Meet the candidates: Darebin City Council
15.10.2020

Meet the candidates: Darebin City Council

Photo by Darebin City Council
By Kate Streader

Introducing the candidates for Darebin City Council and their priorities for the community.

Darebin City Council encompasses Alphington, Bundoora, Coburg, Coburg North, Fairfield, Keon Park, Kingsbury, Macleod, Northcote, Preston, Regent West, Reservoir and Thornbury. City of Darebin was previously broken up into three wards, each with three councillors. From the 2020 Council Elections onwards, Darebin City Council will be broken up into nine wards, each with one councillor.

Visit the Victorian Electoral Commission website to see a map of ward boundaries.

Its current councillors are Julie Williams, Steph Amir and Lina Messina – Cazaly Ward; Gaetano Greco, Tim Laurence and Susanne Newton (Deputy Mayor) – La Trobe Ward; and Trent McCarthy, Kim Le Cerf and Susan Rennie (Mayor) – Rucker Ward.

Meet the 2020 candidates for Darebin City Council below.

Central Ward

One vacancy, eight candidates

Brendan John – Independent

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

The kay aim is to provide subsidies for small business to open again. specifically, for the arts and culture establishments. Council needs to prioritise the re-opening of small businesses. A local economy needs a strong incentive to re-open. And this means a pro-active approach to re-establish the small business sector in Darebin.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

By council adopting a propriety for live music venues to re-emerge. Reducing rates for the live music scene.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

I am an arts worker and I can see the necessity of arts and live music in Darebin. I will be the voice in council whom will represent and fully supports the arts and live music community. I believe in a strong and vibrant arts – live music scene. A vote for me is a vote for the arts – live music community in Darebin.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

The key aim for me is to implement community empowerment which provides a space for the community to express themselves in a range of formats. From the bottom up, not the top down. I believe in workers receiving strong and relevant working conditions, specifically, arts workers. Affordable housing, employment and education. And a space for the veteran’s community to communicate with council, whist lobbying state and federal government for necessary services.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

I would like the council climate plan to be sped up. Proper rubbish recycling. More green spaces. More solar panels. More public transport. And an importance for council to continue to take climate change seriously.

Craig Walters – Independent

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

http://votedegrowth.info/policies/

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

Outdoor venues at unusual places.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

Some years ago, we organised local concerts which everyone could attend and do a piece of their own; whatever. Was great fun and local community-building. Now, we have no community halls available for public use in our area. Every ward needs them.

Also, the Darebin Songwriters Award needs much more promotion as the quality of talent is really really good and few people attend to experience it.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

http://votedegrowth.info/policies/

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

http://votedegrowth.info/climate-and-environment/

Esther Kennedy – The Greens

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown? 

We will bring sound and colour back to High Street and other shopping streets in Darebin with activation and events, artists in vacant shops and more outdoor dining. Here in Darebin, Greens on council introduced the award-winning Active Spaces program which helps artists and small businesses test the market with short-term leases in otherwise vacant shopfronts. It’s helped 80 artists and kick-started over 40 businesses. Greens on Darebin Council will invest more in this program to not only support artists and businesses in need of a place to showcase their product, but also address vacancies and make our retail strips more vibrant and diverse.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown? 

In addition to working with businesses to identify more outdoor trading opportunities which would help our live music venues resume their hospitality offerings, Greens on Darebin Council will create opportunities for partnering with our venues to help program and produce the activations and events that will be needed to bring some atmosphere – and customers – back to our shopping streets. Our Victorian Greens MPs have also been really pushing for the live music venue support we’re now starting to see at State level.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them? 

Live music is an integral part of life in Melbourne, and Darebin is home not only to some of the greatest venues, but a large proportion of the musicians and industry professionals who make up this $1.7 billion sector of the economy. These are businesses and individuals who have worn a lot of the pain of this year’s restrictions and haven’t been adequately represented in financial support. Our economic recovery plan must put arts and live music at the forefront, and Greens on Darebin Council we will do this through direct grants for development and production and artist residency programs. This kind of stimulus pays community dividends when it results in more art and music for us all to enjoy!

I currently work in Economic Development, but I previously owned an arts agency in which I represented primarily writers for paid speaking work. I’m passionate about including arts and artists in economic and community development projects, because the outcomes are surprising, innovative, reflective of the community, often more inclusive and welcoming. I personally want to live in a neighbourhood where I can see the fingerprints of artists and creatives all around me in the way the community has been built.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor? 

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

On 5 December 2016, Darebin’s Greens Councillors put forward the world’s first climate emergency declaration.

Since then, we have:

  • Doubled Darebin’s renewable energy
  • Installed solar on 1,000 low-income homes
  • Put food waste into green waste
  • Banned single-use plastics in Council facilities
  • Switched Darebin’s road surface to recycled tyres
  • Divested from fossil fuels
  • Invested in community energy projects
  • Made Council carbon neutral
  • Backed School Strike 4 Climate, Extinction Rebellion and other activist groups
  • Hosted numerous climate emergency events with residents, businesses and community groups
  • Mobilised 48 councils to switch to renewable energy
  • Hosted the first government climate emergency conference
  • Organised 96 councils and the ACT Government to form Climate Emergency Australia

Our New Commitments:

  • Revitalise Council’s climate emergency response based on a commitment to maximum protection.
  • Explore and scope with the community how Council can go into full climate emergency mobilisation mode to deliver maximum protection.
  • Embed action on the climate emergency in the new Council Plan as Council’s number one priority outside of the delivery of core services.
  • Review Council’s current climate emergency plan to make it stronger and more effective, including targets to mobilise the community and ensure vertical and horizontal integration of climate emergency action within all Council operations.
  • Roll out climate emergency training to ensure that Darebin Council management, officers, community organisations, residents and businesses are able to support the development and implementation of the new climate emergency plan. Progressive targets for this training will be determined early in the new term.
  • Engage Darebin’s households in climate emergency community engagement projects, with targets embedded within the new climate emergency plan.
  • Review all Council policies/plans/strategies through a climate emergency lens.
  • Mobilise the people of Darebin and an alliance of councils (Climate Emergency Australia) to get the state and national governments on side for a climate emergency program to deliver maximum protection.
  • Continue to deliver climate solutions locally to achieve zero emissions and draw down Darebin’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions already in the air.

