Invite to Meet Your Candidate for 2021 Shire Elections November 2021

By November 23, 2021News
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Invitation to all Members and Guests

(limited places, doors close at 6pm)

Download (.docx)

Meet Your Candidates Forum for Eurobodalla Shire Election
6pm, Wed. 24 November – Batemans Bay Soldiers Club,

Program

6:00pm Welcome and introduction of each candidate and outline of format.

6:10pm Seven candidates to have a maximum of 3 minutes each for a very brief personal introduction and explain their platform and address Chambers advocacy items if they wish.

6:40pm Questions to all candidates (see below) with a show of hands for agreement.

7:00pm Questions from members and floor to all candidates – no more than a 2 minute answer per candidate. Each question must be a question rather than a statement and be no longer than one minute. The MC has the right to withdraw/stop any questions. The MC will ensure equitable time per candidate.

7:45pm Close and invitation to chat with candidates informally until 8:30pm.

A time keeper will assist.

All candidates and participants need to comply to public health orders and Batemans Bay Soldiers Club requirements which include recognised double vaccination proof.

We thank the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club for assistance and venue use.

Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber and Mogo Village Business Chamber 2021 Election Advocacy & Questions to Candidates

The Chamber Executives would like to draw Council Candidates attention to the following issues that we have been advocating for over the last ten years.

We invite potential Councillors to consider these items and look forward to working with the new Council in 2022. Our aim for each Chamber of Commerce is to develop and promote strategies that assist our local economy and community, to recover post 2020 bushfires and Covid-19 effects as well as grow and develop into the future.

  1. Retention Strategies for Young People, Young Families and ProfessionalsWe recognise that our Shire has an accelerating increase in mean age (average age 54yrs) and one of the highest age dependency ratio’s in the country (556 out of 563 Shires).Currently there are many businesses and particularly tourism businesses struggling to attract and retain staff, despite our unemployment rate of 8.3% compared to the Regional NSW rate of 5.4% (June2021). While training is available in many areas through Business, TAFE, UOW etc., retention has not significantly changed.Past community engagement has indicated that there is a shortage of infrastructure for these demographics, moving forward we would like to work with Council to see facilities including the following facilitated in our region:
    • Indoor sporting facilities (soccer, basketball etc).
    • Entertainment infrastructure – “Funland”, “Bowling” type facilities.
    • Indoor recreation spaces.
    • Mini golf, go-karts, artificial dive/ snorkel sites, theme parks similar to the Gold Rush Colony or other outdoor recreational infrastructure similar to the Mogo Adventure Hub.
    • New Event strategy with broader event support.
    • Over-coming the limitations experienced by current hospitality/dining enterprises.

    In addition to this we believe we could improve the relationship between local businesses and school age children looking at career paths in the region.

    Young people, young professionals, families and tourists have many common infrastructure aspirations which improve quality of life and incentivise retention.

    Retention strategies are possible, and we believe it is critical to encourage these.

  2. Affordable accommodation and rentable accommodation strategies.We believe that Council could encourage diversification of residential accommodation in new developments. We would encourage future Councillors to seek advice from experts in this field and to explore solutions in this area.
  3. Community Strategic Plan (CSP)The CSP for the previous administration stipulated community indicators to allow assessment of the plan for future CSP use. Prior to the CSP workshop in 2016 the community indicators for the previous 4 years were not assessed. The 2016 CSP community workshop floundered to the point where a vote was taken on whether to continue.We believe Council’s current CSP could be improved by the inclusion of more specific and measurable goals for the future, rather than generalist aspirations. Chamber would encourage the use of evidence-based strategies that address the needs of the community and economy, thus producing DP/OPs with emphasis on qualitative KPIs indicating whether a strategy was worthwhile or not in the eyes of the community, rather than qualitative KPIs such as how many meetings were conducted.
  4. Reinstate mechanisms to ensure industry and community connection and input to Council.The Chamber proposes the following:
    • Reinstate the Tourism Advisory Committee.
    • Reinstate the Business Advisory Committee.
    • Convene a Strategic Planning and Development Committee.
    • Revise the Public Engagement Strategy.
    • Return livestreaming and change the vetting process for public speaking at Council meetings.

