Battle for Central City ward

Sound Telegraph
Voting will close on October 16.
Camera IconVoting will close on October 16. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The Sunday Times

Rockingham’s local government elections will be held on October 16, with postal ballots arriving soon.

Here are the candidates in the Rockingham-Safety Bay ward, where there are four vacancies. The Telegraph will be profiling the candidates in the Baldivis and Comet Bay wards, as well as in the City of Kwinana, in the weeks ahead.

Councillor Mark Jones:

Ideally, I would like to be elected as the Mayor to lead the Council and serve the community full time. If not, I still have much to contribute including time to listen, represent and fight for what matters to you and to make Rockingham an outstanding place for all.

I have many years experience as a Town Planner, and I have lived, worked and played in the Port Kennedy / Rockingham area for over 15 years with my wife and 4 children. I'm actively involved and have assisted many sporting clubs and community organisations most recently the Seaside Camp for Children and Warnbro Community Church. I am here to help and believe that the Council should be there to assist as much as possible rather than hinder each resident, business and community / sporting organisation.

I was elected to Council in the Comet Bay Ward 4 years ago, having nominated as I was frustrated with high rate rises and several Council decisions that were not right compared to my experience whilst working in Local Government. Many things have now changed for the better and the City staff do an outstanding job, but there is still plenty more that needs to be achieved.

The ward boundaries changed a few years ago and now Port Kennedy is wholly within the Rockingham/Safety Bay Ward thus the reason for me changing the ward that I am nominating for. Once elected, the Councillors are required to represent ALL the residents and ratepayers of the City, not just the ward that they were elected in.

I will ensure that YOU are consulted effectively to develop a new Town Planning Scheme for the City. I'm also keen to deliver projects like an expansion to the Autumn Centre, address coastal erosion and provide extra recreation and boating facilities without large rate rises.

I commit to always being approachable, honest, helpful and responsive.

Councillor Leigh Liley:

Rockingham, a truly beautiful part of the state, has been my home for over 50 years. I grew up here, went to school here and have been employed here, – so I really care about this community.

I am passionate about the needs and lifestyle of our community, the responsible management of our unique coastal environment and the advancement of a sustainable and affordable economic future for all residents. I’m opposed to the placement of noxious industries detrimental to health and excessive clearing of bushland.

The greater part of my working life has been working with children and families that are disadvantaged so I am deeply aware of the range of social and economic challenges that impact on families in our community, offering 100% dedication, experience and compassion to the role of Rockingham / Safety Bay Ward Councillor. I have advocated on the behalf of residents when issues have challenged the best interests of our community, and have positively influenced decision making ensuring ALL members of our community have access to quality services, recreational facilities, key infrastructure and programs.

Change requires energy and commitment, of which I have plenty. I am wholeheartedly committed to continue working with the people of Rockingham, colleagues and council staff to ensure the careful management of our unique coastal environment's vast potential and the advancement of a sustainable and affordable economic future for all residents. I remain committed to ensuring the community’s long term aspirations are at the forefront of the Cities agenda. I’m truly committed to this community

So if I were elected my priorities would be:

· Best standard upgrades to City assets, and public open places

· Upgrades to Coastal Facilities and structures to mitigate Climate Change

· Safety initiatives to protect our cities most vulnerable

· Business and tourism expansion to create employment opportunities

· Community grant funding to support local community groups

· Free community and cultural events including Perth Symphony Orchestra, Castaways, Summers Series and Seniors & Carers Expo

· Infrastructure Projects identified in our City’s Strategic Community Plans, that are designed to meet community needs, all ages and all abilities

Rebecca Privilege:

I was fortunate to move into the City of Rockingham about 20 years ago. We returned for family reasons and never left.

Prior to that, having been born and raised in WA, I had had a successful local, national and international corporate career which included serving on Boards. I learnt to read financial documents, tender documents, ask questions, and I was instrumental in building a case for the Federal Police when I uncovered fraud and theft in an international company. I am inquisitive by nature.

I also had the honour of volunteering; a value instilled in us by our parents. This experience taught me the value of volunteering and the satisfaction one receives when one volunteers. I continue to work with groups who assist DV victims and their families, as well as the homeless and those that need a hand up, not a handout.

