Where do you stand on:
Rates: Orange Rates are high but for Orange to remain the premier city of regional NSW it has to maintain its rating structure to maintain it services, sporting fields, public parks and recreation, etc. Orange City does not have the luxury of a Penrith, Parramatta, Blacktown Councils that have huge economy of scale. The business rates for Orange will need reviewing as Orange expands. Business-wise the emphasis is moving out of the CBD, so there needs to be some variance with the view to reduce the rates to accommodate this shift.
Would you ever vote for a special rate increase above the cap set by the state government? I am a supporter of rate pegging. This process must remain in place because some councils or councillors can have visions of grandeur for projects that are out of councils budgetary plans. I would seriously consider seeking IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) approval for an increase pertaining to infrastructure improvement, such as roads and bridges.
Conservation versus development: Orange is hemmed in - it needs to grow. Orange needs planning controls associated with a regional council. Enabling Orange to have its own planning controls for satellite villages within a 20km radius can do nothing but enhance the opportunity for conservation of agriculture, heritage and arterial road traffic management. I fully support the current NSW Government’s review of Local Government.
Macquarie Pipeline: Would you vote to halt the pipeline project? (yes or no)
No. If the pipeline is technically the best option and it makes water sustainable, available and affordable to its users, it is the best option. The CENTROC water study has not identified any better affordable options.
A new dam is 15 to 20 years away and unfunded and could cost up to 300 million, including pipelines. The Office of State Water is looking at seven dam options and one of those options is at Longpoint. Orange needs Water Security for future generations. It is about good governance, not popularity.
What major capital works do you think Orange needs?
A stadium at Wade Park to attract major sporting events for all sports, not just one sport in isolation. How long since we have World Series Cricket style matches, major rugby or rugby League clashes?
What projects or facilities would you forego to fund them if necessary?
None. Orange has been identified as an Evo-City, it has the opportunity, with the collaboration of State and Federal Governments, to seek funding to enhance its status as the premier city and remain ahead of Bathurst and Dubbo.
Successes of the previous council? (List up to four)
Distributor Road, PCYC, Aquatic Centre, facilitating the new regional $290m hospital
Failures of the previous council? (List up to four)
Road, street and footpath maintenance, the Orange Showground (to remain where it is), The Orange Regional Museum and Sporting Hall of Fame.
What are your policy priorities?
Roads, streets and footpaths, Traffic Management Plan, airport extension to accommodate large passenger jets and
Are you in favour of: (yes or no)
A full-time mayor A mayor’s job is already full-time. I know that from experience. It’s not about the social life or cutting ribbons, it’s big business.
Direct election of the mayor by voters
No, the mayor must have the support of the majority of the councillors. The mayor needs to be able to speak with confidence and passion on issues and objectives of the council.