Meet the candidates: Moreland City Council
15.10.2020

Meet the candidates: Moreland City Council

Brunswick Music Festival
By Kate Streader

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

City of Moreland encompasses Brunswick, Brunswick East, Brunswick West, Coburg, Coburg North, Fawkner, Glenroy, Gowanbrae, Hadfield, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale, Pascoe Vale South and small sections of Fitzroy North and Tallamarine. It is broken up into three wards, two with four councillors and one with three councillors.

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

City of Moreland’s current councillors are Natalie Abboud, Sue Bolton, Annalivia Carli Hannan and Ali Irfanli – North-East Ward; Helen Davidson, John Kavanagh, Dale Martin and Oscar Yildiz (Deputy Mayor) – North-West Ward; Mark Riley, Lambros Tapinos (Mayor) and Jess Dorney – South Ward.

Meet the 2020 candidates for Moreland City Council below.

North-East Ward

Four vacancies, 19 candidates.

Adam Pulford – The Greens

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post-lockdown? How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown? How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

Part of what makes Moreland such a special place to live is our thriving arts and local music scene. If elected, I will explore what further support, including by providing grants, that council can provide to Moreland’s small businesses, live music venues and artists to help get them back on their feet post-lockdown. I believe council should play a leading role in putting on or supporting local community events, including gigs and music festivals, providing direct employment opportunities for local artists and musicians, as restrictions continue to ease and our community begins to come together again over summer. I will also make sure council and state government are working together to expand outdoor dining options to help increase the number of customers small businesses and venues can serve food and drink to in a COVID-safe way.
What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?
My priorities are:
  1. Create local jobs and support Moreland households, businesses and community groups throughout and beyond COVID-19.
  2. Utilise post-COVID economic recovery opportunities to accelerate the roll-out of active transport infrastructure, new parks and open spaces, and community programs and services in Moreland.
  3. Act on the climate emergency, including by supporting transition to renewable energy in and for Moreland.
  4. Strongly advocate for more and better public transport to serve Moreland’s growing population.
  5. Ensure local residents have a say over the future of their neighbourhoods.

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

For my day job, I work at the Climate and Health Alliance, a non-profit working for climate action to protect our health. If elected, acting on the climate emergency is one of my top priorities, and I commit to continuing the Greens’ leadership on climate action through Moreland Council.

We’re living the impacts of the accelerating climate emergency right now, yet the federal coalition government is pushing a gas-led post-COVID economic recovery and the state Labor government has stalled once again on announcing interim emissions reduction targets. In this context, local leadership on the climate emergency is more important than ever. Council should be looking at all levers at its disposal to cut emissions, draw down carbon and build local climate resilience.

Meghan Street – Sue Bolton Team

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

The lockdowns have been tough on so many local businesses, I am seeing endless ‘for lease’ signs in shops along Sydney Road. There are so many ways council can lead on post-COVID recovery, including using only local businesses for catering and services at council events, providing small business grants to businesses in the area and creating online resources to link up locals with local businesses. When we open up fully and live music and festivals are reopened, council should promote events big and small and support local artists and entertainers. Our area is known for its live music including the Sydney Road Music Festival (and associated street party). Grants for community festivals not only helps the community get back on its feet, it also provides us with a sense of connection, something we have been lacking these past six months.

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

So just like I would as a councillor, I went and crowdsourced some opinions from people in the know, musicians (including local ones) with experience performing at live music venues in Melbourne. Here’s some of the great suggestions they made that I agree would be good for council to help with:

  • Local councils can assist venues to become COVID-safe with funding and expertise. Councils have been a crucial part of raising the Raise The Rate campaign. We know a lot of musicians, hospitality staff and students are unemployed or underemployed and raising the rate would mean people can afford a night out once in a while. Keeping pressure to keep JobKeeper going is important as well. (Most other parties don’t use local government as a platform to support these campaigns but we do).
  • Many of the bars that support unknown local musicians will either close or be pressured to dump live music nights in exchange for immediate revenue earners such as pokies. So it would be worth Moreland council asking each venue that supports local music what they will need to continue to engage in this way.
  • Musicians are becoming increasingly overlooked and disregarded in society – music is seen as something free to get on streaming apps, while there is no subsidy for musicians in terms of cost of instruments, rehearsal space, time, production cost of music, and musicians are often pressured to play for free at gigs. After the lockdown, it would imagine the self-esteem of many local musicians is pretty wrecked. It would be great for Moreland to have a ‘lets celebrate our local musicians’ campaign to get locals to go to music venues to celebrate local musicians.

