Introducing Mitchell Shire’s candidates

WITH the Mitchell Shire council election just over two weeks away, residents should receive their ballot packs this week ahead of the October 24 election.

Mitchell Shire will have 16 candidates vying for nine councillor positions across three three-councillor wards.

All 16 have prepared a statement introducing themselves to the community, which can be found below.

Central ward

Annie Goble

Firstly, I would like to welcome those residents from Wandong, Heathcote Junction, Wallan East and surrounds who were previously in the south ward and I wish to reassure them that I will represent them with all the tenacity and vigour that I have shown over the past four years as a central ward councillor.

I am committed to representing the residents of the central ward, with total honesty, integrity and transparency.

I wish to make the whole of Mitchell Shire a better place to live, work and ‘play’, however, as a potential central ward councillor, of course there is an emphasis on this ward.

My performance over the past four years speaks for itself. Let me be your ongoing and experienced voice in council.

Bob Humm

My name is Bob Humm, I have lived and raised my family in Kilmore and district over a 40-year period and we call the district home.

All three of my children were educated locally and married into local families, and their children followed a similar pathway in education. But one of the principals stayed the same: playing local sport.

Having a background in industry manufacturing and small business, I always found sport an excellent way of meeting a community and I look forward to meeting more of our Mitchell community now central ward has been extended further to the Wallan East area.

If elected, recreation, open space for health and wellbeing along with local job creation are high on my priority list, plus planning design, as it appears our new estates are missing the opportunity of indented parking in our streets for the occasional visitors or the extra family car.

My experience as a councillor and a past shire mayor – knowing it takes time to create a council plan and bring it to creation with facilities and infrastructure to support our volunteers, and mums, dads and children – is why I ask you to place my name as number one on your voting card.

Louise Bannister

I grew up near Seymour and have lived in Kilmore for almost seven years with my partner Patrick and our new baby, Hamish.

I have a background in research, advocacy, communications and community engagement and have worked extensively with strategic planning and policy documents. My experience gives me the advantage of being able to thoroughly understand proposals, enabling me to make informed decisions that benefit community. It has also shown me the importance of early involvement of community in major decisions.

I want to foster a council that provides clear communication, genuine understanding and a quick response to community. My goal is to address the main concerns of the community and find a better balance between rates and the infrastructure and services needed.

For example, expanding our waste collection services, improving roads and footpath connections, upgrading and maintaining community facilities, supporting local businesses, improving streetscapes and preserving open spaces.

I’d also like to work with other organisations in bringing services, such as mental health, closer to our residents.

I aim to be straightforward, working with community from all life stages, drawing on the wealth of knowledge that only locals can provide.

For a candidate who cares, vote one Louise Bannister.

Jasdeep Kochar

I am a local candidate for Mitchell Shire Council central ward. I migrated to Australia 14 years ago and have lived in Wallan for the past nine years. I run my own business in finance in Wallan.

Me and my beautiful wife Pooja are proud parents of two young kids. My daughter Elyza is seven and going to Our Lady of the Way Catholic Primary School in Wallan and my younger son Milaan is four years old.

I support Australian values, the Australian culture and the Australian way of life.

The reason I am running for this council is because I believe there is much work that needs to be done.

My vision is to bring more value to the community – to provide the services and support the infrastructure that community deserves.

My key issues include removing the green tape and fighting for land clearance to protect your property, bringing back the country charm and street appeal to Kilmore, including public transport and footpaths, getting the Kilmore bypass up and running, continuing to support Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal and proper management of council affairs and expenditures.

Nathan Clark

We moved to historic Kilmore to raise our family. The area is simply beautiful, and my vision is to see it become the gateway to the north.

We live and work here. Our kids go to school here. And we’ve engaged with the community through volunteering. We’ve made friends and are always looking to make more. I am invested in Kilmore.

I want to restore Kilmore’s pride and I plan on doing that through the restoration of our neglected main street. This requires a council to bring the other tiers of government to the table.

Complex problems are what I solve for a living as a senior telecommunications engineer. I originally moved to Victoria to solve an important problem that was identified in the Black Saturday Bushfire Royal Commission. I now build and maintain our nation’s emergency alert infrastructure that protects Australians from disaster. I will restore Kilmore’s pride in its main street.

