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The MidCoast Council Local Representative Committee will be dissolved on June 30.
Councillors must replace the controversial committee and the search is on for people to stand for election in September.
Respected businessman Maurie Stack describes the first election after local government amalgamation as “critical”.
This is his clarion call to our community ...
Mr Stack speaks from the experience of one who served our community for seven years after the 1981 amalgamation that created Greater Taree City Council. So many decisions had to be made to shape the culture, function and direction of the new local government authority in the Manning Valley, and it was the task of elected councillors - local people from all walks of life - to try to best express community aspirations for the region.
He now looks to the September MidCoast Council election and says “this is going to be a critical election. It is very important the people of the Manning Valley do engage and that we get good candidates from the Manning Valley standing for election.”
He is backing the ‘Manning for MidCoast’ Facebook page that seeks to engage the community in the election process, identify possible candidates and enable people to vote in a poll created to encourage people to consider standing for election.
“The Facebook approach is to enable people in the community to say – we would like to see a specific person on council. There may be people in our community who had not thought of standing for council that may be encouraged to do so if they see support,” Mr Stack said.
“We need people to be thinking about it now. There is no point in leaving it until one week before nominations are due to think about it.”
Mr Stack knows politics is a numbers game and if the Manning Valley is to be well-represented in MidCoast Council then it needs candidates who can secure votes.
“My best guess is that there will be 65,000 people available to vote and 35,000 of those should come from the Manning Valley. Assuming that appropriate people stand from the Manning Valley, and people come along and vote, then we should have a significant role in the new council, and that is as it should be because of the size of the Manning Valley within the combined entity.”
“Look for people with integrity, people who have a bit of energy, some sort of vision for the area and flexibility – you have to recognise that when you join a council you only get one vote so you have to be prepared to negotiate.”
Mr Stack is quick to counter the negative community perception of service in local government.
“In a local community, it is the ultimate community involvement and generally, you get out of it what you put into it.
“It certainly enriches your life, you get the satisfaction of performing a role which is really vital to the local community.
“The local council makes decisions that really impact very substantially on all of us, our children and grandchildren. Every human being wants to feel that they have done something useful with their life and this is a really useful thing that people, hopefully a bit younger than me, can do.”
Mr Stack describes the Manning Valley as a “diverse community” and says “it would be good to see the different parts of our community represented.”
“If we want a good council that can take advantage of the opportunities that arise from amalgamation then now is the time to act. We need to encourage the right people to stand for council and we need those people to put their hand up.”
Like the Facebook page ‘Manning for MidCoast’ to suggest a candidate for the poll and to vote.
To learn about standing for election to MidCoast Council click here to access the Electoral Commission website.