Why are you running for Mayor?
I love Alice Springs and I have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job. I am a common sense voice of the community who knows how to work with committees and groups of people to get things done. I hope to bring ideas to the role and inspire the community to support a vision to make Alice Springs a better place to live and do business in.
What are your policies and priorities?
- Youth Engagement Strategy – keep our kids and streets safe;
- Our Town Plan – a community vision and long-term planning agenda to guide development;
- Strong voice on fracking, toxic waste dumps and other damaging proposals for our region;
- Great outdoors – world class adventure playground and community spaces;
- Towards zero waste – ambitious recycling and waste management agenda
- No rates rises beyond CPI.
Are you a member of a political party?
I am running as an independent and am not a member of any political party.
Why are you running against Damien Ryan for Mayor?
At the point of nomination, I have not heard of anybody else running against Damien for the Mayoral role and this town deserves a contest. The community loses in a one-horse race.
Do you think Damien Ryan has been a good Mayor?
Damien is a good person. He has carried out the role to the best of his abilities. I’m just looking forward to presenting an alternative vision for our great town and inspiring others to share theirs.
What do you love about Alice Springs?
I love the landscape that surrounds us. The inspiring and diverse people who call this place home and the opportunities that drive people to want to make a difference here. Alice Springs is home for me, my family, my friends and community – that is what I love.
What do you think about issues of youth and crime?
Alice is a complex town. Like many towns and cities across the world, we have issues with our young people. There are limited opportunities for many of our young people to thrive. We need to create opportunities for young people to step up and become the best people they can be. This is not just an issue for the Territory Government, it is a community issue and Council needs to do more. Crime is a police matter and something that impacts on our community. Reducing crime is a real issue and needs to be done as part of a comprehensive strategy involving the community and all levels of government
Are you committed to Alice Springs?
I am committed to Alice Springs. I have lived here for almost 10 years and have demonstrated commitment to Alice Springs and the surrounding region in that time. I am a ratepayer, my son was born here, I have a business here – Alice Springs is home. I am committed to a better Alice through working as much as I can to inspire others to make a difference too.
There is often a focus on being ‘born and bred’ in Alice Springs, what do you have to say about that?
I acknowledge that being ‘born and bred’ in a place gives you a certain level of understanding of a place. As with most people living in Alice Springs, I was not born here. I chose to live here and make a life here. If we are to truly succeed in making Alice Springs a better place, we need to recognise that people from other places bring knowledge, experience and skills that are important for our development. We need to support more engagement in our community by more people, whether they have been here for generations or just moved here.
You’re known for being an environmentalist, what can we expect from you as a Councillor?
People who know me, know that I am committed to ensuring we have a sustainable future out here. I promise to speak out on important issues and hold people to account. I will focus on the issues and matters at hand. The most functional councils, committees and boards are the ones that have a diverse range of voices that ensure all risks are considered and opportunities taken. I hope that we will have a more diverse range of attitudes on the next Council.
You have dreadlocks and a beard, why should people not pigeon hole you as a ‘lefty do gooder’?
I don’t like the framing of people who are working for the community as a ‘lefty do gooder’ but unfortunately some people resort to name calling to attempt to get a point across. I am practical and hardworking. I am a considered and common sense candidate. I hope to represent a diversity of interests and people on Council and work for a better future for our children out here. Dreadlocks are a natural thing for a person with curly hair like myself. The time I don’t spend preening, I use to think, read and talk about how we can make life better out here. If that’s being a do gooder, then I am a proud one.
Isn’t Council just about ‘roads, rates and rubbish’?
Maintaining roads, managing waste and rating properties are three functions of Council but there are many more functions of local government. We need sensible and intelligent people to ensure Council is managing these important areas while also looking for other opportunities to engage with the community to ensure we have the best town we can have.
What’s your position on roads?
The maintenance of roads is important. The increasing diversity of road users needs to be taken into consideration. Safety of cyclists, pedestrians and other road users is paramount. The advent of electric vehicles is something we need to be preparing for.
What is your position on waste management?
