NOT sure who to vote for Streeton Ward? We put the tough questions to all candidates to help you make up your mind - read on for their answers.
All candidates have been sent the same questionnaire. We will post their answers as we receive them - check back here regularly for updates.
Candidates have been given until October 6 to submit their responses. The Weekly has chosen not to edit the responses in any way, except for legal reasons, meaning what you see is exactly what you get.
Candidates were advised to write N/A for questions they wished not to answer. The Weekly has indicated where no contact details were provided or where candidates declined to take part.
Right at the edge of the Yarra Ranges Shire, this ward takes in Sassafras, Ferny Creek and Upwey. Some of the biggest issues have included fighting against the proposed Tecoma McDonald's, protecting the area from overdevelopment and fire safety in wake of the 2009 bushfires.
At the 2008 election:
Registered voters: 11,310
Voter turnout: 8531 (75.43 per cent of total enrolment)
Formal votes: 8357
Informal votes: 174
Candidates (in ballot order)
Suburb of residence: Selby (15 years), previously Upwey (14 years)
Occupation: IT Consultant to State Government: Program Management and Technical Architecture
How long have you lived in Yarra Ranges? 29 years.
Have you run for council/ been a councillor before, or any other level of government? No.
Are you/have you been a member of a political party? If yes, which party? If no, with which party do you most identify? I am a member of the Australian Greens, Dandenong Ranges Branch. I joined 2.5 years ago.
Are you or have you ever been a member of a political interest or lobby group? Yes. When I was President of the Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club (2002 -2004) I lobbied Councils and State Government (Department of Sport and Recreation) and Premier Bracks for road cycling facilities suited to training and racing without being on the open roads. I formed a large lobby group of all cycling interests, including Open Racing Clubs, Veterans Clubs, Mountain Bike Clubs, BMX Clubs, Human Powered Vehicles, In-line skaters and Blind Cyclists and called it BASE (Bicycle Association of South East Melbourne). We were allocated use of Sandown Race Track, Metec (Kilsyth) and $250k pledged for a new circuit to be built if Bracks Government was returned at the then election. He honoured that and we worked with Dept of Sport and Rec to find a council that could provide land, match the state government funding and build a circuit approximately 2kms long. Casey Council obliged and a circuit was built at Casey Fields Sports Complex. All these facilities remain in very active use every week.
If you are elected, will you commit to remaining a councillor for the whole term? Yes, definitely.
What is your campaign budget? Who is funding your campaign? My budget is $2500. Funded by small donations, fund raising events and the Australian Greens Victoria.
Who will you direct your preferences to? Not relevant as there are only two candidates standing.
Describe your involvement in the local community. I have been an active member of the Friends of Minak Reserve, Selby for 15 years and worked in the reserve, weeding and planting species indigenous to the location. I am the Treasurer of the Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group and I have set up contracts for the engagement of a facilitator funded by DSE for three years. This role covers an area along the entire Puffing Billy line to Gembrook and involves a governance structure with Southern Ranges Environment Alliance (SREA).
What do you think being a councillor involves? Preparing for and attending council meetings to present a stance on all matters before the council and to vote on the motions and approvals that are required. To work with the community to resolve issues and improve facilities and infrastructure. To support community initiatives and provide leadership, direction and drive for new initiatives.
What do you think are the most important issues for your ward?
* Prevent McDonald's from building a fast food outlet in Tecoma. While the site is located in Lyster Ward, families in Streeton have expressed deep concern as many of them have kids going to Tecoma Primary School.
* Upgrade Upwey Railway Station to improve safety and facilities there.
* Improve public transport to the area.
* Provide fencing around the children’s playgrounds.
* Development of the Community Recreation and Sports Hub (CRASH) at Upwey/Tecoma Football Ground.
* Weed Reduction
* Improved Fire Protection
* Support the Green Wedge Initiative and Glenfern Valley Bushlands Group.
* Promote the Transition Town initiatives to improve Upwey’s sustainability life style and services.
What do you think are the most important issues facing Yarra Ranges?
* The need for tight council budget management through effective priority settings on expenditure to avoid rate increases.
* Improvement to infrastructure and roads and drainage.
* Improvement to facilities and services that lift the health and wellbeing of the residents (Healthy People).
* Weed reduction and restoration of indigenous local species. (Healthy Environments)
* Expand water capture through promotion of water tanks.
* Expand use of renewable energy sources.
* Expand the bike path network
Where do you stand on the logging currently taking place in Toolangi? Should it be stopped or does it have a rightful place to continue? I have visited all the logging sites in Toolangi and seen the impact of the work there. I will encourage the logging to be phased out as soon as possible for the following reasons:
* The operation is revenue negative - meaning Victorian tax payers are subsidising it, making it difficult to justify
* There is substantial waist where many logs are being used to form tracks for the heavy equipment to operate in wet muddy conditions.
* Loss of habitat that is maturing into a diverse forest ecology that provides biodiversity that is lacking in Victoria through widescale land clearing.
* It is likely to make Victoria’s State Emblem, the Leadbeater Possum extinct.
Is enough being done to secure higher education in the shire once Swinburne’s Lilydale campus closes? While there is a very strong reaction to the disappointing closure of the Lilydale Campus, there will always be opportunities to attract higher education to the Shire. I will work actively to assist and encourage initiatives to achieve that. While some courses, considered financially viable, have transferred to Wantirna Campus others could be supplemented by industry associations like hospitality. I have been involved with TAFEs through my introduction of new technologies and training courses to them around Victoria, NSW, QLD and WA. I have a very high regard for these institutions and the fantastic breadth and depth of the learning opportunities that they offer. Replacements need to be found for what has been lost.
Should the urban growth boundary be extended further in the Yarra Ranges? What sort of development would you allow? No definitely not. There has already been vast clearing of land in the Shire and what is left needs to be protected. I will encourage and support refurbishment of the old stock and encourage retention of the neighbourhood character. I will support dwellings to be built above shops and particularly development near public transport hubs.
Yarra Ranges Council is looking at a $15 million bill to top up the local government super fund. Is a rate rise justified to pay this unexpected fee? No, I will discourage intentions to raise rates for this, though I will support the need to provide adequate super funds for the council staff where required. I will work with my fellow councillors, if elected, to find a budget solution to this.