Lina Messina – Independent

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

Firstly, long before the state government planned on extending the trader footprint, I tabled an urgent motion on June 6 to extend the footprint. However, stage four restrictions halted the project.  Bring vibrancy into the streets; promote small business with a Go Local Grow Local campaign. Build small business profiles. Help facilitate local consultants services with existing business. ie. rebranding required. Link with a service industry group in Darebin.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

Revive the much anticipated Darebin Music Feast, support local bands, actors, with plays, etc, Promote them on the website, social media platforms, provide small grants to ensure that they are supported. Provide footprints at our recreational reserves to preform during summer.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

Use empty council buildings, vacant shops and pop up placemaking at local streets to promote theatre, music and the arts.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

Support our micro-economy, support small business, the arts and food relief for those that need assistance.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

Increase solar saver for renters, business and homeowners, ensure sustainable development is taking place, bee hotels, electric charge stations in multi-unit developments. Reduce waste to landfill. Plant trees, build bike repair stations and water stations.

Omar Hassan – Victorian Socialists

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

As the first and most important question is how to ensure we follow the best health advice available, we do not support a premature reopening because it puts human life and public health at risk. It’s also worth noting that in the long term countries who have chosen not to lock down or have opened up too early have suffered dire economic consequences as well as health ones. We believe that the many candidates calling for an easing of restrictions against the best health advice are putting all of us at greater risk.

We will work with public health experts to do everything we can to make Melbourne as safe as possible for its residents, workers and visitors. We want to see publicly available PPE throughout Melbourne, hand sanitiser and mask dispensers throughout Melbourne’s streets and particularly near busy hubs and dining precincts. We will work to convert all of our pedestrian crossing buttons to no-touch facilities. We want a renewed multi-language public health education campaign. As well as keeping Melbourne safer we believe such projects could enable more job creation.

Once it is safe for more business to reopen, a really key component is that we have a population that can actually afford a decent quality of life which, in turn, enables people to purchase products, entertainment and services offered by local businesses. If elected, we will use the influence of our position to lobby for an increase to all pensions, to reverse the cuts to JobKeeper and JobSeeker, including the reduction for part-timers. We need to see wage subsidies extended to casual and migrant workers as well.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

We need to carve out more space for the arts. This means standing up to developers who would put apartments and townhouses on every square inch of the city if they could. We know when live music venues close and are repurposed for residential development, they are lost for good.

We will work with the state government and other stakeholders to rezone areas to establish permanent creative spaces and venues, setting aside land and buildings for affordable studios and performance spaces to sustain a thriving arts ecology. By creating more permanent council-owned arts spaces, we can provide secure, well-paid jobs for arts workers, as well as affordable access to music and art. We want to make it possible for everyone to engage regularly with the arts for free and make sure arts workers are properly paid and protected.

Where live music and other community arts venues are in financial distress, the City of Melbourne should offer rate relief to help keep them open – on the proviso that these venues are reviewed and approved by the hospitality and arts workers and their unions. Too often performers and workers in hospitality are underpaid, or paid late or not at all. Council should be scrutinising these businesses to ensure everyone is getting a fair deal.

It’s also really important that we’re looking not just at arts venues but how to support artists themselves. The federal government’s arts relief package is a joke – it’s a fraction of what governments around the world are providing for their arts sectors. And in many cases, the JobKeeper subsidy has had the effect of propping up businesses while the artists and workers who actually create music, art and productions fall through the cracks. Many in this sector don’t qualify for JobKeeper payments due to the casual, freelance or contract nature of their work. And artists on JobSeeker face having their payments cut when they get a commission or win a prize – money that’s supposed to go towards their work, not living expenses. Councillors should be using their position to advocate for real, ongoing income support for artists, especially emerging artists, as well as expanding grants and rental relief strategies through council budgets.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

Art and music have the potential not just to entertain and educate but are important avenues for self-expression and achieving social change. It is no coincidence that every revolution and mass movement that challenges the injustices of our world ushers forth explosions of creativity, music, street art and more.

Artists today fight an uphill battle in trying to survive, afford rent and bills, let alone the inherent costs involved in creating the art itself. But artists are also battling gross inequality and challenges imposed on this sector by capitalism. When art is instrumentalised for profit, you see a lot less diversity in the industry; the biggest voices tend to dominate. It also means art is less accessible to the public, especially working class, migrant, refugee and First Nations people. Art should be free and accessible to everyone in the community. Under capitalism, it’s also become incredibly difficult to make a living in the arts, with rampant casualisation and exploitation in the industry.

And as universities have been turned into neoliberal degree-factories, resources for drama, music and fine arts tend to get slashed first. Over the last ten years, many of Australia’s world-class arts education institutions have been destroyed by university administrations’ ruthless pursuit of profit.

All this means there are high barriers to working in the arts. Those from rich families are much more likely to get by in the industry, so working-class, migrant and First Nations people are under-represented. The best way to counteract these problems and create opportunities for diverse participation in the sector is to make arts work secure, organised and well-paid, and to ensure education in the field is free and well-funded. Victorian Socialists will fight to make this a reality.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

Victorian Socialists want to make Melbourne a capital city for all, not a city for capital.

This means prioritising and elevating the voices of the often ignored and marginalised in our community. We want to replace the current Lord Mayor’s ‘captains of industry’ advisory committee with committees made up of public housing residents, international students and migrant workers, we will work with first nations activists and community leaders in ending offensive celebrations of so called “Australia Day”.

It also means a revolution in housing to make Melbourne affordable again.

