1 Candidate details
Name: Kel Graham
Council: Lismore City Council
Number of years in shire/LGA: 33
Current councillor? No
Clubs/sports/interests: cattle breeding, motorsport, go-kart racing, camping/travelling, reading, cricket
Are you a member of a political party or an organised ‘ticket’? Yes I am a member of the Nationals; however, I am not on a political team, I am on an organised team being Team Marks.
Who else is on your ticket?: Neil Marks, Paul O’Neill, Nancy Casson, Dusty Miller & Deborah Marks.
Brief description: I am a family man and business owner in Lismore for 32 years and fifth-generation farmer in the Lismore area. I’m passionate about protecting the rights of our farmers and businesses and encouraging sensible development and employment opportunities.
2 What has motivated you to stand?
The Labour/Greens-controlled council is killing Lismore’s economy; this must change!
3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA?
If business prospers, we all prosper. Farmers should be allowed to farm with our support, not with bureaucratic interference. We must support local business and industry, not hinder them. Red/green tape must be cut to facilitate sensible, viable development and encourage investment and job opportunities. We need to revitalise and promote our central business district and we must improve our roads to bring more tourism to our unique and beautiful area.
4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment?
‘Sustainable Development’, as it has been interpreted and applied by the majority on this current council, has all but stopped development in this area. The commercial reality is that if the cost of meeting unreasonable council ‘sustainability’ requirements is too high, and the timeframe for development approvals is too long, then people will simply not invest here and the cost of housing will continue to be too high. Highrise development does not fit with the character of Lismore. People do not move here to live in a big city environment; they move here to take advantage of our relaxed country atmosphere. Developments such as the North Lismore plateau should be given priority as well as suitable sites to the southeast Lismore fringe, which can easily access the new Southern Trunk Main. It stands to reason that all urban development will have some impact on both agricultural land and the environment; however, I believe the positive benefits for Lismore of development of both these areas far outweigh any negative effects.
5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about?
• Council’s role is not to regulate people or to intimidate people; it is to serve people. The attitude of council must change if this region is to go forward.
• Roads: Apart from being unacceptable and dangerous, the state of our roads is stifling our ability to market our region for tourism.
• Respect: Council must respect the rights of property owners. The theft of private property by regulation is not acceptable. If private property is required to be set aside for the ‘benefit of the community’, then the community as a whole must pay.
• Protection of our farmland and the rights of our farmers. CSG does not have a place in the Lismore City Council area; it simply does not belong here. Landowners should have the right to refuse access to anyone, including CSG companies, on their own land.
• Red tape/Green tape: While I appreciate the need for regulation and requirements to keep order in planning, the ridiculous amount of red/green tape we now have is killing investment, business confidence and employment. This must be reversed.
• Debt: Council’s (ratepayers’) ever-increasing debt level must be addressed. Reprioritising of the allocation of council resources and serious actions to reduce waste and inefficiencies within council.