As Greater Shepparton prepares to vote in a new nine-person council on October 22, The News asked 10 prominent community figures to name their preferred candidates. They also detailed what they want in an effective council to represent Greater Shepparton's ratepayers.
Dennis Patterson, Seema Abdullah, Rod Schubert, Kim O’Keeffe, Darren Linton, Les Orosvary, Bruce Giovanetti, Anthony Brophy, Mark Lawlor
We have before us an exciting line-up of potential councillors for Greater Shepparton, the best for a decade or more. People deeply engaged in our community, people with council, financial, business, leadership and community experience. People who can put the dysfunction and squabbling of the past decade behind us. People who can guide the city into a new era of progress, development and prosperity. My ideal team includes such people: a mix of local government experience plus a number of fresh, talented people willing to contribute to the life of our city. Greater Shepparton desperately needs to put the past behind it and move steadily forward— expending ratepayers’ money wisely and, above all, working productively together.
Shelley Sutton, Kim O’Keeffe, Dallas Moore, Anthony Brophy, Darren Linton, Bruce Giovanetti, Rod Schubert, Les Oroszvary, Sam Patane
Standing as a candidate for Greater Shepparton City Council is no mean feat and I commend each candidate for putting themselves forward for selection. I believe it is time for new eyes and new ears on Greater Shepparton City Council. Clear eyes that can see around them and look forward into the future and ears that are clean and willing to listen openly to all people from every section of the community. Council is a multi million dollar concern which needs people with the ability to manage finances openly and honestly and to make business decisions that will benefit our community, not their ego. Each of the nine candidates I have selected entered as an individual, bringing their own personality and expertise to the position. Their ability to work as a team, to create a foundation of stability, honesty and a willingness to work hard on behalf of the people of Greater Shepparton City is a fundamental requisite for our future. I wish them well.
Rod Schubert, Dennis Patterson, Darren Linton, Chris Hazelman, Les Oroszvary, Bruce Giovanetti, Kim O’Keeffe, Anthony Brophy, Mark Lawlor
What makes a good council?
1. Has an open mind and is prepared to listen to all sides of a problem or debate.
2. Will stand up strongly for what they believe in, but will also still work within a team environment.
3. Remember every decision they make will affect someone’s life.
4. Remember the City of Greater Shepparton covers 2500 sq km and the budget expenditure must look after every inch of that area and the communities therein.
5. Make sure everything that happens in council is open and transparent. This has not happened in the past four years.
6. Councillors today must look at every piece of expenditure to see if there is a return on that expenditure. Today’s councillors must have a good business knowledge: we have only to look at the council strategy to become the event’s capital. The return on expenditure has been good. Other areas must be looked at to see if they too can make a good return.
7. During any election, many candidates make many promises. What I invite voters to do is work out how many of the promises are real and more importantly, achievable.
Bruce Giovanetti, Kim O’Keefe, Anthony Brophy, Dennis Patterson, Rod Schubert, Les Oroszvary, Shelley Sutton, Dallas Moore, Jason Kelly
It’s been frustrating as a ratepayer to watch the bickering and infighting of the past few years of council. We need councillors from diverse backgrounds, but who have a lot of experience to offer our region. I want to see councillors who are passionate about Greater Shepparton, who don’t ignore the issues in our region, but who are keen to tackle them and work together to help our community. One of the things the new council must focus on is Shepparton’s central business district, and figuring out the best plan of attack for revitalising the Maude St Mall. I would like to see councillors with more management experience, more experience working with the community, and any experience that will help attract business to Greater Shepparton. Most of all, the new council must work together and present a united front, rather than letting personal opinions or vendettas get in the way. Councillors must work together, have a common vision and represent all ratepayers. Our council needs fresh eyes and to leave behind singleissue and narrow agendas for the betterment of us all. Most of all, we need positive people who are proactive and focused on outcomes, rather than personal grandstanding.
Rod Schubert, Seema Abdullah, Shelley Sutton, Chris Hazelman, Dallas Moore, Jenny Houlihan, Bruce Giovanetti, Sam Patane, Les Oroszvary
Sortition has been shown to be equally effective as anything else when choosing those to govern you. So selecting names from a hat, to be fair without any scrutineers beyond my honesty, sortition came up with: Rod Schubert, Seema Abdullah, Shelley Sutton, Chris Hazelman, Dallas Moore, Jenny Houlihan, Bruce Giovanetti, Sam Patane and Les Oroszvary. And so if we were to commit Shepparton’s future to the roll of a dice, our first ‘throw’ did not produce a ridiculous result with some new faces (giving us the often argued for new blood) and a few experienced hands to steady and guide the ship. We are bound for hitherto unseen and unknown circumstances and these nine people, chosen by the roll of a dice, will play a key role in helping this community develop a necessary resilience. Sortition is what brought these people to the table, but that is where it should end. To be replaced by courage; to define the geographical area of the city’s urban spaces; plan and allow for higher density living; reverse the city’s rating system, cheapest in the centre of urban areas and becoming increasingly expensive as the specified boundary draws closer; an emphasis on five ideas when making planning decisions first, pedestrians, then cyclists, public transport, land use and then, when all else is exhausted, the motor vehicle; the development of a sophisticated GV-wide public transport system for both people and freight; and, finally, even more courage to make these ideas happen.