Like more than half of Melbourne’s residents and many low-waged and underemployed city workers, I’m a renter. Housing affordability and insecurity have been a constant feature of my life. Housing stress is common among low income earners, with the majority of Melbourne’s city workers commuting for over an hour each day. Working class communities have been pushed out of inner Melbourne. The people who make our city run – the frontline workers who in the midst of this pandemic are risking their health and their lives to serve our community – can’t afford to live here anymore. We want Melbourne to live up to its title of being the most liveable city.

If elected Victorian socialists will:

  • Advocate for a five-year rent freeze.
  • Campaign for the government to introduce mandatory inclusionary zoning to increase public and affordable housing units.
  • Rate relief for all resident home owners experiencing housing stress.

Melbourne’s homelessness and growing public housing waitlists are a disgrace in a wealthy state like this. There are more empty homes than homeless people across Melbourne, many left deliberately vacant, as landlords see greater financial incentive in land banking, capital gains taxes and negative gearing. This hoarding of housing stock while people live on the streets is just plain cruel. We will lobby the government to confiscate long term unoccupied dwellings from landlords who refuse to rent them – and use them as public housing stock to house the city’s homeless.

The recent hard lockdown of public housing towers in Melbourne shed a light on years of neglect of public housing stock by governments at every level.

If elected Victorian socialists will:

  • Work with public housing residents to give them a direct voice on council.
  • Ensure council and the state government supply masks, disinfectant, and multi-language public health information to all public housing residents.
  • Oppose the state government’s selling off of public housing.
  • Instead, advocate to massively increase the number of public housing units.
  • demand a huge increase in resources for repairs in public housing, so residents don’t need to fight tooth and nail for basic upkeep.

We also believe council owes Melbourne’s workers much greater levels of support than it currently provides. It’s no secret that wage theft and unsafe working conditions are rampant across the City of Melbourne.

If elected we will:

  • Demand all business located in the CBD open their books to union scrutiny.
  • Only tender to catering and hospitality businesses which are “Fair Plate” certified- that is. approved by hospitality workers and their unions.
  • Create a 24/7 hotline for wage theft and safety complaints.
  • Businesses that underpay or mistreat staff will not be eligible for rate relief, council grants, fee discounts or council advertising.
  • Increase resources for investigating and enforcing health and safety standards in Melbourne workplaces.

In short, Victorian Socialists are fighting for a better world! A world, where health and life are put before profit, in other words, for socialism.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

Climate change threatens all life on earth. And governments led by both major parties continue to prioritise policies that allow big business to destroy the planet so they can make a profit. I am proud to be an environmental activists and one of the organisers of last year’s blockade of the IMARC (International Mining and Resources Conference) a gathering of the world’s most notorious climate criminals which occurred in Melbourne and was shamefully welcomed by the City of Melbourne.

If elected to council, the Victorian Socialists will do everything we can to drive climate criminals out of Melbourne, expand investment into green jobs, protect existing green spaces and increase community gardens and urban forests, stand with First Nations and climate justice activists the world over in opposing the planned “gas and fossil fuels led recovery”.

We reached out to Peter Gonis, Nalliah Suriyakumaran and Jim Shen but did not receive a response to our questions in time for publication. They are also running for council in Central Ward. 

North Central Ward

One vacancy, eight candidates

Seb Evans – Victorian Socialists

Answers shared with fellow Victorian Socialists candidate for Central Ward, Omar Hassan. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

Monique Keel – The Greens

Answers shared with fellow Greens candidate for Central Ward, Esther Kennedy. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

We reached out to Julie Williams, Benny Pascuzzi, Jessica Sullivan, Alice Maddineni, Melanie Triantafillidis and Louise Kenney-Shen but did not receive a response in time for publication. They are also running for council in North Central Ward. 

North East Ward

One vacancy, eight candidates

Bryony Edwards – Independent

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

  • Place-based initiatives – such a mini-festivals and farmers markets.
  • A campaign to gift vouchers for local businesses for Christmas presents.
  • Working with commercial real estate owners for pop-up shops and galleries and performance spaces.
  • We could invite in a not-for-profit that provides technical support for the cooperation of businesses (start business-community conversations around cooperative ownership)
  • Working with state and federal programs that encourage apprenticeships, etc. Council’s role would be mostly information sharing.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

  • More events like the Northcote Festival would be appropriate once we are in the clear.
  • There’s some noise about easing up on pokies – I want to shut pokies down completely.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

  • Place-based initiatives – such a mini-festivals and farmers markets around strip shops. Grants for place-based enhancements by local artists – murals, installations, etc.
  • Working with commercial real estate owners for pop-up shops and galleries, performance spaces.
  • Set up open-air performance spaces (such as at Edwardes Lake) that are active each Saturday/Sunday and pay local artists to perform there.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

I am running on a climate emergency platform because we are on a fast path to climate catastrophe. Every level of government needs to act like the house is on fire if we want a future for ourselves and our kids.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

As above, the climate emergency is my clear priority and the reason I am running for council. Every level of government in every country needs to prioritise the climate emergency. Anything less is giving up our own and our kids’ futures. Councils may not have the big regulatory and economic levers of state and federal governments but they do have many levers for reducing and drawing down excess greenhouse gas emissions, and building community resilience across core council business: rates, roads, rubbish, community resilience and wellbeing, greenspaces, planning etc. These are all levers. Using rates as an example, councils have divested their rates from fossil fuels and Darebin uses rates to deliver the Solar Savers program. There are levers of change all across the council portfolio.

Dave Lee – The Greens

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

All Greens candidates are calling for a new Shopping Strips Revitalisation Unit embedded in the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions to oversee the plan, which would include:

  • Support for artist studios and pop-up shops to open in vacant premises
  • Upgrading streetscapes with improved footpaths, tree coverage and pop-up outdoor dining areas to help people safely eat while COVID-19 restrictions are in place
  • A vacancy tax on empty shop fronts to decrease vacancy rates and help lower rents
  • Support for annual street festivals and regular events
  • Further support for small businesses and workers to get the through the COVID-19 pandemic

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

I understand that our live music venues are struggling and agree that they need to be supported in re-opening. Darebin currently has an $11.8m COVID-relief package for any residents or businesses that are struggling and I would continue to support ongoing reviews as required.