Getting the trucks out of Kilmore is a priority. Making historic Kilmore beautiful again will help improve property prices in these uncertain economic times. Zone 2 fares to Kilmore East station and appropriate use of trail bikes in Wandong are also important to me.

North ward

Rhonda Sanderson

I’m ‘born and raised’ in Seymour and married with two adult children. I have 30 years of management and administrative experience and have been an active community member for 25 years.

I’m passionate about Mitchell Shire’s future. My vision for Mitchell Shire is one in which every resident experiences a great quality of life as part of a healthy, resilient and connected community that is supported by quality community services and infrastructure.
Some issues I will pursue include: economic development; job creation; township beautification; promotion of iconic tourism and memorial sites; more youth activities; safe footpaths, bike paths, trails and roads; improving community infrastructure, parks, playgrounds and pools; land use planning and development; care for our environment; improved accountability and transparency; financial sustainability.

Specific projects include Seymour and Broadford Structure Plans, Seymour Revitalisation project and Community Hub, new Seymour Resource Recovery Centre, and Pyalong, Tooborac and Reedy Creek Community Plan implementation.

During this pandemic, the recession and the following recovery phase, my eight years of experience as a councillor, two years as mayor, and one year as deputy mayor will be useful as council works to support our community.

Bill Chisholm

I have lived on a farming property at Tooborac for 30 years with my family. I have been involved in various small businesses including a service station, a fencing business and currently a farming enterprise.

I have always been involved in community organisations including school council and sporting clubs. I have been an active CFA member for nearly 50 years and a life member of the local Landcare group.

I have been on council for eight years, with one term as mayor, and council has changed significantly during that time, going from being in a dire financial position to one where our future looks relatively bright, with continued sound financial planning and management.

If re-elected I intend to continue to listen and allow ordinary people to have their say.

North ward is expansive; small towns and the rural sector need a voice. I will continue to support businesses and employment; this is critical, especially during this COVID crisis.

This means looking for innovation, reducing costs and cutting red tape. Other areas of importance to me include: roads renewal and maintenance; emergency management issues with focus on fire issues; advocacy and the importance of obtaining funding and infrastructure; adapting to climate change and the whole raft of issues this brings.

It is crucial we have a cohesive and balanced council that works as a team. Vote one Bill Chisholm.

Fiona Stevens

I have extensive knowledge of our shire through living, working and raising a family here, along with community involvement and volunteering. Raised and educated in Broadford, I remained connected as my parents Joan and Keith Ezard were stayed there.

In 1981, I moved with my husband Peter to Seymour where we raised our daughters. My career was with Victoria Police and I served locally before retiring after 36 years’ service.

My interest in where I live has been passionate, long and diverse. I wanted to contribute to the community at another level and in 2016, I was elected to council. Mitchell Shire has made many improvements, but there is still much to do.

I have had significant feedback from the community on many issues including: roads, footpaths and bike lanes; trees; water security and the environment; sound future planning for Broadford through the Structure Plan underway; road widths, amenity, and our rural lifestyle; swimming pools; investment for jobs and tourism; and representation for our smaller rural communities.

I have advocated strongly for all these. I am available, approachable and honest. My priority is that local concerns are acknowledged and addressed. I will ensure all north ward residents – now including Broadford and Reedy Creek – are considered and heard. I would be honoured to represent you again.

Carol Tullett

For the past 10 years, I’ve been treasurer and a volunteer at the Seymour Youth and Fitness Centre with husband Sergio Prado. I’m also the current president of Lions Club of Seymour Goulburn.

Despite current councillors’ efforts, there are still issues needing more attention, issues such as roadside fire fuel accumulation, poor road conditions, support and attraction of local business and tourism, and Chittick Park being the only north ward park without a public toilet.

I’ll be addressing these issues as well: enhanced infrastructure, road and lot size in new housing developments; town beautification attracting tourists, business and for constituents’ wellbeing; encouraging council’s support of local business by buying locally,

Australian made and owned; and a two-lane bridge across Seymour’s Whiteheads Creek on Delatite Road.