Seema Abdullah, Anthony Brophy, Bruce Giovanetti, Chris Hazelman, Darren Linton, Dennis Patterson, Rod Schubert, Fran Smullen, Shelley Sutton
● Seema Abdullah is a professional project manager— articulate, visionary, respectful and extremely well-educated. An inclusive, exemplary family person who has integrated passionately into Greater Shepparton.
● Anthony Brophy understands the political system. His broad community involvement in education and sport and his approachable and cheerful manner make him a great people’s person to serve on council.
● Bruce Giovanetti has demonstrated committed community participation in a wide variety of fields. He has shown wise counsel and will add much to a new era of municipal government.
● Chris Hazelman has played a leading role in all the great council successes of the past two decades. His corporate knowledge of Greater Shepparton is indispensable and his government contacts with both sides of representation are invaluable. Well-deserving of another term.
● Darren Linton, a journalist of great conviction and perception, would make a most astute and valuable councillor. His near decade of reporting on Greater Shepparton, generally and municipally, would bring great knowledge resource to the council table, now that he’s moved from municipal journalism. He makes no idle promises and I can vouch, having sat beside him through countless council meetings, he would bring a wealth of informed common sense to council decision-making.
● Dennis Patterson, after a turbulent initiation to municipal life, has a genuine desire to continue, mainly looking after the day-to-day general ratepayers’ interests. A down-to-earth councillor who deserves re-election.
● Rod Schubert is a decisive and forthright individual. Not frightened to take the tough decisions. Progressive thinker with an impressive business record.
● Fran Smullen is a compassionate long-time strong advocate for the disadvantaged, dispossessed and needy members of our society. She will bring a sensitive viewpoint to the council table.
● Shelley Sutton is a successful CBD small business proprietor— aware and vocal on the needs of her fellow traders.
Bruce Giovanetti, Shelley Sutton, Les Oroszvary, Rod Schubert, Kim O’Keeffe, Tom Day, Chris Hazelman, Anthony Brophy, Seema Abdullah
Our council must operate in a professional manner within the governance framework. Our councillors need a common vision for the future of Shepparton, cognisant of the fact that just more than half of its population is in two cities, and just less than half of the population resides in the surrounding rural areas. Our councillors must be collaborative and work closely with council’s senior management. Partnerships need to be nurtured with the Committee of Greater Shepparton, local parliamentarians, governments and leaders in our community from industry, sport, health and education, plus leaders from our diverse cultural background. Through such interactions our council will be equipped to make informed decisions which will progress the city of Greater Shepparton. Some matters I believe should be considered by council include: support for industry, commerce and farming (this could lead to an increase in employment), the continuing maintenance and strengthening of our infrastructure, for example by fixing the potholes in Old Dookie Rd. Extend tourism promotions, make COGS friendly to the everincreasing recreational vehicles, highlight our indigenous art, attract even more sporting events. This leads to full accommodation in our motels and people spending money in our shops. Revitalise and beautify our CBD. A recent trip to Forster displayed what could be done with opening up a mall. Let’s develop some civic pride, make better use of our rivers, not only with paths, but with picnic areas and venues. In conclusion, our elected councillors must be astute in scrutinising and monitoring our budget to ensure our progressive future.
Dennis Patterson, Rod Schubert, Kim O’Keeffe, Bruce Giovanetti, Les Oroszvary, Anthony Brophy, Shelley Sutton, Darren Linton, Brett Hancock
As councillors elect, your responsibilities to the constituents across Greater Shepparton will be paramount and as such, I have high hopes for the successful candidates. I have high hopes that public access to our local recreation land including for fishing and hunting will become a higher priority for our municipality. With better access to bank fishing and boat ramps, we could attract a far greater number of recreational fishing tourists and take our own share of what is a multi-million dollar industry at the same time as promoting our great region. I also have high hopes that we will see a reduction in the turnaround time for approval of matters such as building permits as well as the reduction in red tape for small businesses which want to host public events. Let’s start making some of these needlessly timewasting and costly exercises a thing of the past. Most of all, I have high hopes that our new councillors elect will be honest and transparent in their dealings, listen to all concerned and make realistic decisions not emotional ones that have no solid basis.
Dennis Patterson, Mark Lawlor, Kim O’Keefe, Seema Abdullah, Rod Schubert, Chris Hazelman, Les Orosvary, Darren Linton, Bruce Giovanetti
I believe we need a fresh start. We need a new culture of consensus and vision with some retention of experience and procedural knowledge, but energised with well-qualified people who have demonstrated their commitment to the community with their strong track records. The new council will hopefully make decisions which are, first and foremost, in the best interests of the municipality without the conflict and division of the past.
Seema Abdullah, Chris Hazelman, Darren Linton, Rashidi Sumaili, Fran Smullen, Dinny Adem, Jenny Houlihan, Tom Day, Fern Summer
As the largest provider of homelessness and affordable housing services in Greater Shepparton, we have a particular interest in the upcoming council elections and for all councillors to understand the role they can play in supporting an increase in the supply of affordable housing for all people in the Greater Shepparton area. Housing affordability potentially impacts everyone, regardless of status. At Rural Housing, it is our belief that all people should have access to safe, secure, affordable housing and that council and the broader community have a role to play in securing it and ensuring that the economic, social, cultural, and safety needs of our community are addressed. In making our selections for council this year, we have considered a balance of experience, expertise, and focus on social justice.