As children, we often came to Rockingham and Mandurah and really enjoyed the beaches and the crabbing. So, whilst I have lived in the City of Rockingham for 20 years, I have had a connection since my childhood.

I live and work in the City of Rockingham and I have seen it change and grow over the years. I would now like to see it move forward in a responsible way.

I have watched Penguin Island grow and the tourists that come with that, along with the need to protect these incredible penguins that we have on our doorstep. If we do not protect their feeding areas and their breeding grounds, who will? We cannot say ‘someone else will do it’ or ‘it’s not my job to look after them’ because it is our job. If we do not, who will, and this is where we need to work with our city to make this a priority. We only have 300 breeding pairs left and that is not a lot.

The same is to be said about Point Peron. We need to look after this magnificent and incredibly special area, and we need to work with the City of Rockingham to protect this area.

My decision to run as a Councillor in the Rockingham/Safety Bay Ward did not come lightly to me. I have always been interested in Politics and have been keenly aware that previous elected teams were not engaging in and with the Community anywhere near as much as I felt was needed to be beneficial when making decisions. It often felt as if we had become a nuisance to them which was not sitting right with me. And then, a couple of years ago, an active citizen was elected as a Councillor, and I noticed a shift and change. She was asking for our opinion on issues that were important to us, and this was a welcome change. So, I kept watching and putting my two cents worth in until I could no longer just do that. It was becoming obvious that much of the current team were past their use by date. What was happening was a values violation for me and that fanned the flames in my soul. I knew it was time to step up and stand up for what was important to me and to other voters. So, I decided to run for Councillor in the Rockingham/Safety Bay Ward.

I will work with our publicly elected Mayor and the team to ensure they are responsible with and for our money, our penguins, our environment, our Youth, our safety and in keeping all of us mentally healthy.

For the first time, we are allowed to elect our Mayor. This is amazing and a huge step forward towards the future in all the right ways. The election of Mayor is no longer an inside job, it is ours to decide, and I find that so empowering and exciting. Why? Because we get to vote for the Candidate that is aligned with our values.

We need to move Rockingham forward, now, in a financially responsible way and in an environmentally responsible way.

So, what is important to me? What are my priorities? As your Councillor, I look forward to injecting new blood into our Council, my focus will be in a number of areas, primarily, keeping rate increases to an absolute minimum. I believe we need greater honesty, transparency and financial accountability in and from our Council. I will advocate for the need to protect our precious penguins, providing opportunities for the Youth of our City, increasing Public Safety and providing more opportunities to keep mentally healthy. I am a long-term resident of our City. The way my constituents’ money is handled is extremely important to me. It is time for change.

You have a voice, use it by voting, you can vote, so do so. This is your opportunity to be heard.

Dawn Jecks:

WA born and bred, I chose Rockingham for my family home in 1994. I became active in local politics when I learned of the plan to carve up Point Peron (our local "Kings Park") for a private canal and marina estate development. Our community defeated that one, and I'm now working to save our local penguin colony which is headed for early extinction unless we intervene through our City's powers.

My paid employment for 25 years has been in financial management and quality control of materials for civil construction. My current role is in human resources and training.

I regularly attend Rockingham Council meetings and have developed a critical interest in how the City might reorganise its considerable income and powers to more truly serve ratepayers as against greedy developers and other external private interests.

Support for me will give a stronger voice to improvements in services and community environment.

If elected, I pledge to work for:

· greater community involvement and more open communication by the City;

· best value for ratepayers' money and less unnecessary expenditure;

· protection of our natural assets, wildlife and environment;

· speedy realisation of the Cape Peron Coastal Park, with maximisation of local business and voluntary activity-group participation;

· development of the Wanliss St Marina and associated amenities;

· assistance to homeless people within the City;

· increased transparency of major project applications and officers' dealings with them.

I am committed to generating a more proactive approach by Council in protecting our natural assets, environment and tourism economy

Ron Pease:

My Family and I moved to Rockingham 20 years ago from my Cottage on the Main Campus of Murdoch University, where I was responsible for developing landscaping services and environmental management on the 400 acre Campus. Myself and my Family had lived on Campus for over 20 years when I accepted the new position of Campus Facilities Manager at the Rockingham Campus, which meant finding a new place to live and Rockingham was our first choice. My employment experiences include Police Officer, Horticulturist/Environmental Manager at two WA Universities, Local Government Parks Manager and Horticultural consultant.

I also served for many years as an RAAF Reservist in an Aircraft Technical position, followed by eleven years virtually full time service for the RAAF in Discipline/Welfare, Management and Recruiting for all three services, retiring in 2013.

I have formal qualifications and substantial practical experience in Strategic planning, Personnel management, Project management and Managing large budgets and I am also a JP volunteering at our local Courthouse and from home to supply JP services. I was lucky enough whilst at Murdoch to be nominated for three Prime Ministers Employer of the Year Awards for my work employing disadvantaged people and people with disabilities in my department, we employed 12 people continuously which is still one of my proudest achievements encouraging me to continue working with disadvantaged people any time I possibly can.

We selected Rockingham to move to because we had always enjoyed the lifestyle on our visits and we have never been sorry, we love where we live, having a rapport with many wonderful local business people and residents, I have enjoyed both serving on or Chairing several Council committees and local Boards, including the local Bendigo Bank and Safety Bay Primary School Boards, I gain much satisfaction from community volunteer work and I was a local elected Councillor from 2011 to 2015 being elected before it was a paid position where I really enjoyed the challenge and experience. Also as an aside my Wife Robyn is related to the Fisher Family who were some of the very early residents in Rockingham, with Fisher Street named after them and we also have had great friends living down here for well over 30 years who always supported us and encouraged us well before our move here. When I was a young surfer years ago we always stopped at the Rocko Bakery for fresh bread on our way down south, sometimes sleeping under the old jetty, so when you put all this together it was an easy choice.

My reason for running is that firstly I now have the time to commit fully to supporting and representing my community and actively seeking solutions to local issues, which cannot be done properly by just sitting on Face Book and wishing it to happen. I believe Councillors need to physically attend as many functions as possible to have face to face contact with Residents at all levels. Also I consider that planning for the future is sorely needed, especially for coastal management, tourism and to promote local employment and I want to take an active part in this planning. Personal rapport is important and this is what I offer, with a promise that if you call me I will always give you my best attention, honesty and support.

My priorities if elected would be to firstly not make frivolous promises which are either never going to be kept or indeed are not the responsibility of Local Government, Secondly to encourage a strong rapport amongst the Councillors as nothing productive can be achieved unless you have the voting support of a majority, remembering even the Mayor only has one vote.

I strongly support the developing of sporting and other facilities for our young people who I see represented too much during my JP duties, we need to ensure they have places to hang out that are safe and interesting.

I have also spent extensive time on the Cities Aged Care committee and seen the challenges for our mature aged population, who sometimes seem to have been forgotten. I would also like to see more facilities and support in this important area. I have the training, experience, empathy, time and commitment to do a good job if given the chance.

Jack Pleiter:

Natalie, my wife, and I have been married for over 30 years, in that time we have lived, worked, and played in the Rockingham-Mandurah area. We have been blessed with 6 amazing children and love being grandparents to our 4 grandkids.

I have been in the building industry all my working life, from an apprentice carpenter, construction manager, building manager, business owner. During this time, I have been an active contributor to the building industry, serving in various on Building Councils and Boards and until recently as Vice President of the Master Builders Association WA.

I have lived and worked in the Rockingham District all my married life; we love this place! We have many friends and family who enjoy living in the Rockingham-Safety Bay areas.

As Councillor;

At times it seems that the Rockingham Safety Bay area has been the poor cousin to areas like Baldivis and suburbs in the Comet Bay area. Being growth areas, they needed that attention for sure, but now it is time for some of our older suburbs in the Rockingham - Safety Bay area to feel the love and care. I will commit to listening to rate payer concerns, working with associations and organizations to make sure your voice is heard in Council, especially with regards to proper amenities and upgrading of some of the older infrastructure that’s required.

As Mayor;

We stood up and demanded that we could vote for who will be our Mayor at these elections. Most of the candidates for Mayor are current Councillors whom some haven’t even completed a full term yet, which could bring in a costly by-election. We need to vote for someone who is an Independent thinker and also independent from this current Council to avoid any perceived conflict of interest. Someone who has management, board and council experience and is willing to LISTEN and to SERVE you and not himself or his political career aspirations.

As Councillor;

I will commit to working alongside the successful candidates and/or current councillors on matters such as and not limited to;

· To source and speed up the funding to continue with the Safety Bay Shoalwater Foreshore Master Plan.

· To continue to walk alongside the working group for the Cape Peron Coastal Park to protect the area but also to utilise it appropriately for everyone, especially the locals, to enjoy

· Work with and assist those who manage Penguin Island and its immediate surroundings better to protect our penguins and the island.

· To work with the developers of the Port Rockingham Marina to get it moving!

As Mayor;

For Rockingham to continue to grow as a destination of choice for families to live, work and play and for tourists to come visit us, we need strong leadership from our new Mayor to unify the Council and encourage common sense decision making with complete honesty, integrity, and transparency.

My experience as a Manager, Council and Board Chairman provides the knowledge, skill and understanding to do this task well. This experience has given me a good understanding of the difference between Governance, Management & Operations at a committee level and also an understanding of knowing when not to "micro manage".

In the past, there has been much discussion on the rates and the costs associated with running a large Municipal City. Many Councillors, current and past, have campaigned on this and been very vocal on rising costs, particularly during this pandemic. Yet we could find ourselves in a position in where councillors who vacate their seat will force the City to a by-election at a reported cost of well over $75000, this is not good use of our rates.

I am running for Councillor/Mayor because I am passionate about where I live, I want to make a difference and I believe I can.

Dirk Mulder:

I live in Port Kennedy with my wife, Tricia and two children. I enjoy a walk around the golf course though admit it’s better when hitting the ball well.

I run my own business, MulderPR – a marketing communications consultancy that specialised in international education and have worked with organisations such as Austrade, Allianz, LeCordon Bleu and English Australia.

I also write for Campus Morning Mail – a daily published online education news outlet and am a commentator on International Education -my comments can be found in the Australian Financial review, Times Higher education (UK) and Pie News (UK).

I have been a past board member of Study Perth (formerly Perth Education City) and Study Adelaide, as well as Director of or in International Offices at Murdoch University, Curtin University and the University of South Australia.

I love where we live. We have lived here for close to 10 years and returned to raise our children here.

I enjoy participating in the Community and seeing it develop. I helped establish and currently chair the Port Kennedy Progress Association (PKPA). I currently chair the Endeavour Schools Board and am an immediate past member of the boards of the Bendigo Bank here in Rockingham and St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School.

I am a member of the Council’s Global Friendship Committee. No, not for the perceived junkets to Japan, but rather from my work experiences I believe the world is an interconnected place and more and more we need to work with others to both create opportunity locally and support multicultural communities, especially in the current times.

The next period in Rockingham's history will be a defining one. Rockingham will be a growth corridor and we, as a community, need ensure this period is managed well. Ensuring our quality of life is lifted and not eroded. Future infrastructure must support the community and I am keen to ensure this isn't a lost opportunity.

My priorities if elected:

1. Development that the next generation will be proud of

What does this mean? I helped establish and have Chaired the Port Kennedy Progress Association (PKPA) for the past couple of years and have been fortunate to witness just how planning and development works via the Kennedy Bay development. Don’t get me wrong I am pro development with a massive catch – we don’t want development that is going to leave us scratching our heads in 20 years down the track, nor do we want development that is out of character for Rockingham.

Head north from Fremantle and there are many great oceanside spots, head south from Fremantle and not so much. We should be facilitating development that allows for people to come together (adults and kids alike) against the backdrop of our beautiful and unique coast.

Development that the next generation will be proud of will have more green space, greater coastal setbacks, strong connectivity with public transport, increased local amenity that takes advantage of our unique locality and take into account what locals want. We need to encourage kids to put down their screens with great parks, sport fields and encourage vibrant communities with state of the art infrastructure. Frustratingly, too often this is not what we are getting.

2. Safety and security

I absolutely love where we live but am sick of the constant buzzing of pol-air. Opening a community group forum is depressing with the amount of break ins and anti – social behaviour that continues to fill newsfeeds. I live close to the dunes in Port Kennedy and know all too well the drug problems that exist. If given the opportunity I hope to raise these issues further to decrease these types of anti-social activities.

We need a council that can work closely with the police to provide a regular on the ground presence in our community.