In addition to direct assistance, there may be options to waive outdoor trading fees while we are still recovering.

Depending upon imposed capacity limits being imposed by state government, it may be more feasible to have live music in an outdoor setting. Wouldn’t it be great if we could enjoy live music in some of our green open spaces during Summer? Of course, this would have to undergo consultation with local residents who may be affected by noise levels.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

Although not an artist myself, I do appreciate the arts and have journeyed to events like Burning Man to immerse myself in it. I believe anything that brings us into flow (including art and music) is good for the soul and think it would be a great idea to promote art therapy and other classes that help people achieve flow, which boosts our mental health.

Things that I would like to personally see more of in Darebin include:

  • Expanding Darebin’s murals program so that we not only pay artists to liven up our neighbourhood, but create a program to teach kids who tag how to create more expressive and aesthetic art.
  • Grants for big and bold artwork that gives back to the community by attracting visitors from other parts of Victoria. As visitors come to see this artwork, they are more likely to spend a bit of money on the local economy through coffees or lunches etc. eg Imagine an open air art gallery in our parklands, that encourages people to climb tor interact with them (within liability limits). Imagine having picnics next to beautiful sculptures!
  • Encouraging more music, events, markets and festivals for artists to perform or sell their art. This has a dual benefit in encouraging foot traffic to local businesses.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

My first priority is to help residents and businesses recover from COVID-19.

My equal first priority is the Climate Emergency which I will detail in the next question.

My third priority would be to increase consultation and engagement with residents on local issues through the use of apps and online tools. Website could also be used to increase transparency and accountability of progress on issues reported by residents.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

This year, I have had a lot of time to read more about Climate Change and it terrifies me.

Just so that we’re on the same page, the IPCC recommendation is that: “to have only a 50% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5℃, we must halve global emissions by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2050.” Source: https://www.climatemedicine.net/campaign-3

Considering climate change is an existential risk that could destroy our civilisation, the IPCC recommendation for a solution that only has a 50% chance of succeeding seems highly inappropriate. I mean, would you get on a plane that only had a 50% chance of touching down safely?

To make matters worse, the emissions targets set out in the Paris Agreement won’t help us halve emissions by 2030 and are in fact putting us on a trajectory to reach >3.2C by 2100. And that’s without accounting for tipping points that could push us into a runaway warming scenario such as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Greenland and arctic permafrost. If we continue with business-as-usual, by 2050, we will face the risks of water shortages, food production shortages, rationing of food and water, 1-2m sea level rise and mass immigration due to the numbers of displaced people living in coastal areas around the world.

To understand the scale of effort required, it’s been estimated that due to COVID-19 lockdowns, our annual global emissions in 2020 will be on track to meet the IPCC’s 50/50 solution. However, were we forced into another lockdown lasting 3 months in 2021, that same level of reduction would no longer be sufficient as we would need a further 8% reduction compared to this year.

I believe that the opportunity to effect meaningful change with gradual reductions in our emissions has gone. We need to be in Climate Emergency Mode, with a mobilisation effort greater than what Australia achieved during WWII.

On 5 December 2016, Darebin’s Greens Councillors put forward the world’s first climate emergency declaration. Since then, we have:

  • Doubled Darebin’s renewable energy
  • Installed solar on 1,000 low income homes
  • Put food waste into green waste
  • Banned single use plastics in Council facilities
  • Switched Darebin’s road surface to recycled tyres
  • Divested from fossil fuels
  • Invested in community energy projects
  • Made all Council operations carbon neutral
  • Backed School Strike 4 Climate, Extinction Rebellion and other activist groups
  • Hosted numerous climate emergency events with residents, businesses and community groups
  • Mobilised 48 councils to switch to renewable energy
  • Hosted the first government climate emergency conference
  • Organised 96 councils and the ACT Government to form Climate Emergency Australia

Our New Commitments

  • Revitalise Council’s climate emergency response based on a commitment to maximum protection and the latest science.
  • Roll out climate emergency training to ensure that Darebin Council management, officers, community organisations, residents and businesses understand the level of emergency that we are facing.
  • Considering that the risks we face are greater than WWII, COVID-19, or even the Spanish flu, explore and scope with the community how Council can go into full climate emergency mobilisation mode to deliver maximum protection.
  • Embed action on the climate emergency in the new Council Plan as Council’s number one priority outside of the delivery of core services.
  • Review Council’s current climate emergency plan to make it stronger and more effective, including targets to mobilise the community and ensure vertical and horizontal integration of climate emergency action within all Council operations.
  • Engage Darebin’s households in climate emergency community engagement projects, with targets embedded within the new climate emergency plan.
  • Review all Council policies/plans/strategies (including our fire and flood plans) through a climate emergency lens.
  • Mobilise the people of Darebin and an alliance of councils (Climate Emergency Australia) to get the state and national governments on side for a climate emergency program to deliver maximum protection.
  • Continue to deliver climate solutions locally to achieve zero emissions and draw down Darebin’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions already in the air.

Adam Cursio – Independent

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

To assist hospitality venues with outdoor dining permits to maximise their ability to bounce back. To encourage events, festivals and activations of outdoor and public spaces enabling a safe transition to normality; giving local businesses first opportunity to part take.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

Assist with COVID safe plans and facilitate open dialogue with Council to get numbers back through the door. Assist with grants where possible and provide guidance as to how to manage pivots in business to comply with ever-changing restrictions.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

Being a musician and venue owner myself, I have felt the effects of 2020 as much as anyone in the industry. While I have lost lots this year, the passion to achieve my goals in the arts are stronger than ever. I plan to assist those with artistic dreams to fight harder to achieve them and to find ways to monetise their ideas using short terms pivots, in pursuit of the long-term goals, which for true artists never die.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

I plan to reinvigorate the small business community, as this is what feeds Darebin its culture and diversity that we all love. I also plan to use my entertaining spirit to inject positivity into the community which needs this now more than ever, at every level. The policies which follow should then fall into place. First priority is to form a strong and effective working relationship with the other councillors as this will lay the foundation to be able to get my policies through. My policies can be found at darebin@adamcursio.com.au.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

This is extremely important and I look forward to being a part of the continued success Darebin has, with worldwide recognition, in leading the way in climate action.

