KEEPING rates low, protecting open spaces and pushing the Ringwood station upgrade are the three biggest issues in Maroondah, this year's council candidates say.
In a survey sent by the Weekly to all candidates who provided contact details to the Victorian Electoral Commission, 20 responded and 19 either refused to take part or could not be contacted.
Of the respondents, 60 per cent said keeping the rates low was one of most important issues for locals.
Director of Monash University's governance research unit Ken Coghill said appealing to voters' hip pocket nerve was nothing new.
"This is very common," he said. "For candidates it's a matter of keeping rates affordable but ensuring they don't compromise services needed by the community."
In the 2012-1 3 financial year, rates will rise by 5.6 per cent.
Professor Coghill said it was difficult for new candidates to deliver on the promise of reducing rates.
"It's almost impossible for an individual to play a deciding role on major funding issues, but they can contribute to wider discussion."
The second most important issue among this year's candidates, spread across the Arrabri, Mullum and Wyreena wards, was protecting parks and paths.
Just under half of the candidates (45 per cent) noted that Maroondah's green image needed to be maintained. And 35 per cent of respondents listed the $60 million upgrade to Ringwood railway station a top issue to tackle. The station was recently described by Transport Department secretary Jim Betts as a 'Berlin Wall' cutting the suburb in half.
As part of this upgrade to Ringwood railway station, several candidates also spoke of a need to improve personal safety throughout both Ringwood and surrounding suburbs.
All unedited candidate responses can be viewed at maroondahweekly.com.au
What do you think? Post a comment below.