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March 3, 2024

Ballina Council A Ward candidate profiles

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These candidate profiles are written by the candidates themselves and are provided here as a service to our readers. They have not been vetted or fact-checked by Echonetdaily editorial staff.

Note, the profiles are not posted according to the AEC’s draw but based on when we received them (top to bottom). All candidates were contacted simultaneously, except those for whom the AEC did not have contact details.

Ballina Council A Ward Greens candidate Steve Posselt. File photo
Ballina Council A Ward Greens candidate Steve Posselt. File photo

Steve Posselt

Number of years in shire/LGA: 8

Current councillor? No

Clubs/sports/interests: Outrigger club, kayak adventurer,

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  Yes

Brief description: Greens

2 What has motivated you to stand? I am semi-retired and wish to contribute to my community. As a civil engineer with 11,000km of adventure kayaking I understand the issues with the Richmond River and I want them fixed to enhance a vibrant community with a lifestyle to envy.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? The river is our focus. It is the least healthy in NSW. We can make it productive again for seafood, recreation and associated businesses.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? This is a major issue. Urban sprawl is not the answer so all that is left is infill, more dense development and combined uses such as residential in commercial and industrial areas

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? The river – water is my passion. This is overshadowed though by the urgency of taking action on climate change. In the past 11 years I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars adventuring and teaching climate change issues. See www.kayak4earth.com

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? I have been a surfer along this coast for fifty years. We all take our chances and we are in the domain of the sharks. They belong there. For our safety we have many aerial devices such as planes, gyrocopters, helicopters, drones and even observation towers. These can be used to alert people on when to get out of the water.

Ray Karam, independent candidate for A Ward at Ballina Shire Council's 2016 elections. Photo contributed
Ray Karam, independent candidate for A Ward at Ballina Shire Council’s 2016 elections. Photo contributed

Ray Karam

Number of years in shire/LGA: Nearly 10 years this time and I spent many of my childhood and teenage years in Ballina. My grandfather was born in and was a resident of Ballina as well. My Great Great Grandfather was actually Mayor of the old Ballina Municipality.

Current councillor? No

Clubs/sports/interests: On the board of the Ballina Chamber of Commerce and former president of the same.

Interests: People, children, business and anything community related.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?   No.

Brief description: I am a long time local businessman with strong links in community groups and projects. I hold a real care for people and what is going on for them and bring a vast life experience. I appreciate the work the Council and people have done in the Ballina area and look to continue and expand on this work with the community.

You can see more on www.raykaram.com.au

2 What has motivated you to stand?  There appears to be a disconnection between the community and the Council and in fact Government in general. I am a man in the community that has a value in his ability to listen take action. I see it as the more people in the community you engage with, the better understanding you have of people and issues. I am not afraid of hard work and day-to-day I am speaking to the community as a part of my ‘busy businesses’. I am not looking to solve individual’s problems but rather work with the general community to direct what we collectively see. I am very passionate about Ballina Shire and care about everything and everyone in and around it.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? I will continue the great work that has been done in Ballina and support Ballina area to continue to grow with care and respect into the future. We need to encourage and foster a more balanced and open community involvement in the area; I favour a fair go for the silent majority. I’m particularly interested in preserving and extending the recreational and commercial use of one of our greatest assets, our beautiful river. I feel that most developments are turned away from our beautiful river where our river should the centrepiece.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? We need to be creative in this area but from what I understand much of the development responsibility has been taken from Local Government and is now handled by the State Government. I don’t support the notion of smaller house blocks with bigger houses. The focus needs to shift away from money alone and look to balance what best suits people to live in the area.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? As I have mentioned we have such a wealth of water aspects around the Ballina area. I am supportive of an Ocean Pool but would love to see it done at Black Head and I would also love to see us open our CBD up with a Marina near Regatta Avenue and the creation of a mix of retail, café and office space incorporated with the existing Museum. These are just a few of the projects that will add colour and utility to our existing sound base.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? This is a question for the community. We need to widen and deepen community consultation. We collectively have the answer and just need to bring everyone together to see what that is and how that looks. This collective voice needs a spokesman to direct the State Government to implement our collective decision.

