Occupation: Semi-retired jeweller.
Lives in: Cowes.
Why are you running for council?
I am actively involved with our community. I stood for the state seat of Bass in 2018 running on Island issues. I am a member of the Bass Coast Ratepayers and Residents Association, the Phillip Island Dog Owners Association, and the Cowes Yacht Club. I was deeply involved with Save our Beaches and the Cowes West Action Group. I am a member of the Island Voice committee (standing aside for this election) where all Island interest groups meet to advocate to the Bass Coast Shire Council.
What are your top five issues?
The most fundamental functions a council has is rates, roads and rubbish. Our rates are too high and I will look at ways to reduce them. The rubbish collection fee must be absorbed into the rates and not be an additional charge to ratepayers. The red bin must be collected weekly in the summer months. Our roads need repairing and the speed limits have to be realistically reduced. Council meetings are not transparent or accountable enough for the community. Ratepayers have to get meaningful answers to their questions.
In my ward from East Cowes to Red Rocks the beach is being quickly eroded. We need effective erosion strategies not just band-aid measures like in Inverloch.
The shire needs to become carbon neutral, utilising solar and renewable power sources. We need to install charging stations for electric cars starting with the car parks and Thompson Avenue.
Phillip Island is much more than the penguins and the GP. Eco-tourism is our future. Build an interconnecting safely lit network of bicycle paths and walking trails. Construct the aquatic centre and regional skate park at the carnival site corner. Support events and programs for our new Cultural Centre. Build shower blocks on our surf beaches for our surfers and keep the off-leash runs for our four-legged friends.
Professionally, I have for 45 years been the director of the family jewellery business (established in 1889). I have been president and chairman of the Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA). I am a board member of the Jewellers Association of Australia, and Australia’s representative to the World Jewellery Congress. I have been the governance officer of the GAA from 1990 to 2009. I understand the political system and how councils work. I am a good negotiator and will be able to bring the necessary outcomes that our Island needs.
Live local, buy local. We must support our traders as much possible… council has a moral responsibility to help them. We have to expand the relief packages that are being offered by council. And responsibly bring into the budget fully funded capital works projects, making the best use of the ratepayers’ dollars.
What’s the best and worst thing about Bass Coast?
Bass Coast is beautiful with its rugged coastline and its bike paths and walking trails. Phillip Island is such a natural wonder, so it is critical to maintain the balance between development and its flora and fauna. Ecotourism is the Island’s future. The new dinosaur trail from Kilcunda to Wonthaggi will be a wonderful addition to our natural attractions.
Effective erosion measures must be implemented to protect the vanishing coastline.
We don’t want Phillip Island or the Waterline townships to end up like Portsea or the Gold Coast. We must protect the ambience of this area. I will not change the current town boundaries on the Island… I will move to audit public transport on the Island and support the move to introduce a network of electric minibuses between the hamlets.
What do you do for fun?
I love the sea and enjoy swimming and boating. I enjoy exploring Western Port Bay and when the weather permits, going out as far as the Nobbies. I am a regular visitor to our wineries and local eateries.
My most frequent exercise is walking my dog along the West Cowes beach and having coffee at the Boat Ramp café. When the weather is foul, there is always a jigsaw puzzle to do. I am not the sort of person who can sit still for long.
Editor: Mr Bauer’s comments were shortened due to space.