I’m looking forward to involvement in developing the Broadford Structure Plan – supporting development of business hubs near Broadford and Seymour and the benefits they’ll bring; the maintenance and replacement of standpipes; a Seymour Community Hub; enhancing tourism promotion; and more.

I’m community-minded with sound problem identifying and solving, listening skills, patience, proactive, and a team player. I feel a new face brings a new perspective and fresh enthusiasm to better represent all my community. Be heard – let me be your voice.

South ward

Bikram Singh

My name is Bikram Singh, my neighbourhood knows me as Nick as well. I migrated to Australia in 1998. I am married and have a four-year-old son who attends local kinder. My father is a veteran and mum is a housewife. I moved to Wallan three years ago.

My community is my motivation for running as councillor. My voice is for basic needs for our community first, such as: better public transport, such as a bus service to the Northern Hospital; more green spaces; parks to have basic needs like toilets, drinking water, rubbish bins; better roads; and more dog parks in south ward.

Reasonable rates and transparency in council spending are a priority. Our rates are the highest known and little is known about where the money is spent and how. While there are candidates with more experience, if the challenges the community faces are similar to what I am raising, then I urge them to vote for me. I would go above and beyond to actively raise their concerns, work for and with the community and fellow councillors for a solution and see to it that there is a positive change brought in to address those issues.

Bob Cornish

Pauline and I have lived in Wallan for more than 40 years, we raised our two children in Mitchell Shire and we now have seven grandchildren.

The lack of much-needed infrastructure and insufficient spending of rate money in the south continues, and that is what motivates me to run again for council.

If elected, I would like to see the commencement of infrastructure such as an aquatic centre, soccer pitches and sporting infrastructure that will cater for the doubling of our population in the next five to six years.

Key issues include a lack of government services that would cater for our health and wellbeing – in particular mental health; waiting lists of up to six weeks to see a professional should not be tolerated.

Private investment needs to be supported by council to assist in economic recovery through the zoning of more industrial and commercial land and involve less red tape.

Community volunteers will need to be supported as they face a new normality.

A recovery from COVID-19 that gets us back to normal by opening up our small and medium businesses is what is needed to keep the south a great place to live and raise a family.

David Lowe

I am David Lowe. My wife Frances and I have lived in Wallan for 14 years.

I was elected to the Council in 2016 and for two years I was the deputy mayor and am currently the mayor.

My background was in industry and commerce and I originally decided to run for council after working with Infrastructure Victoria as part of a Citizens’ Jury. I believe my professional experience has brought benefits to the shire.

I am running again as I believe there is ‘unfinished business’ that needs completing. For example, the Wallan ramps have been promised – we need to ensure they are built.

The growth in the south is phenomenal. We need to make sure we have the infrastructure to accommodate that growth: roads, schools, sporting facilities (including the swimming pool) and facilities for a healthy, connected community.

This is the challenge for this council. By 2024, the population in Beveridge will have increased fivefold since the 2016 election and Wallan will have nearly doubled. The south pays the most rates, the south needs our fair share of investment.

Electing me will provide professionalism, strategic vision, the determination to recover from COVID-19 and a focus on improving life in the south.

Vasalia Govender

I am a working mother with three children and a long-term Mitchell Shire resident. I have spent the past two decades as a frontline worker and have been involved in several community organisations and groups including the school council, Mitchell Suicide Prevention Network, and Injured Workers Peer Support Network.

I am running for council because it’s time we had an everyday woman who understands the community’s needs, a woman representative with a strong voice who is prepared to fight for residents at the council table.

My priorities include: rate relief as part of the COVID-19 recovery plan to help business and ratepayers; a review of the Draft King and Queen Street Masterplan, focusing on environmentally sustainable design principles outlined in Councils Environment Policy (2020); proper funding for essential services and facilities to meet the needs of our growing population; equitable distribution of funding across our shire; upgrading our community infrastructure, particularly our roads and footpaths; advocating for state and federal government funding to help deliver community priorities such as an aquatic centre; and improved consultation and transparency in decision-making, local voices deserve to be listened to.

A vote one for me is a vote for everyone in our wonderful and diverse community.

