THE Macquarie pipeline should be the defining issue of the September council election outgoing Orange councillor Gavin Priestley said.
Cr Priestley was a last minute exclusion from the election after earlier confirming he would stand again in a bid to continue his four year council career.
“I had quite a few people ask me where their votes should go,” he said.
“I’ve said to people the most important project we need to complete is the pipeline so I support candidates who support the pipeline.
“For the future of the town it’s the most significant issue.”
Cr Priestley criticised the back to basics approach touted by many candidates saying they were trying to appeal to populism.
He said the council had a responsibility to think on a regional level and at times became too focused on the local.
“I’d hate to see it go to a back to basics approach,” he said.
“It’s become a political catchcry for people who want to be reelected.”
He said it was important council balanced capital works with spending on everyday services with many councils experiencing the same issues with roads.
“Orange is slightly different [to other councils], we’ve got a medical centre for a region not just Orange,” he said.
“To attract professionals to town you need a lot more facilities than other places.”
Cr Priestley said he had enjoyed his time on council but changed his mind on recontesting because of the pressures of work.
“I just felt that I wouldn’t have the time to put into the committee groups,” he said.
“I wanted to run ... I had the forms filled in and I discussed it with my boss in Sydney and said I’m not sure I can give this what I want to.”
Cr Priestley said he would like to run for council again in the future.
“I’ve really enjoyed the community involvement,” he said.
“From the feedback from staff and councillors I’ve been told that I’ve been able to bring balance to some debates and managed to keep a wider perspective in mind.”
He said he would continue to have involvement with the community as deputy chair of Regional Development Australia.