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Byron Shire
June 18, 2021

Labor teams for Byron, Tweed but not Ballina

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The Byron Labor team (L to R): : Monika Wheeler, Peter Doherty, Joe Dawson, Jan Hackett, Paul Spooner and Will Constable. Photo: Jocelyne Pegoretti
The Byron Labor team (L to R): : Monika Wheeler, Peter Doherty, Joe Dawson, Jan Hackett, Paul Spooner and Will Constable. Photo: Jocelyne Pegoretti

Chris Dobney

The Labor Party has announced teams for Byron and Tweed shire council elections in September but a Ballina councillor who is an ALP member says his ticket is staunchly independent.

Byron Shire Cr Paul Spooner, who ran as a ‘community independent’ last time and was subsequently Labor’s candidate for the state seat of Ballina, has announced he will head up a full Labor ticket this time around.

It is the first time Labor has run a ticket at council elections for many years.

Cr Spooner’s challenger for the state election, Ballina Shire Cr Keith Williams, told ABC this morning that while he remains a member of the party the ticket he is heading up is strictly independent.

Cr Spooner, who is currently deputy mayor of Byron, has also announced he will run against current Greens mayor Simon Richardson for the position.

‘After being approached and encouraged to stand for mayor I have decided it’s time to put myself forward,’ Cr Spooner said.’

‘Many people have said they wanted a choice for mayor and that I would provide a sensible alternative for the shire’s top job.’

Joining him are: author and educator Jan Hackett (Byron Bay), local principal Will Constable (Mullumbimby), SCU politics student Joe Dawson (Ocean Shores), policy adviser Monika Wheeler and union organiser Peter Doherty (Bangalow).

Cr Spooner said he was, ‘proud and excited to lead a skilled team of candidates who represent the views of all the towns and villages in the shire.’

‘People can have confidence that the shire’s finances will be professionally managed, that the roads will be fixed and their rates will go towards maintaining the community facilities and infrastructure our community needs.’

‘We want to ensure that locals can afford to live in decent, affordable housing while maintaining secure employment in our region,’ Cr Spooner said.

The Byron Labor team will be holding a series of weekly gatherings across the shire at 5pm each Wednesday until the election: 10 August Ocean Shores Country Club; 17 August Bangalow Hotel; 24 August Mullumbimby RSL Club; 31 August Byron Bay Bowling Club.

Tweed candidates named

Meanwhile in Tweed, the Labor candidates are all fresh faces after former ALP Cr Michael Armstrong resigned partway through the current term for personal reasons.

The team includes lead candidate and spokesperson Reece Byrnes (Bilambil Heights) followed by Russell Logan (Kingscliff), Marie Rogers (Murwillumbah) and Rob Learmonth (Nunderi).

Reece Byrnes, a lifetime Tweed resident, says it is vital that council starts to take action on the issues important to locals.

‘Residents are telling me it’s time for action from our council. No more excuses and no more bickering. We need a council that is constructive and who will start delivering for our community.

‘The Labor team has an action plan to support our Tweed economy, protect our way of life and get our council working effectively,’ Mr Byrnes said.

Russell Logan, a prominent local Indigenous leader, who was instrumental in crafting the plan said it was ‘about getting back to local issues, local people and local solutions.’

‘We all live here as one, not us and them. We must work together, plan together and move forward together as a community,’ Mr Logan said.

At time of publication Lismore had yet to announce its Labor ticket, although it is widely expected to be headed up by Cr Isaac Smith following the announcement by mayor Jenny Dowell that she will not be standing again.


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