Ballina Council A Ward candidate Steve McCarthy. Photo supplied
Ballina Council A Ward candidate Steve McCarthy. Photo supplied

Stephen McCarthy

Number of years in Ballina Shire: 45 years

Current councillor? No
If yes, how many years?: Nil

Clubs/sports/interests: Junior president Ballina Basketball Association. Interest in satellite television, computers. Enjoy water polo, hiking.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  No

Brief description: I am semi-retired after 35 years in business in Alstonville. Live in Ballina. Three children and grandchild on the way. Love the lifestyle and love competition. Coach basketball and love teaching the disciplines it mentors.
The bakery I shared with my brother ‘Mick’ showing the lack of ‘youth care’ in the area

2 What has motivated you to stand? Was disappointed when the council put in a rescission motion to stop the development of a four court indoor stadium. They all agreed prior to last election, when it was a vote winner. They also laid claim to preserving the river. Think we had a sand dredge for bout three weeks in the last four years moving the sand from the ‘trawler’ bay to an island in ‘Mobs’ bay so it blew back into the river mouth after the first storm. I don’t have a degree in sand so I’m not sure what that resolved but I’m pretty sure it didn’t repair the river.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? My vision was to incorporate an indoor sporting facility in the shire. It’s only been twenty years. Each year I wait for substance. When the Bypass arrived it was obvious that the town wanted something to draw weekend tourist. If the Futsul, Netball, Basketball, Table tennis and different exhibitions utilised it then it would fill the town most weekends of the year. But this mob wanted a, I don’t know what they wanted, maybe to argue bout not having a swimming pool instead.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? There are rules and guidelines for building. If they were not broken then there would be no issues. Don’t know why they can’t build smarter. For example, if there were rules for public parkland per capita, then why are they taking more parkland away as is the case in West Ballina. Last election they were complaining about the percentage of parkland in west Ballina (Porter Park issue) and last Friday they auctioned more parkland off!

5 What particular issues do you feel strongly about? I don’t understand why they are putting more traffic ‘islands’ in River Street than we have sand ‘islands’ in the river. Its like a rabbit warren, even now, without the highway through town. I believe they should have built a northern exit and a southern entrance on the north side of Ballina Bypass instead of putting a band aid on River Street just because a high profile petrol franchise wants to come to town. I’m also not sure why they would want to build a rock wall at the end of my street on the edge of ‘North Creek’ for three private houses, but then I guess I’m a retired baker so I don’t know the importance bout these things.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? I believe in the shark nets, but don’t know why they would put up a test one on the river mouth. But then again I’m still trying to work out why they built a ¾ size basketball stadium costing $9 million at Lennox Head.

Nathan-WillisNathan Willis

Number of years in Ballina Shire: 30 years

Current councillor? No

Clubs/sports/interests: Family/Fitness/ Reading/Small business

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  Not a member of any political party. A member of the ‘Balance for Ballina’ team who have Mayoral candidate and candidates standing in each Ballina Shire Ward.

Brief description: I am a local and have lived most of my life in Ballina Shire.

I am married to Sandra and together we have four children. Like all locals, I know that the Ballina Shire is a truly beautiful part of the world to live and raise a family.

In partnership with Sandra, I am a legal professional and know only too well the challenges and opportunities facing small business in Ballina. Prior to my career in law, I worked as a Registered Nurse in Aged Care for several years and I am currently pursuing further legal studies at Southern Cross University.

2 What has motivated you to stand? I want to truly listen and engage with our community. I consider that it is important that all members of our community are heard and that decisions are made which bring our community together.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? As a future Councillor, I commit to work hard, listen to all community voices and make collaborative decisions that will be of benefit to all people in Ballina Shire.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? It is my understanding that North Coast Councils have been severely hampered by the abolition of all environmental zones from our Local Environment Plans by the State Government. Changes to Biodiversity legislation are likely to make matters worse. We will need to strengthen Development Control Plans to ensure effective environmental protections remain in place, especially in areas such as the Alstonville urban buffer zones and the scenic escarpment.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? I support the Balance for Ballina team’s policies (see: https://balance.nationbuilder.com/) and look forward to an opportunity to see these policies implemented within Ballina Shire. Our priorities include:

