Comet Bay Ward

Sound Telegraph

With one council vacancy up for grabs in the Comet Bay ward ahead of the October elections, this looks set to be a tight race.

Councillor Justin Smith will be re-contesting his seat and is up against five other rivals in Stephen D’Souza, Courtney Gildresleeve, Murray Shaw, Vikki Hipkin and Mark Jones.

Mr D’Souza was contacted for comment but did not reply.

Councillor Chris Elliott currently holds the other position in the Comet Bay Ward.

For Comet Bay residents, here is a closer look at the options as postal ballots start to be sent out this week.

COURTNEY GILDERSLEEVE

Why have you nominated as a councillor and what would you bring to the role?

I have nominated to be a councillor as I am passionate about about creating positive change within the Rockingham community and positively representing the feedback, concerns and initiatives of fellow residents. The current council lacks age diversity and I feel it is necessary to bring this diversity if a group of people are going to represent all walks of life within our community. As a young person within our community, I feel I can bring this diversity in the form of fresh perspective and a connection to students, youth workforce and young families as I am truly in touch with these experiences.

What qualifications/experience do you have that is suited for local government?

As I am a young tertiary student, I am not afraid to say I do lack life experience in comparison to our current councillors and candidates. I do however have years of customer service experience in hospitality roles. Every day I have the privilege of meeting new people from all over Rockingham and I get to hear some amazing stories, ideas and feedback about local issues. Knowing how to connect with people and forming a comfortable trusting environment is so important for a councillor and I feel I could bring this element to the role. I have a strong passion for leadership roles and taking on challenging tasks, as I thrive in busy environments.

What issues within local government jurisdiction would you like to see addressed?

I would like to see the communication between the council and the community drastically improved. I do not feel there is enough opportunity for the public togive feedback, voice concerns and present ideas to the council in a less formal setting than public question time at a monthly Council meeting. I also feel our local government is out of touch with our local students and their needs. To facilitate the growth of our students and their safety, I believe a youth space, designed by students, for students, needs to be created.

MURRAY SHAW

Why have you nominated as a councillor and what would you bring to the role?

I have lived in the Rockingham area the majority of my life since 1981. I attended Cooloongup Primary School and Safety Bay High School and had my first jobs were at McDonald’s Read Street and Tresurway in Rockingham City. I grew up in this town, socialised at the local venues and surfed Secret Harbour. Many of the friendships I made at this time continue and those friends remain in the City of Rockingham. My friends now have established lives in Rockingham – children, parents, homes, jobs and businesses. I care about the people of the City of Rockingham and their lives. These long-term experiences and friendships are one of the strengths I will bring to council. I’m not a member of a political partly seeking to start my career, nor do I have business interests in Rockingham. Let’s see what we can do together.

What qualifications/experience do you have that is suited for local government?

I have completed degrees in Asian Studies (Indonesian), Australian Indigenous Studies, and Australian Migration Law and Practice. For ​the past ten years I have worked in the field of immigration and I am currently finishing up a contract in the Manus Island immigration processing centre helping to manage our borders. I have lived and worked in China, Korea, Canada and Papua New Guinea. Immigration is a people business and I have developed skills particularly in communications and negotiations. I’ve developed a thick skin and an ability to fairly consider opinions different to my own. Also, in my previous role as a migration agent, I was required to interpret legislation and financial documents - technical skills I will also use in my role as councillor. I like to deal with people straight up. If I can help you then I will. If I can’t, then I will tell you why.

What issues within local government jurisdiction would you like to see addressed?

Make Rockingham Safe - The WA Police are of course responsible for law and order in Rockingham but council has its place too. Unfortunately petty and serious crime is practiced by a minority in our city. It decreases our quality of life and costs us money in many ways including increased insurance costs. More Smart Watch Service vehicles on the road for longer hours and an expanded Neighbours Unite program encouraging residents to spend more time outside in their communities. In my experience overseas, including North America, more people on the streets discourages crime and anti-social behaviour.

Make Rockingham Beautiful - Continue to create an entertainment and high population density zone in the Rockingham Beach area. Carefully manage development, subdivisions and infills in other parts of the City of Rockingham.

Make Rockingham Prosperous – Encourage tourism and small business development in the Rockingham. Create jobs for our youth.

JUSTIN SMITH

Why have you nominated as a councillor and what would you bring to the role?

As the current councillor for Comet Bay Ward I have proudly represented the residents of Port Kennedy, Secret Harbour, Golden Bay and Singleton since 2013. Working with the City and my fellow councillors we have been able to deliver to Comet Bay the new Secret Harbour Surf Club, Secret Harbour Dockers Football and Cricket Clubhouse based in Golden Bay, Singleton Social and Sporting Association multi-use facility to cater for lawn bowls, cricket, soccer, tennis, and the Singleton Residents Association, playgroup and Social Club. There are still plenty of things left to do. These include the Secret Harbour All Abilities Playground and Foreshore Masterplan, renewal of Singleton and Port Kennedy skate parks, improving kiss and drive at Secret Harbour Primary School and ensuring a working party is set up for residents of Port Kennedy to have input into the Kennedy Bay Development.

