candidates here.
“I’ve lived on the NSW South Coast for 17 years and have been representing the Greens on the Shoalhaven City Council for the past 8 years. My working life has been diverse – I’ve operated a family business, had a career in banking and now own and operate a cattle farm in the Milton area.
I’m a big believer in community consultation, which is why I chose to be part of a party that’s all about grassroots involvement. During my time on Council I’ve witnessed how important community involvement is to local projects and I’m convinced that local knowledge is an essential ingredient for finding solutions to local problems.
I also believe passionately in good land use planning, an issue that is highly contested in regional NSW. Very little protection is given to productive agricultural land and The Greens are the only party that have delivered a comprehensive plan for Australia’s food security, one that protects farms and waterways. The ‘old’ political parties have failed regional Australia by refusing to recognise the value of food production land.
As a beef cattle farmer, I understand the challenges facing many businesses in regional areas around the country, with difficult access to markets and reliance on road freight. I want to provide a voice for regional Australian farmers and business owners, to make sure that the issues that matter to us find a forum in the Australian parliament.
I’ve also seen how regional communities are affected by high unemployment, especially among young people. We need to provide services or those affected by underemployment and socio-economic disadvantage. And we need to give our young people reason to stay in regional areas, by providing work and education opportunities. The Greens are calling for investment in food production and in renewable energies, two industries that can provide jobs and training in regional areas for many years to come.
The Greens are a party that understand regional Australia and appreciate the essential role played by our regional and rural communities. We want to protect the well-being of those communities by providing health, education and cultural services as well as long term job opportunities and prospects for business. A vote for The Greens is a vote for the future of regional Australia.”
Below: Amanda Findley with David Shoebridge MLC NSW and the team of twelve candidates and supporters at the launch of the Shoalhaven Greens campaign.