Steven Chang – Victorian Socialists

Answers shared with fellow Victorian Socialists candidate for Central Ward, Omar Hassan. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

We reached out to Kush Singh, Greg Chiminello, Lutvi Tair and Tim Laurence but did not receive a response to our questions in time for publication. They are also running for council in North East Ward. 

North West Ward

One vacancy, six candidates

Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

There are key shopping precincts in the north of Darebin where the majority of shops are vacant. Reinvigorating empty shop fronts with pop-ups by offering rate and support incentives to building owners is essential, freezing rate payments for local businesses and a council business support package. Darebin council and council services could consider a trial run of a four day per week working model.

I’m also passionate about supporting local businesses to move to zero carbon and to be rewarded by council via a promotions package when minimising packaging and manufacturing offcuts. Indigenous consultation and support for Indigenous businesses. Boost childcare support to help women get back into the workforce, and increase the employment of people in Darebin via council with scheduled works such as the pool upgrade in Northcote, road works and practical beautification by council of shopping precincts where food is served, making it more COVID-friendly and sustainable for cafes and restaurants.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

Allowing music venues longer hours, offering artist and musicians free access to council-owned spaces, more outdoor space allowances to be more COVID-compliant like access to the front area of the building where there is a footpath, allow carparks for performance spaces. Run COVID-friendly events all year round, instead of festival season, and support artists to identify different models of delivery. Training, grants and promotion.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

What is a modern civilised society without culture? Music and performance are what makes people love Darebin. Where I am in Reservoir’s north-west, we have the Reservoir Stomp, an innovative cultural event. And we have great spaces and cultural diversity out here. I’d like to see that invested in and multiple uses of parks and sporting venues as performance spaces. It’s time to intertwine the two, and this requires equipment and venue design support and innovation in Darebin. And we can do it!

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

I want to bring compassion and kindness into evidence-based decision making. Understanding how to balance and intertwine state and local politics, utilise laws and understand best practise community consultative models means that we get more substantial community feedback, and this leads to better community outcomes.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

Climate action is extremely important to me and is an underpinning element in all of my policies. Council must move all building and services to zero carbon, we need to act as though our house is on fire! We need to start local and normalise the active addressing of climate change. We need to green and consequently cool the nature corridors that already reach into Darebin from the outer suburbs and create safe travel pathways for native animals to escape bushfire. We need to continue to plant trees for canopy cover over Darebin, we need to encourage less activity on roads and support infrastructure that allows people pedestrian, cycling and public transport access.

Adam Bottomley – Victorian Socialists

Answers shared with fellow Victorian Socialists candidate for Central Ward, Omar Hassan. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

Alex Wilmot – The Greens

Answers shared with fellow Greens candidate for Central Ward, Esther Kennedy. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

We reached out to Douglas Leitch, Gaetano Greco and Sofia Kotanidis but did not receive a response to our questions in time for publication. They are also running for council in North West Ward. 

South Central Ward

One vacancy, eight candidates

Harriet de Kok – The Greens

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown? 

We will bring sound and colour back to High Street and other shopping streets in Darebin with activation and events, artists in vacant shops and more outdoor dining. Here in Darebin, Greens on council introduced the award-winning Active Spaces program which helps artists and small businesses test the market with short-term leases in otherwise vacant shopfronts. It’s helped 80 artists and kick-started over 40 businesses. Greens on Darebin Council will invest more in this program to not only support artists and businesses in need of a place to showcase their product, but also address vacancies and make our retail strips more vibrant and diverse.

All Greens candidates are calling for a new Shopping Strips Revitalisation Unit embedded in the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions to oversee the plan, which would include:

  • Support for artist studios and pop-up shops to open in vacant premises
  • Upgrading streetscapes with improved footpaths, tree coverage and pop-up outdoor dining areas to help people safely eat while COVID-19 restrictions are in place
  • A vacancy tax on empty shop fronts to decrease vacancy rates and help lower rents
  • Support for annual street festivals and regular events
  • Further support for small businesses and workers to get the through the COVID-19 pandemic

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown? 

I understand that our live music venues are struggling and agree that they need to be supported in re-opening. Darebin currently has an $11.8m COVID-relief package for any residents or businesses that are struggling and I would continue to support ongoing reviews as required.

In addition to direct assistance, there may be options to waive outdoor trading fees while we are still recovering.

Depending upon imposed capacity limits being imposed by state government, it may be more feasible to have live music in an outdoor setting. Wouldn’t it be great if we could enjoy live music in some of our green open spaces during Summer? Of course, this would have to undergo consultation with local residents who may be affected by noise levels.

In addition to working with businesses to identify more outdoor trading opportunities which would help our live music venues resume their hospitality offerings, Greens on Darebin Council will create opportunities for partnering with our venues to help program and produce the activations and events that will be needed to bring some atmosphere – and customers – back to our shopping streets. Our Victorian Greens MPs have also been really pushing for the live music venue support we’re now starting to see at State level.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them? 

Live music is an integral part of life in Melbourne, and Darebin is home not only to some of the greatest venues, but a large proportion of the musicians and industry professionals who make up this $1.7 billion sector of the economy. These are businesses and individuals who have worn a lot of the pain of this year’s restrictions and haven’t been adequately represented in financial support. Our economic recovery plan must put arts and live music at the forefront, and Greens on Darebin Council we will do this through direct grants for development and production and artist residency programs. This kind of stimulus pays community dividends when it results in more art and music for us all to enjoy!

