AS one of Moyne Shire’s northern-most ratepayers, Ian Smith understands the difficulties involved in ensuring the council’s farthest reaches are supported.
That’s why the Pura Pura sheep and grain farmer is running in the Moyne Shire council election with a key focus on being accessible to residents in all pockets of the municipality.
“My aim would be to make myself available to ratepayers … who might not bump into councillors in their own community,” Mr Smith said.
“Moyne Shire is a very big physical area – I want to be more accessible to the outlying ratepayers.”
He said he was realistic about what the council could achieve, but community consultation had to be at the core of what it did.
“We have to listen to ratepayers and residents and ask ‘what are their concerns?’,” he said.
“A lot of decisions get made and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of input (from the community) or access to councillors.
“There are a few projects in the shire that locals are not happy with.”
Mr Smith said he like to do “Listening Post”-style sessions similar to Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, where he would regularly visit small towns across the shire to hear people’s views.
But he conceded there was “no magic wand we can wave” to fix some of the biggest issues, such as the shire’s roads.
Mr Smith said he was aware the road problem lay in the need for more state and federal government funding, but more could be done in terms of “preventative maintenance”.
“It’s not something we can (fix) overnight,” he said.
“But we don’t get the grader up here doing the road edges.
“(Another) thing up in this area is fire access roads and water points – they need to be up to speed. It’s pretty important.”
Mr Smith is captain of the Pura Pura Fire Brigade, has served as chairman of a local P-12 school and is a Warrnambool Legacy Branch board member.
He has also been a local VFF president and said supporting local businesses, particularly in the agriculture sector, was important.
He said he would be very supportive of the proposed Mortlake saleyards.
“It would be an enormous honour to represent the ratepayers and residents of the Moyne Shire”, Mr Smith said.