What qualifications/experience do you have that is suited for local government?

Existing councillor since 2013. Past president of the Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the Rockingham and Kwinana Small Business Centres. These roles involved dealing with Federal, State and Local Governments over several years. I have been in the finance industry since 1988 so understanding financials and where the City sits financially is my main background.

What issues within local government jurisdiction would you like to see addressed?

Councils don't have enough say in planning approvals. An example of this is the City declined the new Golden Bay development including the destruction of the sand dunes 10/0 and the Western Australian Planning Commission approved it. We need to work with the State Government to ensure the City and residents have more of a say what happens in their own backyard. The City needs to look at other income streams. We can't keep increasing council rates by more than inflation. Now the City is limited to what they can do because of the Local Government Act but the City needs to work with the State Government to improve this. Ratepayers don't really know the full extent of what the City does but more importantly a lot of issues faced by ratepayers are actually issues that fall under State or Federal Government. I believe the City can inform people better.

VIKKI HIPKIN

Why have you nominated as a councillor and what would you bring to the role?

Rockingham City Council is a well-established council, however, with recent decisions it has been made evident that council members are not as aware of the social and economic impact for local families as they should be. As a local resident, in my opinion decisions should require input from all areas of the community and it seems that based on the average age and gender of the Rockingham Council, there is a need for a person under 40 who is currently a working parent of children under 18 years. Local facilities in older suburbs are lacking updates, with large amounts of money invested in newer communities, disadvantaging those families with children who live in the older suburbs. It is important that all areas in the City of Rockingham receive equitable funding for facilities to ensure our older suburbs continue to house young families, thus ensuring the diversity in our community flourishes.

What qualifications/experience do you have that is suited for local government?

I have spent the last 20 years in education. Currently I advocate and raise awareness for students who fail to access equitable education within our school system. I am passionate in ensuring all communities are fairly represented and that polices and decisions do not negatively impact one demographic. I am a board member of several not for profits and have volunteered on community non-profit organisations, that require democratic, economic and visible decisions.

What issues within local government jurisdiction would you like to see addressed?

· Work towards improving under-18 facilities in older suburbs and completing works in newer suburbs

· Engage families in key council decisions that will directly impact their daily lives.

· In collaboration with local families and council, work towards providing excellent council facilities for all.

MARK JONES

Why have you nominated as a councillor and what would you bring to the role?

I'm well qualified and experienced in working and meeting the needs of the community. The council has been doing a good job improving infrastructure and engaging the community, however it can be done better. I have been frustrated and perplexed by some of the recent council decisions, including large rate rises and spending over $9 million to buy land for sport ovals in Baldivis. I am certainly in support of sporting ovals, however usually the State Government or developers provide land for this. In my opinion, Rockingham has lagged behind Mandurah in terms of tourism and sustainable development. There has been a lack of activity in several projects in Port Kennedy. I know that our youth need more than just skate parks. It was sad to see the destruction of the environment and the community upset by the bulldozing of the sand dunes in Golden Bay.

What qualifications / experience do I have that is suited for local government?

For over 20 years my family and I have enjoyed being deeply connected with the Rockingham community and we have lived in Port Kennedy for the past 11 years. Raising four children in this beautiful place, I have a strong desire to protect and improve the elements that make Rockingham so great. I have been actively involved with Scouts, Girl Guides, Surf Life Saving, tennis, tee ball, netball and basketball. I have also enjoyed working as a town planner for over 15 years in Local and State Government. Currently, I am the president of the Alfred Hines Camp near Point Peron and the executive minister at Warnbro Community Church. My role has included organising the Warnbro Car Show for the past five years. Many thanks to the City of Rockingham that have helped fund this event. I enjoy the outdoors, walking along our beautiful beaches, sea kayaking and bike riding.

What issues within local government jurisdiction would l like to see addressed:

I would like to see the City save costs by establishing more partnerships with the State Government, local community groups and businesses for the delivery of infrastructure, services and programs for residents. New assets and infrastructure like community centres, libraries and sporting facilities need to be multi-purpose to accommodate current, emerging and future needs. The City and community groups need to be adaptable and work together to share and pool resources to provide the most affordable and appropriate facilities it can. Long term and robust planning is needed to provide the best for you today and into the future for generations to come. The City should promote tourism, education and economic development in the area. We need education and jobs to look after the environment and to care for those less fortunate around us.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails