A CHAMPION of indigenous and youth issues, proud Labor Party member and Independent councillor Peter Kafer has no misgivings about standing for mayor against all comers including the ALP.
The veteran councillor is more interested in passing on his vast knowledge and experience to the next generation.
It is for this reason he has on his west ward council election ticket two newcomers – Raymond Terrace identity Brooke Roach and Alannah Newell, who is not long out of school.
“They are our tomorrow. Both Brooke and Alannah are determined people with strong leadership qualities and great community workers,” Mr Kafer said.
“Their integrity, respect and energy is boundless and in three years’ time they will have the experience to stand on their own and get elected.”
Mr Kafer was first elected to Newcastle Council in 1995 as a Labor Party member while residing in Stockton before moving to Raymond Terrace.
He has served two terms on Port Stephens Council as an Independent, driving a number of indigenous, cultural and youth programs.
A member of the Wahroonga Aboriginal Corporation, he was instrumental in bringing to the Terrace the hugely successful Nations of Origin series and working with local police to establish a learn-to-drive program for Aboriginal youth.
“I have worked closely with police on issues such as youth and public safety, and I was the first to call for a fitness trail similar to what is being developed at Boomerang Park.”
Mr Kafer, who has often butted heads with mayor Bruce Mackenzie and his supporters, says he wants to drive the council into a new direction.
“I am very concerned about environmental issues, particularly the flora and fauna and I believe it is time we redressed the koala plan of management.
“We want to be known as a tourist destination but it should not be at the cost of our environment, the two should go hand in hand.
“If elected mayor I would lead by consensus. I believe there is always a common ground which forms the basis of achieving our goals without the angst we currently see at council meetings.
“I will lead a more accessible council and bring back web casting, an idea I have championed from day one.”
By Charlie ELIAS