    We suggest Councillor participation and nomination of advisory committee membership to ensure representation of voter/ratepayer choice.

  5. Outsource Tourism, Events and Business activities to ensure reconnection to industry.Tourism and Events was a major electoral item at the last election and is becoming the same for this election.After the last election there was a tourism and events shake up at Council. A Destination Management Plan was created and designed to be industry based and led with KPIs centred around increasing infrastructure and overnight visitor spend. Unfortunately, for tourism the restructure marginalised industry input and events.
    • The re-structure saw an Executive Leadership Team for tourism position annulled.
    • The Tourism Advisory Committee was disbanded.
    • The underlying objectives of an industry led DMP have not been actualised.
    • The Planning Department has been allocated the responsibility for Tourism and Events.

    The overnight visitor spend prior to the fires continued to decrease as did tourism infrastructure. Currently across the South Coast there has been a resurgence in visitor numbers and investment. We acknowledge Councils work on the Mogo mountain bike trails as well as the new Pav in the Bay, as these will be beneficial to attracting tourist to our region.

    After the discontinuation of the Tourism Advisory Committee, Organisations and Chambers have established programs such as:

    • Love The Bay
    • Visit Batemans Bay
    • Visit Mogo
    • Visit Moruya
    • Marketing etc

    In response to Councils Tourism re-structure we have seen the establishment of privately run structures to fill the void namely South Coast Tourism, and Eurobodalla Tourism.

    Given the current disconnect between Community and Council and the excellent work that the community has already done, we would like the new Councillors to support an outsourced tourism and events unit similar to the Bega or Hunter Valley tourism model. These are successful, well connected industry led organisations and if adopted in Eurobodalla, it could save our Shire ratepayer significantly while ensuring better tourism business outcomes.

  6. Planning and Activation Strategies incorporate genuine Community and Stakeholder Engagement Processes which guarantee early stakeholder ownership and local expertise.This is in response to bush fire recovery issues in Mogo and place making and other strategies which lack community and stakeholder ownership. Mogo Adventure Trail Hub and Mogo Activation Plan highlight stakeholder concerns over a lack of ownership which stalls small business investment decisions. This proposal is also born out of concern that the bulk of grant monies have been spent on planning strategies while infrastructure has suffered.

Questions to be asked with a show of hands from Candidates:

(These questions may be modified or withdrawn. Final questions will be emailed to you by Friday – for any queries please email contact@baychamber.com.au)

  1. Councils Community Engagement Model speaks to Council of the importance of genuine dialogue. The perception that the increased disconnect and distrust experienced by the community indicates little value in the current model. Would you support a new model which ensures genuine dialogue?
  2. Would you move or support a motion to ensure genuine stakeholder engagement at the early stage of a planning strategy either as part of a new Community Engagement Model or separate apparatus?
  3. Do you support Council membership of the Local Government Association?
  4. With current community concern about secrecy, transparency, and limitations of the current FOI mechanism, would you move or support a motion for expanded disclosure through a more accessible Freedom of Information or similar mechanism?
  5. Do you support live streaming and importantly, changing the vetting system of speakers and content to allow a more open Council meeting?
  6. A number of Event Organisers believe the current Event Strategy and associated event funding has been used to marginalise events other than two major events supported by the strategy. Do you support a New Event Strategy?
  7. Do you support the outsourcing of Tourism and Events to an industry led body?
  8. Do you support a concerted effort to change Council culture and connection with the community?
  9. Do you support reinstatement of the Business Advisory Committee and Tourism Advisory Committee?
  10. Would you prioritize the establishment of a Planning and Development Advisory Committee?
  11. Do candidates support at least two Councillors on each committee or have Councillor nominated persons on each committee to ensure ratepayer/voter driven decision making?
  12. Many candidates have expressed their support to a collaborative meeting to find commonality and strategy prior to official commencement at Council, would you be happy to be part of that meeting?

Long answer questions to candidates (2minutes per candidate)

We await questions from members…