National Party policies will not drive local government decisions but political alliances may help the area, according to newly elected Lismore City Council (LCC) deputy mayor Neil Marks.
‘I am from a conservative political side,’ Cr Marks told Echonetdaily, ‘but I am lucky that the side I am part of does not endorse any member to run for council, in fact they do not help in any way, shape or form.’
Cr Marks said ‘I do not have to be beholden to anybody, I don’t have to think about what the party policy is, I make a decision purely as it is and I like that.
‘I am lucky from my side of the political fence,’ Cr Marks said, ‘that we now have a conservative member federally and in state parliament which I have good contacts with. If I can get extra for us here I will certainly do so.
‘Party policies do play out but not as much as some like to think it does. We are all trying to do the right thing by Lismore and the north coast area but we do have some philosophical differences.
‘Aside from party politics and individual beliefs, we do work as a functioning council,’ Cr Marks said.
‘We all seem to get on, we like to have a good joke and laugh because if you are working hard you need to be enjoying it at the same time.’
Cr Marks has run for mayor twice and says he doesn’t necessarily see the move as a natural progression to mayor.
‘In some ways I am on the reserve bench if mayor Jenny Dowell can’t fulfil that role,’ he said, ‘if I can use that higher public profile to bring about change or bring about some form of change or a higher profile for Lismore then I will do so.’
Keeping things local is important for Cr Marks, who said ‘I want to be able to promote local businesses and local growth.
‘I have always been an advocate for a bigger Lismore and have worked hard to get land releases which are well underway.’
Cr Marks was unopposed and replaced Cr Simon Clough as deputy mayor for the coming 12 months at the LCC meeting last week.
Many voters in the last local government election assumed that because Cr Marks came in second that he would automatically become deputy mayor. The mayor is voted in for a four-year term by the electorate and at LCC the councillors vote a deputy mayor in every 12 months.
On a lighter note, Cr Marks said that he was chuffed that Cr Clough would have nominated him had he not nominated himself and that he almost missed the vote as he made a bathroom visit.