Ideas I would love to pursue on Council include:

  • Expanding Darebin’s murals program so that we not only pay artists to liven up our neighbourhood, but create a program to teach kids who tag how to create more expressive and aesthetic art.
  • Grants for big and bold artwork that gives back to the community by attracting visitors from other parts of Victoria. As visitors come to see this artwork, they are more likely to spend a bit of money on the local economy through coffees or lunches etc. eg Imagine an open air art gallery in our parklands, that encourages people to climb or interact with them (within safety and liability limits). Imagine having picnics next to beautiful sculptures!
  • Encouraging more music, events, markets and festivals for artists to perform or sell their art. This has a dual benefit in encouraging foot traffic to local businesses.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor? 

On council, my priorities will be:

  • Expanding community support programs to provide free or low-cost food and healthcare to those who need it, including sanitary products and immunisation.
  • Investing in affordable housing, and linking housing programs with advocacy and support programs for people experiencing homelessness and programs to prevent family violence. Helping people find and keep a place they can call home is so much more effective than just providing emergency accommodation – but emergency accommodation is still critical in some situations!
  • Provide funding to artists and push an artist-led recovery to support our wonderful food, retail and creative businesses on High Street.
  • Investing in infrastructure and projects that provides public enjoyment, which would include redeveloping Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre, building the Multi-Sports Stadium, providing free community access to Northcote Golf Course, improving lighting in our parks, and continuing to upgrade playgrounds.
  • Taking local action on the climate emergency, such as expanding Solar Saver to include a battery bulk-buy, improving cycling and walking facilities, and ensuring that new buildings are built to the highest standard of sustainability.
  • Protecting our precious green spaces and planting 1.5 million indigenous trees, plants and grasses across Darebin by 2025, to both act as carbon sinks and providing a cooling effect to the area as global warming continues.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council? 

I’m standing as a Greens candidate because I’m encouraged by the Greens-led COVID-19 recovery and resilience package that focuses on supporting our most vulnerable residents. I want to continue this important work at the local level and fight for a better future for our community.

I’m also standing with the Greens because unlike the major parties, they accept the urgency of the climate emergency.

I believe that the opportunity to affect meaningful change with gradual reductions in our emissions has gone. We need to be in Climate Emergency Mode, with a mobilisation effort greater than what Australia achieved during WWII.

On 5 December 2016, Darebin’s Greens Councillors put forward the world’s first climate emergency declaration. Since then, we have:

  • Doubled Darebin’s renewable energy
  • Installed solar on 1,000 low-income homes
  • Put food waste into green waste
  • Banned single-use plastics in Council facilities
  • Switched Darebin’s road surface to recycled tyres
  • Divested from fossil fuels
  • Invested in community energy projects
  • Made all Council operations carbon neutral
  • Backed School Strike 4 Climate, Extinction Rebellion and other activist groups
  • Hosted numerous climate emergency events with residents, businesses and community groups
  • Mobilised 48 councils to switch to renewable energy
  • Hosted the first government climate emergency conference
  • Organised 96 councils and the ACT Government to form Climate Emergency Australia

Our New Commitments:

  • Revitalise Council’s climate emergency response based on a commitment to maximum protection and the latest science.
  • Roll out climate emergency training to ensure that Darebin Council management, officers, community organisations, residents and businesses understand the level of emergency that we are facing.
  • Considering that the risks we face are greater than WWII, COVID-19, or even the Spanish flu, explore and scope with the community how Council can go into full climate emergency mobilisation mode to deliver maximum protection.
  • Embed action on the climate emergency in the new Council Plan as Council’s number one priority outside of the delivery of core services.
  • Review Council’s current climate emergency plan to make it stronger and more effective, including targets to mobilise the community and ensure vertical and horizontal integration of climate emergency action within all Council operations.
  • Engage Darebin’s households in climate emergency community engagement projects, with targets embedded within the new climate emergency plan.
  • Review all Council policies/plans/strategies (including our fire and flood plans) through a climate emergency lens.
  • Mobilise the people of Darebin and an alliance of councils (Climate Emergency Australia) to get the state and national governments on side for a climate emergency program to deliver maximum protection.
  • Continue to deliver climate solutions locally to achieve zero emissions and draw down Darebin’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions already in the air.

Peter Willis – Labor

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

The COVID crisis is the biggest disruption to our community life here in Darebin in living memory. It’s unprecedented and we need an unprecedented response from Council to rebuild the community and support our small businesses.

I’ll be pushing for a program of work including:

  • Targeted financial assistance from Council for businesses, sporting clubs, artists and community groups.
  • Council programs to promote local jobs.
  • Council work to integrate programs and information from different layers of government, acting as a resource hub.
  • A new program of work for our streets. We need a Darebin-wide blitz to clean up our streets, improve accessibility and prepare them for outdoor dining.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

Our area is unrecognisable without our beloved live music venues. I’ll do everything I can to support them. I’ll spend time as a Councillor talking to venue owners and artists about what they need and base Council’s support on that. Some ideas I’ve heard so far:

  • Council can provide direct financial support including fees discounts and rates rebates.
  • Council can support local marketing campaigns to encourage folks to go back to music venues.
  • Council facilitate access to other support from other levels of government.
  • Council can make its property and parks available for live music, exhibitions and dining.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

Our artists and musicians make our community so much richer. Council has a critical role to support these industries, especially at this time. This will be a significant priority for me.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

I want to see our community thriving again. Council as a massive role to play. I’m running because I want Darebin Council to be the best it can be in this unprecedented time. I want council to support our community by getting the basics right, delivering quality services to support new families and the elderly and supporting the people and businesses in our community hit hardest by COVID-19.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

We’re living in a climate emergency and Darebin Council must play a leadership role in addressing the threat we all face. Action to address climate change will be a priority for me if elected to Council.

