It is time to come together and work as one.
Dr David Keegan said there is no time for councillors elected to MidCoast Council to be arguing about “north and south”.
“There are still a lot of people who fight the old battle between Taree and Wingham. If we replicate that everybody will suffer.
“We owe it to the voters to work together to maximise the return on their investment, which is their rates.
“The only way we can be successful is to work together with the whole region.”
Dr Keegan’s Country Labor Group J topped the voting tally in the September 9 election, gaining 8807 first preference votes, 25 to 30 per cent more votes than the next highest group.
It’s quota ratio sees Dr Keegan securing a seat along with the second person on the Group J ticket, Claire Pontin, a former general manager of Food Standards Australia. “Her finance and economic background would make her a major addition to any council.”
Dr Keegan served for seven years on the former Greater Taree City Council, his term only ending when the merger was announced in May 2016.
He described MidCoast Council as a “massive enterprise. We need to have it very well managed.”
As councillors he said their role will include overseeing council operations and ensuring it is performing optimally in all areas.
Acknowledging there will be things Great Lakes did better and things Greater Taree did better, he said they will need to "cherry pick” the best from each former council area and combine them moving forward.
He sees roads and bridges as the biggest concern for residents. “Too many roads fail too quickly.”
Dr Keegan said there is a need for quality assurance at each stage of construction.
“It comes down to infrastructure delivery, which involves many levels of council input including planning and financial management.”
He said there needs to be an innovative approach to finance.
“We are going to have to think outside the square if we are going to maximise the return for our area.”
When asked if he was considering standing for mayor, Dr Keegan said he felt the person for the role would need to have the time to commit to it.