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

What did many of us turn to when COVID hit and the lockdowns started? We turned to our music, our books, our movies and TV shows. We turned to our artists. Arts and live music are very important to me, and to my city of Moreland. We have a thriving live music scene and many resident artists. I am particularly interested in assisting artists in the north of Moreland where services, venues and resources are not as networked as they are in the south. As rents in the south increase and many residents (including artists) are pushed further north, it becomes critical to improve services to meet the needs of our community. Some artists in our community feel that Moreland council overlooks the plethora of artistic talent in the north when it comes to hiring local artists for events. I aim to change that.

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

Community-centred action. I want to continue to work for the betterment of our community on issues such as better public transport and biking and walking paths, youth-centred activities and youth hubs, arts and community festivals, sustainable resident-oriented development and other issues that matter to people. One thing I’ve learned in my time in Moreland is that LISTENING to people and their issues is critical to making changes that take into account everyone. How can I fully understand the experiences of a refugee or new migrant, a queer kid, a single mother on the poverty line, or anyone else with a different life to me if I don’t sit down and talk to them about the barriers they face, the circumstances they live in? If I’m to make and vote on council policy, I have an absolute responsibility to ensure those policies do not unduly affect the vulnerable in our community.

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

You know when the fire alarms goes off and you hear it and you know you have to act NOW? That’s how I feel about the climate emergency. We are on track to meet NONE of the Paris Agreement goals, and even those won’t have been enough to make significant change. I’m sick of politicians who think making slow and stodgy change is good enough. I’m sick of politicians who think dressing gas up as a ‘clean energy’ is actually doing something for our planet.

People might think that local councils can’t do much in the way of making significant change to combat the climate emergency, but local councils employ several hundred thousand people across Australia, and in Victoria alone own over $100 billion in assets, including land, roads, buildings and footpaths. Imagine if we could get every council to divest from fossil fuels and stop banking with banks that fund the fossil fuel industries. Imagine if every council-owned heated swimming pool was heated with renewables instead of gas, and our public rooftops were covered in solar panels and this clean energy offered at a decent price to local residents? Local action is powerful action. I intend to rock the boat on climate action as a councillor because that’s what’s needed. I owe it to our planet and the animals we share it with. I owe it to the future generations who aren’t around to fight for their future at this most critical of times.

We reached out to Hamza Dhedhy, Ismene Thiveos, Rebekah Hogan, Haissam Naim, Annalivia Carli Hannan, Rasheed Elachkar, Francesco Timpano, Matgee Glover, Helen Pavldis-Mihalakos, Jason Clarke, Gloria Farah, Paul Paolo Failla, Lynton Michael Joseph, Dean Norman O’Callaghan, Anthony Helou, Sue Bolton and Muhammad Nisar Ul Murtaza but did not receive a response. They are also running for council in North-East Ward.

North-West Ward

Four vacancies, 17 candidates

Oscar Yildiz

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

I would continue supporting business through grants.

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

To be honest, I’m a very big supporter of all music venues and how much council or I support them will be based on what rules the state government hands down. I would always support any motion put forward to address all Moreland live music venues re-opening and I will attend and encourage others to do the same.

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

Very important as they are the very fabric of Moreland. We have a rich history with the music sector, in particular, the live music sector. They bring significant economic and cultural value to the city.

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

[Visit http://www.oscaryildiz.com.au/ to read Oscar Yildiz’s priorities as councillor for North West Ward].

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

Very important and we do have a role to play. I’m extremely proud of Moreland’s work in this space and we are regarded as climate change champions. I will continue to support any imitative that will potentially reduce our impact and damage to our climate and environment.