I’ll be pushing for:

  • Direct action from Council to reduce emissions from Council services. This includes a massive program of planting to increase our tree cover.
  • Supporting households in Darebin to reduce emissions. I will push for subsidising household batteries for households with access to rooftop solar, increasing food waste collection and providing financial support for households to switch end of life stoves, heating systems and hot water from gas to electricity.
  • Working with local businesses to reduce their emissions in cost-effective ways.
  • Collaborating with other Councils and the State Government to reduce emissions on a wider scale.

Roz Ward – Victorian Socialists

Answers shared with fellow Victorian Socialists candidate for Central Ward, Omar Hassan. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

Susan Rennie – Independent

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

I plan to keep working hard to ensure small business can reopen. I have supported over $1million in COVID recovery grants to small businesses and am now working to expand the capacity of businesses to trade on the footpath and in some circumstances, expand onto car parking or road space.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

I have supported a grants program to ensure that Darebin’s thriving arts scene can continue to be the heart of our city. I am proud to be part of a council that honoured all commitments to artists when our autumn festival could not proceed as planned earlier this year. Moving forward, I am keen to explore how council can help artists and performers by making more outdoor spaces available to them.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

The arts have a fundamental role to play in the life of our community. They contribute enormously to our local economy but, even more importantly, to our sense of connectedness, our identity and our collective and individual health and wellbeing.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

I want Darebin council to continue to be a bold and progressive council that delivers exceptional services to residents but also continues to lead the country on important issues such as truth and justice for First Nations people, gambling reform and the climate emergency.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

I am immensely proud to be part of the council that was the first in the world to declare a climate emergency. Responding to the global climate threat is my number one priority. I will continue to support initiatives that work towards our community being climate neutral but I will also ensure that our council continues to show broader leadership in this field.

We reached out to Ross Dabscheck, Kathy Zisidadis, Ash Verma and Agapi Pashos but did not receive a response in time for publication. They are also running for council in South Central Ward.

South East Ward

One vacancy, five candidates.

Jess Lenehan – Victorian Socialists

Answers shared with fellow Victorian Socialists candidate for Central Ward, Omar Hassan. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

Julie O’Brien – The Greens

Answers shared with fellow Greens candidate for Central Ward, Esther Kennedy. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

We reached out to Emily Dimitriadis, Philip David Sutton and Oliver Walsh but did not receive a response in time for publication. They are also running for council in South East Ward. 

South Ward

One vacancy, five candidates

Hugh Morris-Dalton – Independent

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

Council has a huge role to play in promoting community organisations and small businesses as we come out of lockdown. While there has been financial assistance offered to business in Darebin, the first step needs to be consultation and making sure business owners and operators are involved with the plans for re-opening and can lend their expertise. There has been a great sense of co-operation between local businesses in Darebin during these times and Council needs to promote and assist this sense of community, not ignore it and forge on with other plans. Being involved with planning will give businesses and community organisations a better understanding of what they need to do to get back providing valuable services. Further financial assistance should be targeted at building the capabilities required to operate in a new Covid-normal.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

It will be very hard for live music venues to fully re-open with lockdown restrictions in Melbourne any time soon. This is especially true for a number of the venues in Darebin venues like Merri Creek Tavern, 303 and Open Studio, whose business models rely on having a large number of people in a small space. For this reason, I would like to see Darebin Council provide grants and support to venues to help them set up online steaming infrastructure so they can hold performances with small crowds on-premise and sell tickets online. ‘Delivered Live’ has demonstrated the success initiatives like this can play.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

They are extremely important. Before lockdown I would have attended multiple live music events a month. I have many friends and family members who are performers and they have been some of the hardest hit by the lockdowns. Council needs to do everything possible to support these sectors. This will mean Council will have a larger role to play in hosting and supporting outdoor events and other Covid-safe activities that help these sectors start operating again.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

I want to make sure Council represents the diversity in our community and has younger representatives that can help engage young people in the area. I want to see Council playing a bigger role in connecting our community, addressing sustainability issues and supporting the community organisations and businesses that bring us together.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

Very important. Darebin Council has declared and a climate emergency and already has a range of initiatives like subsidised solar. I will be making sure that there are more initiatives focused at young people and renters so they have assistance in reducing their environmental impact as well.

Tom Hannan – The Greens

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown? 

We will bring sound and colour back to High Street and other shopping streets in Darebin with activation and events, artists in vacant shops and more outdoor dining. Here in Darebin, Greens on council introduced the award-winning Active Spaces program which helps artists and small businesses test the market with short-term leases in otherwise vacant shopfronts. It’s helped 80 artists and kick-started over 40 businesses. Greens on Darebin Council will invest more in this program to not only support artists and businesses in need of a place to showcase their product, but also address vacancies and make our retail strips more vibrant and diverse.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown? 

In addition to working with businesses to identify more outdoor trading opportunities which would help our live music venues resume their hospitality offerings, Greens on Darebin Council will create opportunities for partnering with our venues to help program and produce the activations and events that will be needed to bring some atmosphere – and customers – back to our shopping streets. Our Victorian Greens MPs have also been really pushing for the live music venue support we’re now starting to see at State level.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them? 

Live music is an integral part of life in Melbourne, and Darebin is home not only to some of the greatest venues, but a large proportion of the musicians and industry professionals who make up this $1.7 billion sector of the economy. These are businesses and individuals who have worn a lot of the pain of this year’s restrictions and haven’t been adequately represented in financial support. Our economic recovery plan must put arts and live music at the forefront, and Greens on Darebin Council we will do this through direct grants for development and production and artist residency programs. This kind of stimulus pays community dividends when it results in more art and music for us all to enjoy!

I currently work in Economic Development, but I previously owned an arts agency in which I represented primarily writers for paid speaking work. I’m passionate about including arts and artists in economic and community development projects, because the outcomes are surprising, innovative, reflective of the community, often more inclusive and welcoming. I personally want to live in a neighbourhood where I can see the fingerprints of artists and creatives all around me in the way the community has been built.

Live music and the arts are a big part of what makes Northcote unique and brings people to the area.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

On 5 December 2016, Darebin’s Greens Councillors put forward the world’s first climate emergency declaration.