3. Public Transport

While getting around in cars is comfortable, many in our community don’t have that luxury. While Public transport is clearly a state government responsibility but our new developments need to fit hand and glove with new transport infrastructure. I would advocate for increased public transport options for those in our community who rely on it. For those that come from outside the region on the train having a proper linkage to the shopping centre and the foreshore is a must.

We need to advocate to the state government in conjunction with the South West Group of Councils to get better connection in our region including progressing the Rockingham City Centre Transit System.

4. Expanding recreational facilities

We live in a beautiful part of the world and we should be able to maximise it’s recreational benefit. Whether this be for kids playing sport outdoors or utilising our wonderful coastal recreation via the beaches, boating and/or fishing.

A lot has been said about rate rises in the past 12 months. My position is clear. I would want to see community consultation done on any rate rise that is proposed above CPI. I don’t believe in guaranteeing rate rises at CPI because no one can predict what may lie ahead. However, there would need to be a very good reason for council increase rates up and above CPI.

Visit or contact me at for more information.

Caroline Hume:

My life as a Civil Celebrant allows me the flexibility and time to work in our community. This includes working on the City of Rockingham Senior citizens advisory committee and volunteering at various sporting and community centres, to name just a few. Interacting with the community daily allows me to experience firsthand some of the issues facing residents and gives you great insight into people's needs and wants.

I have grown up in this area and have watched Rockingham change from a sleepy little coastal town to the vibrant city it has become. Like many others, I am over the shenanigans that have ruled this council in recent years. A lot of talk and empty promises contributes nothing positive to the running of this City.

My priorities are:

To see a fairer distribution of rates. The neglect of our older suburbs is shameful, with sporting clubs and other community infrastructure in an unacceptable state.

Working on improving NBN and mobile reception In Safety Bay and Shoalwater.

Finding ways to encourage private development for the long term, high profile unused sites in Rockingham, and solve parking problems.

Encouraging local and state environmental bodies to look at improving water quality along our coastline. Why do we still have a sewerage treatment plant at Point Peron? It is detrimental to our fragile coastal environment, and it needs to be gone.

I am committed to bringing your voice and a much-needed fresh approach to the council if elected.

Cullum Ashton and Kirsty Payne:

Our first date was at Baldivis Chase Bar & Bistro. We started with a few games of pool, and Cullum would not let Kirsty win. Once they started to get peckish, they went to the restaurant. Cullum went there earlier in the day to put a rose on the table. Kirsty's middle name is rose and, in the, lead up to their first date, which was chatting on messenger for months, Miss Rose was a common nick name in message banter. Ever since that first date, they haven't stopped playing pool, but now Kirsty wins the occassional game.

Kirsty went to Kolbe Catholic College, has a Certificate 3 in Disability and has been a disability supporter worker in Rockingham for 7 years. Cullum went to Safety Bay High School and played rugby for Rockingham Raiders and then Sharks. He represented Under 15's Schoolboys for the Western Australian Rugby League team with a few other Rocko boys doing our town proud. Then he was invited into the Western Force Academy and tried his hand at union. Cullum has studied, worked and definitely had fun in Rockingham. Together, Kirsty & Cullum are running for Council as a team and you can vote for both of them.

We both attended school, work and play in Rockingham. We absolutely LOVE it and have no plans on leaving. That's why we are running for council. So we can contribute towards helping Rockingham become an even better place to live, work and play. We want to help people and help make decisions that will positively impact you, the community & future generations. Please call, email or find us on Google or Facebook to find out more.

1. Do more for the forgotten suburbs and lonely residents.

2. Reliable grant support system for domestic violence, mental health & drug rehabilitation service providers.

3. Help for small businesses and casual workers during lockdowns.

4. More SmartWatch security patrol vehicles.

5. Improve Point Peron amenities, installing toilet facilities and a drink fountain.

6. Wanliss street marina out to public tender.

7. Internship Program for long-term job seekers.

8. Bringing back MUSSELFEST.

9. Community brainstorm meetings.

10. Helping with decisions that positively impact you, the community and future generations.

Kirsty has the biggest heart, and will be the best voice on council to represent vulnerable & lonely residents.

Cullum might look young, and be the youngest candidate for Mayor. However, with his local, national and international network, easy going, executive position, chilled out personality and skill set will get things done and is definitely the best choice. His commitment to the above priorities will be kept.

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