We should be looking to minimise our waste going into landfill. Kerbside recycling needs to be a priority and we need to look to local solutions for sorting and stockpiling this recyclate. Food waste is our biggest greenhouse gas contributor for Council. We need to be exploring opportunities to take food waste out of the waste stream and compost it for local horticultural use.
What’s your position on rates?
Council is limited in its ability to raise funds to provide services for the community. Rating properties is the only real revenue source for Council. Rates should be limited to increases in inflation and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to avoid putting extra pressure on households that cannot afford it.
Your campaign slogan is “for a better Alice’, what does that mean exactly?
Alice Springs is a great town, and it could be better. Darwin-based decision-making and ad hoc projects takes the power and amenity away from locals. Planning is an important part of doing something better and working to develop a town plan with the community is one of my major platforms. Where are our future centres of growth? How can we improve public transport links? Where is all the solar power going to come from? How are these art and cultural investments going to add value? How flood resilient are we? The list goes on. We need to stand up for a better Alice and make sure that decisions that impact on our lives are made with our collective aspirations taken into account.
What real life business management experience do you have?
I have a good depth of knowledge in finance, governance and management through my continued experience of being on a variety of boards and committees both locally and nationally. I have worked with my two mates to start a business from idea to on-going delivery with the Wide Open Space Festival planning its 10th event in 2018.
Why should people vote for you?
I am a caring, considerate and capable person who knows how to make a difference. I am an independent person running in this election. I promise to listen to and represent the community as a whole. I commit to working with the Council to achieve good outcomes for the benefit of us all.
What do you think about some of the vindictive comments in social media?
I am no stranger to bullying. I have been on the receiving end of it at school, in the workplace and on social media. I don’t like it. I don’t think it helps the situation. Some people don’t know how to control themselves particularly with the sense of distance and disconnection that social media can provide. I have developed a thick skin over time. I am a great believer in democracy. I think it is wonderful opportunity for people to engage in community decision-making and I believe that office holders have to work harder to engage people in between elections. Social media is not democratic, particularly some of the forums and groups online and the way the algorithms work. I think people need to get off their keyboards and out into their communities more. It’s actually a nice place out there.
You are deputy Chair of the Regional Economic Development Committee, what do you think are the regional economic priorities for Alice Springs?
I have been Deputy Chair of the Regional Economic Development Committee for 2 years. I think the REDC has had some quiet wins over that time and providing a great platform for a diversity of Alice Spring’s business sector to engage with government. The regional economic priorities are the development of a cheap electricity sector through increasing solar and energy storage and reducing our reliance on gas; supporting the tourism industry; growing our education sector, knowledge (both traditional and technological) economy and horticulture. Reducing costs of living and supporting sustainable livelihoods will be critical. More must be done to engage indigenous people in the economy rather than working around them.
Are you still planning to work for the Arid Lands Environment Centre if elected Mayor or Councillor?
If I am elected Mayor, I will have to resign from working at ALEC. If I am elected Councillor, I will reduce my hours to ensure I have adequate time to fulfil my Council duties.
Do you have any investments or interests that will impact on your ability to fairly represent the community of Alice Springs?
I do not own any shares. I have a mortgage with the Alice Springs Community Bank. I am a Board member of Australian Conservation Foundation and Desert Knowledge Australia. I sit on a number of local advisory committees.
None of these interests will impact on my ability to represent the Alice Springs community, if they do – I will declare a perceived, potential or real conflict of interest as necessary and deal with it accordingly.
What are you views on fracking?
Fracking for shale gas concerns me. Living in a town that is wholly dependent on groundwater, living in a region wholly dependent on groundwater, living in the Territory that is wholly dependent on groundwater – means we need to be thinking about it. The risks are too great. I support a ban on fracking.
What is your vision for Alice Springs?
Alice Springs is a thriving, multicultural town in the heart of Australia. Powered by the sun and living within its natural means – Alice Springs has the potential to be great. My vision for Alice Springs is one where our kids have a future here, our older people are supported to stay, business people are encouraged to invest and our leaders are transparent and accountable to the public. My vision is for a better Alice, one that all of us can enjoy.