10 QUESTIONS WITH JAN DAVIS – Maitland Mayoral Candidate

1. What led you to run for Mayor?

Maitland Greens see the opportunities serve our community by putting ourselves and our policies forward for all to decide on at election time. I personally have stood at the last five Local Government elections, and have narrowly missed out on some occasions. I have a depth of knowledge and commitment to issues that affect households and communities in this area.

2. You’re the only Mayor candidate not on the current council, do you think this will help you?

Being the only candidate not on Council presently may have its advantages, we can only wait and see. I have been active on many issues that this community will know about over the last two decades, issues of sustainability and environmental health in particular.

3. Have you had any local government experience? If not how do you think this will effect your chances of getting elected?

As President of Hunter Environment Lobby I have served over seven years as a representative on the Hunter River Management Committee established by NSW Government to prepare the Hunter River Management Plan; the Mt Owen Mine flora and fauna management advisory committee and Lower Hunter Regional Strategy Working Group. In all cases, I worked with Local Government representatives, State Government representatives, as well as many government agency representatives.

4. You’re going up against long standing council member and Mayor Peter Blackmore, what can you bring to the table that he hasn’t?

Yes, Peter has many skills and he has had great support over the last three terms of office in particular, I believe however, that Greens can bring a depth of commitment to the role of Mayor that has special qualities, in particular Greens want to see all sectors of the community reach their potential, and we do not favour certain sectors. When people talk about a ‘Can Do’ culture quite often, there are many in the community who feel left out, that is pensioners, young people and people with disabilities, along with carers and those who feel ignored. Greens aim to bring all people along equally to share in the bounties of this great Local Government area.

5. Maitland is a fast growing city, what policies would you like to see implemented to facilitate this?

Maitland is a fast growing city, in fact we think probably too fast. Consequently some of the issues that we see important for Maitland include those around over development, replacement of infrastructure, retention of bushland, transport options, including re-opening both Farley and Oakhampton railway stations, improvement of park and ride facilities for all rail stations, improvement of access to rail stations, bus shelters on all bus stops, encouragement by Council to residents to catch buses where they can. Council can ask for more trains on the Maitland to Newcastle line in particular, there is often standing room only on peak hour trains to Newcastle, this is not good enough.
The waste issue is always difficult, and we see a limited life for the Maitland waste facility at present operation. We would like to see a totally different path for this facility, that is almost total recycling, and end to waste to land fill by 2030, introduction of household pick ups, and green waste pick ups.

6. What would be your main priority if elected?

We have many priorities, but there is one that is tantamount at present, we Greens are very concerned that the O’Farrell government’s ‘Green Paper’ which proposes radical changes to NSW’s planning laws, may be implemented if there is not a strong enough counter. The proposed planning ‘reforms’ read like a developer’s wish list which will see communities and the environment being run over in the rush by developers to build even more suburbs. The grounding principle needs to be ecologically sustainable development. Our priority is to look after the people who are already in Maitland, not to expand it.
Community health is very important to us, we must ensure that our industries in Maitland do not pollute or endanger our health, more and safer cycle ways will help us improve community health too.

7. What is your biggest challenge in winning this election?

Maitland Greens sees that a progressive planning system that can create local jobs, protect fragile environments, meet the challenges of climate change, and respect the fundamental right of people to participate in decisions which affect themselves, their community and the environment is the best outcome. This is best done at a local level. It will be a big challenge to us if that does not happen, not only in Maitland, but across NSW. Other challenges we see at the moment are on our doorstep, as we speak at the moment the Coal Seam Gas industry is moving into farm land which verges on a Ramsar listed wetlands at Fullerton Cove and members of Maitland Greens and others are being warned by police to move on. The coal seam gas industry is not wanted on our farms here in Maitland either, but there are exploration licences currently over the whole LGA, we encourage residents to protect the farms and areas of Maitland.

8. Why should rate payers have faith in you?

Rate payers in Maitland have good reason to trust Maitland Greens, our previous Greens Councillor Wendy White was lauded for her work in Maitland, our work in the community is ongoing and valued.

9. How would you rate the performance of the current council and what would you change?

The current Council has been very development oriented in our view, that has benefitted developers in particular, but there have been many instances where decisions could have been vastly improved.

10. How do you rate your chances of winning the election?

Maitland Greens are definitely the ‘Underdogs’ in this contest, we are often outspent on polling resources, but we are resilient, we keep coming back because we are there for the sake of our communities, not for our own gain, and I think this will cut through this time, people will see our honesty and commitment.