Since then, we have:

  • Doubled Darebin’s renewable energy
  • Installed solar on 1,000 low-income homes
  • Put food waste into green waste
  • Banned single-use plastics in Council facilities
  • Switched Darebin’s road surface to recycled tyres
  • Divested from fossil fuels
  • Invested in community energy projects
  • Made Council carbon neutral
  • Backed School Strike 4 Climate, Extinction Rebellion and other activist groups
  • Hosted numerous climate emergency events with residents, businesses and community groups
  • Mobilised 48 councils to switch to renewable energy
  • Hosted the first government climate emergency conference
  • Organised 96 councils and the ACT Government to form Climate Emergency Australia

Our New Commitments:

  • Revitalise Council’s climate emergency response based on a commitment to maximum protection.
  • Explore and scope with the community how Council can go into full climate emergency mobilisation mode to deliver maximum protection.
  • Embed action on the climate emergency in the new Council Plan as Council’s number one priority outside of the delivery of core services.
  • Review Council’s current climate emergency plan to make it stronger and more effective, including targets to mobilise the community and ensure vertical and horizontal integration of climate emergency action within all Council operations.
  • Roll out climate emergency training to ensure that Darebin Council management, officers, community organisations, residents and businesses are able to support the development and implementation of the new climate emergency plan. Progressive targets for this training will be determined early in the new term.
  • Engage Darebin’s households in climate emergency community engagement projects, with targets embedded within the new climate emergency plan.
  • Review all Council policies/plans/strategies through a climate emergency lens.
  • Mobilise the people of Darebin and an alliance of councils (Climate Emergency Australia) to get the state and national governments on side for a climate emergency program to deliver maximum protection.
  • Continue to deliver climate solutions locally to achieve zero emissions and draw down Darebin’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions already in the air.

Liam Ward – Victorian Socialists

Answers shared with fellow Victorian Socialists candidate for Central Ward, Omar Hassan. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

We reached out to Zac Galbally and Chiara Lawry but did not receive a response to our questions in time for publication. They are also running for council in South East Ward. 

South West Ward

One vacancy, six candidates

Adrian Whitehead

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown? 

Darebin Council has already committed over 11 million dollars to the COVID Emergency response including supporting small business. While at Darebin I will be focused on responding to the global climate emergency including an emergency mobilisation response form council and the community. An emergency mobilisation response if then adopted by State and Federal governments would see full employment in Australia for over two decades as we re-engineer and rebuild our society into a regenerative society that is reversing global warming and cooling the planet rather than killing it.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown? 

I would hope there is an instant rebound for live music venues once lock down has been removed. If this did not occur I would consult with people in the industry as to the best way council to offer support.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them? 

Our planet is in ecological free fall at the moment and is heading toward massive social  disruption and a global food crisis where millions will die. Reversing global warming is my priority, however within that priority is the ability to fund creative projects by artists that seek to communicate the issue of global warming and its solutions to our community.

I would like to explore the development of a council funded art centre that could be used by the community to get access to material and equipment for minimal cost to facilitate youth and other people without the financial capital to work on art projects that require specific tools and equipment.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor? 

Get Darebin to undertake a climate emergency mobilisation where responding to the climate emergency is Darebin’s number 1 priority after delivery of its core services.

Getting the basics right. Darebin council leaves rubbish bins in parks to overflow constantly and have failed to fix tripping hazards in footpaths in my area  for years.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

  •  Incorporate a climate emergency mobilisation into the COUNCIL PLAN
  • Seek a new CEO who has the ability, interest and motivation to deliver a climate emergency mobilisation
  • Building a Climate Emergency mobilisation into the CEO’s KPIs
  • Support the program with adequate funding.
  • and you can find out the rest at www.voteadrian.com

Ali Hogg – Victorian Socialists

Answers shared with fellow Victorian Socialists candidate for Central Ward, Omar Hassan. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

Trent McCarthy – The Greens

Answers shared with fellow Greens candidate for Central Ward, Esther Kennedy. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

We reached out to Brian Sanaghan, Nick McCubbin and Archibald Alan Maclean but did not receive a response to our questions in time for publication. They are also running for council in South West Ward. 

West Ward

One vacancy, six candidates

Isabel Jackson

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown?

I believe we need to focus on the way that rates and associated costs are calculated and allocated because they directly influence the cost of rent, a major cost. Additionally, on how customers can access the on-site business such as availability of parking or alternative physical access. Working with clusters of businesses for branding and promoting ‘precincts’ is a strategy that I have been engaged with as a council officer in previous capacity that worked to revitalise areas. Primarily, the business have to be able to be accessible as well as to have the goods and services that customers, especially local customers want and need.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown?

As with other businesses, with advice from industry professionals and associations.

How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

Of very high importance. My background is as a visual artist and professionally in art curatorship. I have strong performing arts experience (dance and movement) as a performer and teacher. Moreover, my ‘day job’ as an academic researcher is the social and community impact of engagement with the arts. My lived experience is that there is a dearth of suitable, affordable, venues for practice and performance that can support diversity of practice or to facilitate experimentation and collaboration. Therefore, I would look to identifying ‘lazy’ Council or commercially owned sites that could be become purpose adapted for short or longer-term use, as well as greater flexibility in access to council owned and operated sites. Of course, prioritise local artists in Council events.

What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?

To embed the arts as a legitimate area of practice professionally and recreationally, rather than a discretionary add-on that can be magiced up out of nowhere.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?

Climate action should be relational to the activity. For the arts, this would be in assisting artist in sustainable practice.

George Kanjere – Victorian Socialists

Answers shared with fellow Victorian Socialists candidate for Central Ward, Omar Hassan. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

Suzanne Newton – The Greens

Answers shared with fellow Greens candidate for Central Ward, Esther Kennedy. Please refer to the Central Ward section to read their response. 

We reached out to Samuel Fontana, Vasilios Tsalkos, John Mercuri but did not receive a response to our questions in time for publication. They are also running for council in West Ward. 

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