Through this newspaper I would like to correct some misconceptions of my character being placed in another locally produced newspaper, that is dropped off free of charge in many mailboxes in the Tarwin Valley Ward district of the South Gippsland Shire with the editor listed as Barbara Hill.

Firstly, I am the Sales Manager of a local petroleum company, a position I have held for over 30 years. During that period, the business has grown every year to now employ some 180 people in the Gippsland area, something I proudly say has been created by working with all stakeholders in the business and our customer base to achieve a company that enjoys great relationships with our customers and the staff that work within the company. This position leads to many dealings with corporate companies such as BP Australia, Castrol Lubricants, Mobil Oil Australia, and many, many more.

As stated on more than one occasion I have been involved with over 12 different voluntary community groups as President or Secretary during my life, which at one stage saw me as President of four different committees at one time. These presidential positions include being the inaugural Chair of the Alberton Football Netball League Board of Management, which was set up under my leadership, as well as being the Chair of AFL Gippsland following two years on their board giving me a strong governance awareness.

As for rate reductions, that would be every ratepayers’ wish for our shire but it must be for the right reasons and be fiscally responsible to do so. Transparency and governance are the key to forming relationships with all stakeholders, which in turn leads to trust being created between all parties. This I stated was in my DNA at the forum last Thursday night!

Finally, as I have indicated on many occasions, I am climate-change aware and believe we have come a long way as a nation over the past 50 years, that I can comment on, looking after our natural resources. I am very conscious of finding better solutions to the climate challenges and will seek better outcomes that are within the council’s ability or as passed on from our Federal or State governments. But I am also aware of what our ratepayers see as the most important issues currently at hand and what they see as being better bang for their buck from our Shire.

That is our mantra, that is what our ratepayers want from our councillors, people who listen and act in the best interests of all.

And so, read into the “grading” of the other publication as you will, but please understand that the so-called “Old Guard” totally stand for what the people who do the electing want from their councillor, action not talk.

John Schelling, Leongatha. Candidate for Tarwin Valley Ward.