‘Party’ might be considered a dirty word in local government, but The Greens say it’s fine for their grassroots approach.
The Greens announced candidates for their Orange, Blayney and Bathurst council bids in September, with nurse and former state candidate for Orange Janelle Baylis joining OCTEC deputy chief executive Stephen Nugent on the Orange ticket.
Party politics in local government has already been criticised by mayor John Davis and councillor Glenn Taylor, but NSW Greens upper house MP and former Orange councillor Jeremy Buckingham disagreed.
“Local government is full of political parties, The Greens are the only party who are loud and proud and have the courage to actually put it on the table,” he said.
“Lots of [councillors] are members of the Labor Party, National party who run as independents but that’s disingenuous.
“The Greens are a grassroots party, we empower our local representatives to make local decisions in the interests of their communities, we’re a bottom-up party, we’re not a party that dictates … from up on high.”
The Greens will run a full ticket in Orange, with Mr Nugent also likely to be the party’s mayoral candidate.
“We need a good alternative,” he said.
He said the ticket’s priority would be making Orange the most livable city possible through footpaths, access to community and disability services and cycleways, and achieving a better balance between economic, social and environmental outcomes.
“There’s way too much emphasis on just the economic,” he said.
Mr Nugent did not support the proposed industrial business park at Orange Airport.
“We have industrial estates in other parts of Orange, in many cases there’s a lot of vacancies, they’re half empty, so I’m yet to hear a reasonable argument as to why we need to put an industrial park at the airport on prime agricultural land on top of an aquifer, it doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.
Mrs Baylis said The Greens’ ticket would be non-partisan on development, unlike some serving Orange councillors who regularly could not vote on items and had to leave the chamber.
“We’re seeing that a fair bit where they cannot vote for things because of their own interest,” she said.
Blayney Shire Council candidate Delanie Sky, who ran as Calare’s federal candidate last year, said she stood for farming families and those who had lost jobs in the mining sector.
“People thought they had long-term security, took out mortgages and financial pressure has actually created pressure on the families,” she said.
The party does not expect to run in Cabonne.