Four new groups unite in call to stop developers and real estate agents on council

UNITED: Candidates Gerald Power, Joanne McRae, Bernard Fitzsimon, Luke Sanger, Sue Duchnaj and Rodney Bloomfield. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0811jkelection2
UNITED: Candidates Gerald Power, Joanne McRae, Bernard Fitzsimon, Luke Sanger, Sue Duchnaj and Rodney Bloomfield. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0811jkelection2

The leaders of four separate groups in the Orange council election have united to call on voters to stop developers and real estate agents getting onto the next council.

Bernard Fitzsimon, Joanne McRae, Gerald Power and Luke Sanger claim business should be divorced from local government.

Mr Fitzsimon said it was time for change.

“We are going to oppose nominations or incumbancies of any developer or real estate agent in this electorate,” he said.

“The line between business and government runs the risk of becoming blurred and when it becomes blurred it impacts on the ratepayers and residents.”

Ms McRae said the council should put local community first over business interests in its decision making.

“Our local businesses need an equal playing field when it comes to real estate decisions and particularly about the industrial, retail, commercial and residential developments,” she said.

“When it comes to local government everybody wants transparency and integrity.”

She said she was concerned that when councillors had conflicts of interest over developments and had to excuse themselves from discussion and voting, the residents lost out.

“If people have to go and sit in a sound proof box then that removes representation from the council.”

Mr Power said he was concerned about “grey areas” in property development.

“That platform as a local council it needs to be on local issues and not have that grey area around a developer.” 

Mr Sanger said they wanted to alert voters.

“We’re bringing awareness so that the actual community of Orange can vote with their minds and vote clearly,” he said.

Mr Sanger said the united stand by the four tickets showed they could work together.

Current councillor and real estate agent Chris Gryllis questioned why they were making such claims.

“If this is the first policy of their campaign it sounds like they have a narrow-minded campaign.”

He said councillors should come from a wide range of professions.

“My record speaks for itself,” he said.

“I have had to balance my profession with my position on council for the past 30 years.

“On many occasions I have been able to assist council with my knowlege of real estate,” he said.