Moyne Shire candidate Ralph Leutton was unavailable to take part in The Standard's Face To Face video project due to being overseas. The Port Fairy resident instead took the time to send in responses to the five key questions.
The Standard: Why are you standing?
Ralph Leutton: Due to the frustration of being a safe seats at state and federal levels, the only avenue to actually achieve anything of moment for the south-west is through local government. However, this will mean that we need councillors who can think and debate logically without personality attacks or hidden agenda. We need councillors who can think strategically and put into place plans that will see Moyne Shire prosper and develop, with each centre being developed according to its own strengths.
What are the main issues for Moyne Shire?
The key issue facing Moyne Shire is a lack of strategic thinking to ensure a strong future for the shire. With recent decisions made by the council resulting in the shire falling behind in its advertising and promotion, many businesses in a number of sectors have suffered. Also of significance is the way the council has a one-size-fits-all approach to policy and decision making. Fearing a backlash from one centre because they have made a decision in favour of another, the track record shows that the council does not make any decisions of consequence regarding the development of the Shire.
Roads and rates are important issues for all parts of the shire, but these have been allowed to deteriorate due to the incapacity of the council to negotiate for the best outcomes for each of the communities in the shire. My wish would be that in negotiating an agreement for the Mortlake South wind farm, issues impacting on the local community are identified and agreed to well before anything commences unlike what has happened with the Macarthur wind farm.
How do you rate the outgoing council’s performance?
I would rate the outgoing council with a low score. Due to its lack of sound debate and in-fighting the shire has ultimately suffered. I was asked on radio about the potholes in our roads. My response was that if something is not done about our representation then the whole shire will become a pothole.
With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done better?
(Mr Leutton declined to answer the question as he was not part of the outgoing council.)
In four years’ time what would you want your legacy to be?
It would be my goal that in four years, Moyne Shire will stand and be counted in the development and promotion of the south west. Development that is not unfettered, but designed to deliver sustainable and profitable businesses, industries and lifestyles for those of us in the shire. As residents, I believe that we live in a beautiful part of the world, let's not turn into a hellhole through mismanagement.