  • Restore the health of the Richmond River, dredge the Bar and North Creek, and build marine facilities to meet the demands of locals and attract more visitors.
  • Provide more support to our volunteers and community organisations.
  • Promote more affordable housing options through relaxation of secondary dwelling rules in rural zones.
  • Ensure our planning policies protect valuable agricultural production, urban buffers and natural areas.
  • Actively defend Ballina against flooding, without the excessive fill requirements that are holding back the CBD.
  • Create jobs through an economic development strategy by increasing the availability of industrial land and supporting our tourism industry.
  • Grow our Airport, without privatisation.
  • Maintain and improve our roads with better asset management.
  • Provide more resources to attack the weeds that are taking over parts of our Shire.
  • Take action to reduce plastic waste and its devastating impact on wildlife and our marine environment.
  • Listening to our community to ensure Council remains responsive to local needs and desires.

Most importantly, to run an efficient and effective Council to ensure our Rates are the lowest in the region.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? I support a mix of non-lethal shark deterrence and detection technologies, including support for Shark Watch NSW, because I believe a community based response will prove the most effective. We need people keeping an eye on our surfers.

Ballina Council A Ward candidate Ian Hush. Photo contributed
Ballina Council A Ward candidate Ian Hush. Photo contributed

Ian Hush

Number of years in Ballina Shire: 5

Current councillor? No

Clubs/sports/interests: I am a very keen fisherman and golfer. Woodworking (furniture) is a passion when I have the time. I am a member of Cherry Street Sports Cub, Ballina Golf & Sports Club and Ballina RSL.

Are you a member of any political party or an organised ‘ticket’?  No

2 What has motivated you to stand? My wife Sheryl and I own Dave’s Bait Shop in River St. We have come to understand through observation and research that the Shire urgently needs implementation of a plan to return the health of the Richmond River and all of its tributaries. All businesses and individuals, whether they use the waterways directly or not, depend on the future health of the system to maintain and improve our wonderful lifestyle in Ballina Shire.

This, with a passion to make a positive contribution to the future of Ballina Shire has motivated me to stand for election.

3 What is your vision for the shire/LGA? My vision is for balanced growth, in terms of residential, commercial and tourism sectors. Balanced with the nature that makes this area so pleasant to live in. We want more people coming to the district to live as we did 5 years ago. We want more tourists spending their hard earned dollars here rather than any where else. But we need to continually address these needs against the very atmosphere that attracts the growth.

4 In your opinion, how can council best balance the need for further residential development with the need to preserve the local environment? Council needs to make sure that plans already agreed to are monitored and adjusted only if needed. We need to ensure that changes are not made just because a better sales opportunity has arisen.

5  What particular issues do you feel strongly about? As I have said, the health of our waterways comes first, second and third. Other matters include size of local government which leads to expenditure control, respect for all sectors of our community and balancing their needs against fiscal and natural resources and honesty about what we can and cannot do in relation to the above.

6 What is your/your group’s policy on the best methods to deter shark attacks at Ballina’s beaches? Firstly, you are not going to deter sharks at Ballina’s or anybody else’s beaches. It is their home. I think what you mean is how are we going to keep people as safe as possible from attack by the creatures, so that our community and visitors can enjoy our wonderful, clean surf. I grew up in Bellambi, a suburb of Wollongong, in the 60’s and 70’s and I enjoyed body surfing at our beach. Sharks were always prevalent, and in the backs of our minds, but it didn’t deter us from swimming at patrolled areas between the flags. We had a shark patrol service, a light plane which patrolled all of Wollongong’s beaches and called in any sightings. Surf Life Savers would then sound a siren which meant all swimmers/surfers must leave the water. When the all clear was given by the Shark Patrol, the Life Savers would again sound the siren signifying that danger had passed and we could get back into the water. With today’s modern technology, i.e. electronic monitoring of tagged sharks and the deployment of Drones (along with some common sense physical observation) surely a similar service can be provided. Yes, it all costs money but so did the methods in my youth.


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