Daniel Taylor – Victorian Socialists

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

The biggest thing: fight to get the biggest businesses paying more taxes, to support employment programs that provide good wages and secure employment, respecting workers’ rights to organise. Those programs can improve and expand the parks, build new affordable housing, and revitalise areas for the community to enjoy collectively, including performance venues. Get privatised services (like aged care!) into public hands again. All this obviously requires action beyond the level of the council, but I think councillors should take on state and federal governments, especially in a massive crisis like this.
How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post- lockdown?
Here’s one easy thing: waive all utility bills, rents, and property payments for small and medium businesses until the economy recovers, no matter how long that takes. Big businesses, like major commercial property owners and utility companies, can use a crisis like this to strangle smaller businesses. It’s ridiculous that anyone makes profits from utilities anyway–none of those services should have been privatised – but it’s especially criminal in an economic crisis. Obviously, this applies for residents too, not just businesses.
How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?
Hugely important. One of the saddest impacts of neoliberalism has been that arts and entertainment don’t get proper funding, and aren’t as accessible for working class people. We really need more direct payments for artists, including live performers, but we are so used to the idea that the government won’t fund anything properly, it can seem like too much to ask. Councils can give grants. That’s important and they should be generous. But we also need to fight for more funding at every level. I’d love to see a more egalitarian society spending money on building the best performance venues in working class suburbs and making sure young performers have access to training and time to practice their craft without facing poverty.
 
What are your priorities in terms of what you want to achieve for your community as a councillor?
 
Okay, three things. Firstly, fight for economic equality and worker’s rights. Secondly, make sure that when we fight for social justice, we confront the corporate interests that are responsible for the problem. The big media companies that promote racism; the polluting corporations that are responsible for environmental devastation; the property developers that benefit from gentrification. Thirdly, empower and organise community members to challenge those interests collectively. So basically, uniting the community in action, against the corporate interests that dominate ordinary politics, and that are causing all these social catastrophes now.

How important is climate action to you and how do you plan to implement it within your council?
 
It’s one of the most important issues to me. I helped organise contingents to last year’s Climate Strikes and the blockade of the IMARC mining conference. I spent years campaigning on the links between fossil fuel companies and universities. First step for council is to totally divest from fossil fuels. Although there are many things we can do locally – protect and expand green spaces, and things like that – I think people increasingly realise that climate change is a structural issue and solving it requires radical action. So I’m also running because, if elected, I want to be an activist councillor, using my platform to help promote and encourage participation in the growing worldwide climate movement.

Angelica Panopoulos – The Greens

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

We, the Greens, have a plan to lead a ‘Green investment’ recovery effort that aims to rebuild our local community and support our small businesses. This ‘Green investment’ means ensuring that we centre the needs of people and the environment in our decisions – not profit.

One area that I’m particularly passionate about is revamping our local shopping strips. Moreland has amazing strip shopping, whether that’s the iconic and bustling Sydney Road in Brunswick, or the small, country-town vibes of West St in Hadfield. The Greens are committed to working with the community, residents and local traders, and the state government to make sure our community thrives.

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

There are a few ways to support live music venues in reopening. The first is to provide financial support through the council level and to advocate for increased support from the state government to alleviate monetary pressures. We also need to work with venues to determine how best to have Covid-safe gigs. Finally, we, as the community, need to actually show up and attend gigs and shows once we have the opportunity to do so!

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 and live music sectors are incredibly important to me. As someone in their early 20s, I’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend my time than at the comedy, or at a concert or at a gallery. I loved being out with my friends, walking down Sydney Rd or Brunswick St and hearing music blaring out of bars and pubs. Again, supporting these sectors comes down to actually providing financial assistance, consistent and effective advocacy to the state government and showing up when you are able to.

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

I have three broad level priorities for Moreland’s North-West Ward. These are all to be viewed within a ‘Green recovery’ lens. They are:

  1. Renewing our local shopping strips and green spaces
  2. Ensuring our planning decisions put people before profit
  3. Building community and physical links across Moreland with safer and more accessible transport

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

Being the candidate for the Greens, it is no surprise that real climate action is a top priority for me. Moreland Council having had such a strong Green influence has already led the way in climate action on a council level. However, there is still more to do. We have a plan to work with the community to plant 1 million plants by 2030 in the private and public realm. This will cool down our streets, draw carbon out from the atmosphere, provide shade cover, support biodiversity and provide jobs. We also need to understand that some candidates and Councillors are endorsed by political parties that accept donations from the fossil fuel industry. The Greens do not. If we want real action on climate change, we need to get dirty money out of all levels of politics.

We reached out to Milad El-Halabi, Monica Harte, Praveen Kumar, Catherine Bonacci-Rocca, Baris A. Duzova, Georgios Karantazalis, Chris Miles, Alesio Mulipola, Darren Leslie Grindrod, Shanaka T. Perera, Mohamad Elmustapha, Shaun Minehan and Helen Davidson but did not receive a response. They are also running for council in North-West Ward. 

