SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

HAVEN’T got enough time to stand for council?

What if I don’t get elected?

Why would I put myself in such a toxic environment?

They’re fair questions to ask for the sort of well-connected, community-minded, intelligent people we need to stand for the South Gippsland Shire Council this time around, in an effort to get the shire back on an even keel, and making a difference to the amenity, jobs and services in the region.

We’ve had enough of division, hidden agendas and vested interests; and while that’s always a risk in local government, if you get enough people putting up their hands for all the right reasons, we’ve got the chance now to return to some sort of normality after the strife caused by the past regime.

So why do we need more people to stand? Because it’s a numbers game.

If we get enough good candidates, who support each other regardless of the final outcome, i.e. the actual people who get elected, there’s more chance that those good people will hold the balance of power, able to stand up to any single-issue or problematic individuals who might get in for one reason or another.

There’s nothing wrong with a diversity of opinion, we should welcome that, but it’s the vested interest and personal agendas that we don’t want to see.

And one group that really needs to stump up this time around, is the local farming community.

They’ve enjoyed excellent economic conditions in recent years, but unless they want to see their rates ramped up to ridiculous levels by runaway expectations of infrastructure, works and services; or their right to farm expectations trampled on – they need to have a seat at the table too.

Agriculture is still our most important industry and jobs generator, and it’s vital that it remains a key part of the planning at local government level.

Nominations open on September 16 and close on September 21. Candidates have to pay $250 and complete mandatory Local Government Candidate Training before submitting their nomination.