Occupation: Author, homelessness activist and carer.
Lives in: Cape Woolamai.
Why are you running for council?
I believe that if you can help a situation, you must, and that if you have the means, you have the responsibility. I can see the concern and stress that the pandemic is causing to our community and I can see the danger that climate change poses to our way of life.
Other candidates in other races have spoken about the climate emergency and the economy before and council after council has promised to get serious about doing something. The ‘same old – same old’ has not done anything to change any of the issues we face.
The reason I am running for Island Ward in the 2020 Bass Coast Shire election is because I firmly believe that it’s high time we tried something new, and I believe that I am the right person to help lead council in a different, better direction.
What are your top five issues?
Just last year, I would have given you a different answer, however, given the current circumstances:
1. Post-pandemic economic recovery – Without a thriving economy, we have no hope of mitigating the effects of climate change, installing needed infrastructure or satisfying the needs of the community. Council must, as a priority, develop a post-pandemic economic recovery plan that focuses around a small events strategy in order to jumpstart our economy.
2. Climate crisis – It’s clear that the climate is in crisis. It’s also clear that we need to do something about it. The plan towards zero emissions as submitted has some very great points, however, it is clear that the community consultation was lacking due to the pandemic, and I believe the plan is missing some key features, particularly as it regards new technology.
3. Bike path network – The current plan is clearly not delivering the results the community needs. I have a plan that will deliver faster, outlined on my website: blueskyfuturesresearch.com. I believe that we need to link every estate and township on the Island, and all over Bass Coast.
4. Homelessness crisis – I’ve been working with the homeless for the past five years… while council has little that it can do in regards to the price market, they can redraw the planning scheme to allow for easier construction of tiny homes, suitable for singles or couples, which must include a provision for emergency housing for those fleeing domestic violence.
5. Lack of job prospects for young people – The pandemic has shown us that it is possible for much of our workforce to work from home. We need to adapt to this new sector of the economy and develop policy which encourages and incentivises businesses operating in the digital economy to establish or relocate here. The goal here is to try and diversify our economy, growing more small and micro businesses to employ tertiary-qualified professionals too. Hopefully, this might enable some of our own kids to come back and work here when they’ve finished qualifying at university instead of being forced to work elsewhere.
What is the best and worst thing about Bass Coast?
Best: Growing up here. Going to the beach every day during summer, going walking along the tracks to find koalas and echidnas and possums, sitting down at a café for a milkshake and a bowl of chips, being a part of a vibrant and exciting community, full of art and fun and joy.
Worst: Realising you’ve grown up. And now you must leave, because there is no future here. I know that I could never afford to buy a house on Phillip Island and the only way to rent is to have at least one housemate, and all my age peers are in the same boat.
What do you do for fun?
I listen to avant-garde death metal and Mongolian folk metal, I get tattooed, I watch America’s shining beacon of democracy slowly fall apart at the seams and I write fanfiction about people dying. I also bake, play with my dog, read and ride my e-bike across the Island.
Editor: Ms Barlow’s comments were shortened due to space.