Tweed couple Michael and Julie McNamara, two of the strongest campaigners who helped see off the threat of coal seam gas from the northern rivers, have turned their sights on their local council.
The two are part of the progressive Group I vying in the September 10 poll for a seat on Tweed Shire Council.
Their travelling crusade two years ago throughout NSW to talk to communities and farmers about the CSG threat raised the profile of the issue enormously in regional towns.
Mr McNamara, a relieving high-school principal, will head the team supported by Greg Reid, president of Tweed climate-action group CAN, Julie McNamara and environmentalist and businessman Dawson.
Their team is promoting ‘liveable’ communities, with ‘integrity, community and environment’ the key themes.
Mr McNamara said ‘liveable communities means having councillors with integrity who work collaboratively together, a council focussed on listening to and reflecting the community’s priorities and values and where the local environment is cared for and nurtured’.
‘For too long this council has been dominated by dysfunction and personality politics. That has to change,’ he said.
‘We need to have councillors committed to working together in the best interests of the community.
‘We need councillors who will listen to the community and respect their views.
‘Consultation with communities needs to happen at the start of the development stage of policies, strategies and major projects, not at the end when you get a couple of weeks to try to digest complex documents or arguments.
‘Consultation has to be real and give authority to communities, not just to tick a box.
‘A healthy environment underpins a successful future for the Tweed. If we nurture the environment, then the community thrives. If the community thrives then business prospers.’
Michael, who has worked in public education since 1975, has been both president of a trades and labour council and a member of a chamber of commerce.
‘I’m committed to: jobs for the Tweed but believes they must be the ‘right jobs; real consultation to underpin appropriate development; openness and transparency in council processes and programs; and protecting our natural environment.
‘I have a track record of standing up for community values and priorities.’