Council candidates have their say

REGION - Eight candidates will contest next month's Northern Grampians Shire Council South West Ward by-election.

The candidates were offered the opportunity to have their say by way of a statement. Here are their responses in the order they will appear on the ballot paper.

SAM HAAMID

"Born and raised in the Northern Grampians Shire, I am proud to submit my nomination to represent South West Ward, your ward, your home," he said.

"This is not a time for single issue or returning candidates! Instead, it is your opportunity to support a multi-skilled candidate and a fresh pair of eyes in the council chamber.

"We have a lot of work ahead to regain our regional economic competitiveness, attract new sustainable investment and secure cost effective and equal council services for your rate paying dollar.

"Specialising in local government business, risk and emergency management, I have a unique insight into how our shire must be governed by its elected councillors. This gives me the credibility to ask hard questions of our council officers and challenge strategic direction during the planning phase, not just participate by voting for or against.

"Having no vested commercial interests in the Ward, I can offer you unbiased and prudent representation. This by-election I would be grateful to receive your support."

ROSS CLEMENTSON

"As a long term resident of Stawell I have had seven years as a councillor the last four years of my term was dedicated to the South West Ward," he said.

"I believe that there are still many areas that require attention; rate increases, rubbish removal and disposal red tape relating to planning and building, water being drained from Lake Lonsdale and Lake Fyans.

"On some of these issues I believe that I have the local knowledge and skills to represent the people of the South West Ward.

DEAN THOMAS

"The following is a summary of some of the key issues that I feel need to be addressed if I'm elected," he said.

Cut red tape with council procedures and encourage new business

Lobby Governments to secure and retain water in Lake Lonsdale in turn attracting more visitors and revenue to the area

Improve towns in the South West Ward now and into the future

Support business, community groups and school in the South West Ward

Make the Grampians National Park Victoria's number one tourist location

"I live on a rural property and I am a CFA volunteer, I'm associated with and support many community and sporting groups in the Northern Grampians area.

"If I am elected I will be addressing and fighting for these main issues but I'm more than willing to listen to any other issues or concerns that you may have."

DON GARDNER

"I am standing for council because I believe I possess the attributes that would best serve the ratepayers of the South West Ward," he said.

"To represent the ratepayers requires time, and I now have that time to devote to the tasks involved.

"My interest in local government is of long standing and the drive, motivation and desire to again stand for council is strong.

"I am a ratepayer in this ward and also have the experience and expertise required, having previously served six years as a councillor - one of them as Mayor.

"My commitment to ratepayers is to look to their community priorities, to ensure the fair distribution of funds from all sources (council, state and federal) and to all enterprises, whether they be involved with tourism, small business or farming.

"In addition, it is essential to maintain the area as one in which residents want to work and live.

"Recreational facilities and events within the area will require strong support to achieve desired outcomes - particularly after the devastating fires. Your concerns are my concerns."

Mr Gardiner has a comprehensive record of service to the community, including Bail Justice, State Emergency Service Controller, L2P mentor and was awarded Stawell Citizen Of The Year in 2004.

JASON HOSEMANS

"A resident of Northern Grampians Shire for more than 20 years, along with my family, I call Halls Gap home," he said.

"I am a pharmacist by profession and have managed and owned several pharmacies, at one stage employing more than 50 team members and controlling combined business turnover in excess of $10 million per annum.

"I have held Executive Board positions in the past, including that of Stawell Intertwine Services and am the current President of Pomonal Primary School Council.

"I believe I can apply sound, considered, objective opinions and decisions in the long term interests of the people in our shire.

"I feel our shire has the potential to significantly improve and grow in the areas of employment, residency, tourism and livability.

"I believe we are fortunate to live in such a beautiful and unique part of the world, and, being a proud resident of the South West Ward, I will do all I possibly can to see us thrive and prosper into the future.

GRAEME ANYON

"I am excited, and eager, to bring new, fresh and innovative ideas to benefit all the people who are lucky enough to call this special area home!"

"In 2014 the council needs people with a vision for the future in these troubled economic times," he said.

"With the collapse of manufacturing in rural Australia a new approach is needed to overcome this dilemma.

"We need to tap into the skills and experience of ex Stawell people who have made great success of their careers and remain passionate for their home town and district.

"We can use the knowledge of these successful business people to assist in establishing future enterprises in our shire.

"A prosperous future for Northern Grampians Shire Council relies on our ability to identify our strengths and build on them.

"What do I bring to the table?

1. More than 30 years of experience in the private sector, 2. I have been heavily involved in economic, sporting and cultural community events over a number of years, 3. I have been chairperson of many local committees including Skene Street Specialist School Council for 17 years, the Stawell Chaplaincy Committee for 11 years, football and cricket clubs, 4. I have previous experience as councillor on the Stawell City Council from 1990-95, 5. I was a founding member of the Stawell Chamber of Commerce, 6. I have had an integral role in organising events which bring tourists to Stawell and district."

STEPHEN ODGERS

"Peggy and I own the Kookaburra Motor Lodge in Halls Gap. We recently purchased a house in Halls Gap, this is our future and the Grampians is home," he said.

"I am secretary of Halls Gap Tourism, the Community Sports Club, a member of the Stawell Golf Club, have helped to coordinate the Grampians Jazz Festival, until this year was a board member of the highly successful Grampians Grape Escape and am now on the Municipal Recovery Committee.

"Halls Gap and the Grampians have been through a lot in recent years and in recent months. It is now vital that the South West Ward has strong representation from a local councillor, someone who lives and works in the area, has a passion for the area.

"Someone who will not only be your voice in Stawell but will lobby on your behalf at the state and federal level.

"Having previously served three times in local government I am proud of my past record of listening to and treating people equitably and with respect.

"I will act on behalf of all of the communities from Halls Gap to Great Western - that is my promise."

BARRY MARROW

Barry Marrow's intentions have been previously published.

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