TIMBOON resident Neil Trotter, a long-time critic of Corangamite Shire Council coastal planning policies, has put his hand up to run for council elections.
Promising to remain independent of party politics, the 60-year-old has nominated for south-west ward, which is being vacated by mayor Matt Makin.
“Truly independent representation that was once the bastion of local government is almost a thing of the past,” Mr Trotter said.
“Party loyalties and personal political aspirations can often get in the way and compromise a councillor’s position.”
Mr Trotter said he was disappointed the elections were not more hotly contested.
“As a society we appear to have retreated from expressing opinion for fear of reprisal or approbation,” he said.
“It does not mean we need to be in a state of continual conflict, but robust debate and diversity of opinion means democracy is working.”
He said councillors needed support from at least three other colleagues to have motions approved.
“I do not intend to make promises I cannot keep,” he said.
“I would like to think I would take a pragmatic and commonsense approach to the role if elected. I would hope to work with other councillors and have input and influence in collective decisions that are reached.”
Mr Trotter said reduced government funding was forcing councils to become frugal in their business. He listed declining government funding, the superannuation shortfall and roads as key challenges.
Roads were his primary concern and he called for a major review of the road funding formula for this region.
“As the premier dairying region in the nation we need to be getting a greater share of the revenue extracted from fuel levies.” He took a shot at the trend to hire consultants and advisors instead of improving communication with local communities and using local expertise.
“We need to ensure that we are getting value for money from our council officers and departments and have greater faith in them to do their job,” Mr Trotter said. “Fear or accountability should not mean that we outsource contentious issues.”
Mr Trotter also slammed some shire planning decisions, saying they could have catastrophic consequences for the shire’s many small businesses.
“Planning policy changes can be undertaken, but only after community input and rigorous examination,” he said.
“The community must have unfettered input and ownership of any decisions relating to changes in policy.”