Christine Banks

I have lived in Wedding Drive, Wallan, for approximately 38 years, raised our children here, and now my husband I and live here with our dog Rusty.

My motivation is to protect and save the Wallan Community Park and wildlife corridor from the proposed connector road that would destroy this parkland and the wildlife corridor, and to have the Draft King and Queen Street Masterplan completely rewritten, to make sure any future development is well considered an appropriate for the area.

During my term on council, I would like to save and protect the Wallan Community Park and wildlife corridor by stopping the proposed Watson to William Street connector road, and see council become more transparent.

I love Wallan and, as we are a large part of the Northern Growth Corridor, I am fully aware that development will happen at a rapid rate. However, I do not want to see this area ruined by the wrong kind of development, at the expense of the amenity and country feel and of the residents that currently live here.

I also believe that council needs new blood to come up with better strategies and ideas, and solutions for the ongoing good of the Mitchell Shire.

Neal Langborne

In 1986, my wife Kay and I moved to Wallan and raised our family. In 1989, I joined the Wallan Football Netball Club committee. In 1986, I joined Greenhill Committee of Management, taking on the job of president in 2010 and still hold that position today.

Watching Wallan grow from a small village to a thriving community of nearly 15,000, I have been concerned that the rate of infrastructure growth has not kept up.

I would like to bring a fresh voice for all south ward residents.

If elected, I would hope to see a commitment from council to allocate funding for a pool and more ovals, as well as major improvements to footpaths and road maintenance in Wallan and Beveridge

I would open the discussion on rates and how we can make them fairer for all.

In my positions as president of both Wallan FNC and the Greenhill Committee of Management, I fought hard to obtain much-needed facilities, and if elected to represent the south ward of the Mitchell Shire, I will fight hard to obtain a more equitable share of funding to provide infrastructure and amenities for all.

Your concerns will be my concerns.

Rob Eldridge

I live in Wallan, as do my three children and their families.

My 13 years of involvement with local community groups has given me a deep understanding of local needs.

I have more than 30 years in strategic planning, business consultancy and project management for large companies and government.

I have unfinished business to improve the liveability of our communities.

As a councillor, my focus is on value for money through good planning to deliver strategic projects that improve lifestyle for all the community. Many of these projects are still in progress and with your support we can ensure they are completed. These include high-quality infrastructure, community services, recreation facilities, pedestrian and riding routes, protection and enhancement of environmental values and improvement in our road network.

For 10 years, I have campaigned for a large regional park in Wallan to cater for all ages, including large expanses of environmental and recreational open space, trails connecting our creeks, the city and Bendigo trails, Wallan wetlands, Walnaring Homestead, Quin’s Cottage, outdoor cafes, and barbeques.

With the south ward now in the Urban Growth Boundary and expecting large growth, I can provide the level of vision and strategic planning skills that are imperative to ensure we have the facilities for liveable, family friendly lifestyles.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Having moved our family with 3 kids under 5, into the region for the country lifestyle but still good access to Hume, none of these candidates provide anything above and beyond (they all sound the same – boring). Need some younger and energetic candidates.

  2. If council promoted all Mitchell Communities, instead just the one we have seen get all the attention.
    We may have seen a more even distribution of investment in our communities over the last thirty years.

  3. Seven candidates for South Ward and only one even gives Beveridge a mention! And then that’s only to acknowledge that it is the fastest growing town in the shire. Once again we are doomed to being an afterthought in a Wallan centric ward.

  4. I disagree Jenny and growth and change is coming if we want it or not so best be prepared and embrace it. However it is easy to say what everyone wants but making it happen is another story!!!! Can they put there Motivation where their mouth is and make things happen?
    The shire is full of young families that will grow with it so let’s get some fresh new young blood in and make this the best place in regional Victoria.

    I may be new to the area but even in my few years the growth has been unreal I’ve lived al over Australia and in Regina Victoria for the majority growing up and the Mitchell shire has so much to offer young families but we don’t promote it and let’s me honest Seymour looks like a dump even on a sunny day!!!!!! But it doesn’t have to we just need a council that will grow and modernise us….

    No more stores closing let’s invite new ones in…..

    You have to spend money to make money council!!!!

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