South Ward

Three vacancies, 15 candidates

Helen Breier – Labor

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

COVID19 has hit local business hard. We want to ensure that the local economy emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever.

Labor in Moreland will:

  • Support local businesses during the recovery from the pandemic.
  • Revitalise the Brunswick Business Incubator.
  • Expand the Business Incubation program to the northern part of Moreland.
  • Support the viability and future of local shopping centres including making Sydney Road more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.

How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown? How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim support them?

This is close to my heart and family, having a son who works and performs at local venues. I also dabble in performance and have close connections with many in this area. Moreland has a proud history of support for the arts and Labor in Moreland will continue this.

Labor in Moreland will:

  • Build the Arts Precinct in Brunswick as a significant regional arts precinct.
  • Develop arts infrastructure in the northern areas of the municipality to ensure that all residents have access to the arts and that art, music and drama groups have appropriate spaces for performance and local expansion.
  • Coordinate a range of engaging cultural and artistic events, exhibitions and performances throughout the year.

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

  • Create more green spaces, wildlife corridors and maintained tree planting and eliminate products threatening to insects.
  • Support the local economy through the development of local business and jobs.
  • Ensure development respects character and provides appropriate parking.
  • Engage our diverse community by listening, consulting and advocating particularly in regard to basic services such as waste removal and of course development.

The local ALP policy platform supports community and environment and, most importantly, the diversity of needs. Our policy is inclusive and ensures consultation. We stand by our record, including establishment of CERES, Merri Creek Rehabilitation Program, Merri Health and being a carbon-neutral municipality.  I have lived, raised a family and been active in the Moreland community and understand the impact that local government [has on] daily lives. I support all things local: shopping, sport, education and needing our support particularly now. Local Government needs to work collaboratively with each other and the community so we can all come out better on the other side. Labor recently moved a motion in regard to a test proposed Lygon business pedestrian precinct which was defeated by the majority Greens council despite their pressing for more pedestrian areas.

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

Absolutely paramount with a goal to a carbon-neutral municipality- we already have a carbon-neutral City council. Despite some parties playing wedge politics and claiming to be the only drivers of this, we are all on the same page as a council in regard to this and it is cemented in the municipality strategic plan and will continue to be so. Many years ago, a Labor council at the time instigated the Moreland Energy Foundation and CERES to promote alternative energy. However, I and Labor are opposed and would repeal the current MITS policy (Moreland Integrated Transport) if we had the numbers – which we don’t currently – as it takes a sledgehammer to our community and those with different needs and its carbon impact is negligible. It has given developers an out on parking spaces and the residents still have cars and prevent workers, disabled and others from parking. There are many other ways of reducing carbon and improving mobility which we will implement. Obviously, reducing the urban heatbank through maintained trees and other design measures.

James Conlan

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

As the impacts of the recession begin to bite, local businesses and communities will be increasingly reliant on council for support during these tough times. That’s why I’m standing with the Greens, who drove Council’s recent commitment to deliver community grants of up to $5,000 for local businesses, as well as funding for local artists. So I support further financial assistance to local businesses and artists. I also support council facilitating access to cheap/affordable space for small businesses and artists.

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

Having completed my minor thesis on the impacts of gentrification on Melbourne’s indie live music scene under the supervision of Dr. Kate Shaw,  I understand the challenges faced by music venues trying to survive in inner city locations with rising rents. I understand that access to cheap/affordable space is vital for artists and musicians. While council-supported spaces like Site Works, the Brunswick Mechanics institute and the Brunswick Business Incubator provide great support for local artists, council must do more to preserve cheap, well-located land by resisting inappropriate upzoning of land for private profit maximisation. I will work to ensure the strategic intent of the Moreland Integrated Land Use Strategy to preserve well-located, cheap land in Moreland, is achieved. I’ll also work with the local arts community to identify new, cheap/free spaces for use by artists, including flexible re-use of land left vacant due to the recession. I also support Moreland’s arts grants and increasing these if possible. More broadly, Moreland’s Arts Infrastructure Plan provides a comprehensive and detailed roadmap for the development of a thriving, local arts community, which I will champion.

