Former Deputy Mayor Len Roberts addresses Progress Association

 

ELECTORAL MAP: MidCoast Council.
ELECTORAL MAP: MidCoast Council.

 

FORMER deputy mayor and councillor with Great Lakes Council, Len Roberts, recently addressed a meeting of the Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association.

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Mr Roberts, now an advisor to the administrator of MidCoast Council spoke about the upcoming council elections in September and the new voting system.

The new MidCoast Council will have potentially 65,000 to 70,000 voters.

Eleven councillors are required which means each councillor will require about 6,000 votes.

The major centres of Taree (22,000 voters) and Forster/Tuncurry/Pacific Palms (20,000 voters) will therefore command the majority of councillors.

Mr Roberts believes that there is likely to be ten councillors elected from those major areas, which means that only one councillor will represent the whole of the remaining MidCoast Council area.

It will be virtually impossible for a candidate from the southern area, as in Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest, to be elected on a stand-alone basis.

Mr Roberts believes preferential voting will be essential to getting a local representative.

He said he’s still undecided whether he will stand citing his other commitments which include his role as CEO with the Karuah Aboriginal Land Council, family issues, his pastor duties and his wife’s desire for him to retire.

The Karuah Aboriginal Land Council was in a very poor financial situation when Mr Roberts took over.

He involved ‘NovaSkill’ to provide training and nine aboriginal trainees have gone on to receive horticultural qualifications.

This has led to more employment and Mr Roberts says he’s observed a major change in work ethic.

The Bulahdelah group is currently undertaking tree carving on the nearby mountain and Mr Roberts is hopeful the area will be opened up for general visitation and tourism.

Aboriginal land holdings around Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest include the land from Sanderling Ave to the National Park between the golf course, privately owned land and the beach dunes.

He expects the group will upgrade the Michael Rowe walk and encourage its use by the community.

 

By Margie TIERNEY

 

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