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

My family has a long history of involvement in the arts in Moreland, having owned a small children’s theatre company for over 30 years. The arts and live music scenes not only provide employment, meaning, and community to the people of Moreland, a local arts industry also contributes more broadly to the economy and to the city’s cultural identity. If elected, I will continue to support financial grants to local artists, access to cheap/free space, publicly commissioned works by locals, and work to ensure our planning laws do not crush our live music scene with punitive noise restrictions. The preservation of industrial land for use by a range of local arts and supporting businesses must also be a priority for council. These measures are all outlined in council’s Arts Infrastructure Plan which I support.

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

Bold climate action to respond to the climate emergency – this includes supporting low-carbon industries like the arts

Preserving Moreland’s heritage, culture and amenity by fighting in appropriate development. This includes the preservation of industrial land, and supporting the agent of change principle for live music venues.

Expanding Moreland’s active transport network with protected cycling and walking paths so people can get around safely and easily

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

As a Greens candidate, bold climate action is clearly a top priority for me if elected to council. I’m particularly interested in democratised community energy, where local communities own and manage their own renewable energy resources. I will explore such models for an inner urban location like Moreland. I’ll also use my position on council to elevate the climate emergency and the need for immediate, bold action by all levels of government. More immediately, I’ll champion active transport infrastructure, as councils have direct control over the design of local streets.

Lambros Tapinos

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

Supporting our local businesses is a top priority. It’s what makes Brunswick a vibrant place and we need to make sure they survive this lockdown.

I will support promotional campaigns to bring people to Brunswick. Support more cash grants to help them improve their business. Support closing footpaths, carparks, laneways and roads to encourage outdoor dining for our restaurants, bars and cafes.

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

Live music venues have been hit hard during the pandemic and need our help. I will organise more outdoor spaces for them, organise music festivals and events in collaboration with them.

I will recognise how important they are to the vibrancy of our community and take their side if any resident who moves into the area frivolous complains about noise. It really annoys me when people buy an apartment next to a live music venue and then complain about noise.

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

It’s very important for our community and we have great plans to support them. We have some of the most iconic live music venues like Howler in Brunswick and we will do everything required to help them survive and thrive in the new environment. We also want to support our artists, musicians and performers be holding more festivals and events, commissioning more artwork and supporting the development of an arts precinct including a new and exciting arts incubation and community hub at Saxon Street. And support our creative local businesses as well.

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

Covid recovery; More open space to enjoy; more sporting facilities; more essential services for the elderly, young people and families;

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

Yes important. We are a leader in climate action at Moreland. We want to help our community become carbon zero and have plans to invest and subsidise solar and thermal projects for low income families, invest in CERES and AEF to work with local business and community to decrease emissions. I spoke at the climate summit earlier this year and will continue to play a leadership role in the sector

Nahui Jimenez

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

Planning is central to rebuilding our local community. We need to prioritise developments that benefit the community. We need to save open green spaces like Hosken reserve and find a spot to build a dedicated sports ground for the local sports community.

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

We would advocate to waive commercial rents and utility bills on a case by case basis and where necessary. We are also advocating the state government to fund the arts.

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

Over 200,000 artists were not eligible for the jobkeeper payment and artists are having it tough at the moment. We want to massively increase direct government funding of live performance artists, we need to make sure everyone is taken care of. We should also investigate how councils can run outdoor events that can bring local artists together.

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

We will introduce mandatory inclusionary zoning of at least 20% affordable housing. We will reverse privatisation of council run services like aged care and childcare. We will run an open books campaign  to tackle the systemic underpayment of young people in hospitality as well as local artists.

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

Climate justice is a very important issue to me, We want to get Moreland city council to divest from both direct and indirect investments. We want Moreland to advocate to the state government to improve public transport, to duplicate the upfield line so there is frequent and reliable public transport. Public transport is not only an issue of climate justice but also a health and safety issue. Increasing the frequency of PT will allow for social distancing to occur.

Robert Durkacz – Independent

What is your strategy for rebuilding your local community and supporting its small businesses post- lockdown? How do you plan to support live music venues in reopening and getting back on their feet post-lockdown? How important are the arts and live music sectors to you as a prospective councillor and how do you aim to support them?

The council should listen to any requests and any good ideas that people might come up with. I am not sure that I will have any special ideas myself. There seems to be a lot of financial support from federal and state governments – we should not expect the council to provide financial support. If you are in touch with live music people, best if you come up with ideas and the council helps if it can.

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

My reason for getting involved is to promote community-based local news media.

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

To me – very important. The best thing the council can do is improve efficiency in areas within its responsibility. The case in point in Moreland council is to allow apartment blocks to be built without a requirement to build in a certain number of car parks.

John Durrant – Independent

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

Here are some practical ideas, within council’s remit, that would reinvigorate the local Brunswick economy once we are out of lockdown:

For all of us:

  • Provide targeted rate relief for businesses and for residents.
  • Reduce costs on council halls and venues for hire, to enable small events to be run when allowed.

For families:

  • Increase capacity of childcare providers and hire more educators.
  • Invest in expanding council’s vaccinations service, including mobile capability.
  • Build more play equipment, picnic shelters and BBQ facilities in Brunswick parks.

For Jobs:

  • Accelerate planned works for road, cycleways and footpath in the area to continue local work and uplift infrastructure.
  • Employ casual and part-time cleaners and hygiene workers to keep Brunswick clean and help people return to work or those casuals who have lost jobs. Maybe we can tackle our litter problem at the same time.

For Small Business:

  • Accelerate approvals for street trading and outdoor dining permits.
  • Establish coworking spaces or micro-stores with subsidised rent and short term leases, taking advantage of anticipated vacancies in local areas.

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

We can do really simple things like funding COVID-safe packs for venues (sanitiser, signage, QR readers, etc).

Some bigger things: design and deliver new infrastructure in public spaces to support outdoor performances; as lockdown lifts, encourage the restart of tourism in Brunswick through outdoor attractions and events. They don’t all have to be big; give short-term planning concessions to use laneways, roads and other public spaces for hospitality venues.

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

It’s the reason I moved to Brunswick. We can include local artists in the delivery of council-funded infrastructure projects (think murals, sculptures, or graphic design for promotion). I would increase funding for our local artist in residence programs and reduce red tape on our grants programs.

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

I want us to fix town planning and increase community engagement. I want us to prepare for population growth by improving services and infrastructure.

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

Very, we are in a climate emergency. I support divestment of council services from fossil fuels and purchase of onshore carbon credits.

Shea Evans – Independent

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

Moreland City Council must focus on allowing businesses to reopen, in a fast and COVID-safe way. This means more emergency grants, increased use of public space, less applications and red tape as well more creative solutions (that don’t have to be forever) but can allow businesses to start trading again.

Council-run services are also imperative to the support and well-being of the community, especially our most vulnerable populations such as the elderly, people experiencing homelessness and young people. Alongside council-run services, local government can also provide information and referrals to organisations that cover mental health services for young people, employment access for those seeking work and settlement services for newly arrived Australians.

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

In the same way that solutions were found for sporting organisations to continue doing what they love, solutions need to be found in order to allow live music to resume. This should involve allowing venues to be open at different times than they normally would, allowing them to use space that they wouldn’t normally use and providing resources and information about how they can do that in the most COVID-safe way possible.

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

As a performance artist myself, I understand the importance of live performance – not only to the arts but also to industries such as hospitality and events that rely on music and performance to generate revenue. While Moreland has recently announced further artist grants, these need to be more easily obtained with the application process being less onerous. Council also needs to support business in hosting COVID-safe art/music events and allow businesses to utilise streets, laneways and open public spaces.

Furthermore, I think that more public space can be dedicated to street art, as not only does it beautify local areas, it provides artists with space and exposes the general public to different types of stories being told.

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

I want Moreland Council to have a more community-focused level of engagement. From development to traffic issues to the use of public space, the council has previously done very little consultation and engagement with the community about what they might like. I stand for putting the community first in all council decisions.

Use of our public spaces also a passion of mine, making sure that our green spaces contribute in a positive way to the climate emergency and that facilities cater to the need of different community groups. Promoting arts and culture and the importance of people being able to tell their story only serves to strengthen the sense of belonging and community the people feel in Moreland.

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

Moreland City Council has a climate emergency action plan in place and I want to make sure that any action or approval taken by council only impacts our environment in a positive way. This means that we must focus on sustainable and sensible development, education and the changing of harmful practices in our fight against this existential crisis that threatens how and where people live.

We reached out to Sultan Taraby, Jacob Andrewartha, Mark Riley, George Georgiou, Pauline Galvin, Shirley Jackson, Melissa Yuan and Rachel Payne but did not receive a response. They are also running for council in South Ward.

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