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Byron Shire
February 24, 2024

Steve Krieg: ‘I believe that there must be change’

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The 2021 NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, 04 December, 2021. Candidates have until noon on Wednesday, November 3 to register with the NSW Electoral Commission.

The Echo is inviting all of the Lismore mayoral candidates to a photoshoot and to answer the same 20 questions.

Restaurant owner Steve Krieg. Photo Tree Faerie.

Steve Krieg and his wife Julianna own La Baracca Espresso Bar & Trattoria. Steve is an independent candidate and this is his first time running for Council.

1. What are your intentions and hopes for the December election and beyond?

We need a Council that gets back to the work of fixing our roads, managing our rates and bringing jobs to our town – that’s what a good council should do. My intention is to present a fresh alternative for the constituents of Lismore and its villages.

I have put together a group of local business and community leaders who are ready to serve on Council. We are a passionate, diverse representation of this area, and our priority is to return Lismore to being the regional hub of the Northern Rivers.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenges for the Lismore LGA going forward?

Achieving a balanced, sustainable budget without increased cost to the ratepayers. We also need to regain the trust of the community. Lismore has lost faith in their Council and are ready for change.

We want to create a proactive, supportive and positive organisation, rather than reactive and negative.

3. What do you personally see as the most popular decision of this council?

I honestly cannot think of one positive thing the current Council has done that has been popular.

4. What do you personally see as the most unpopular decision of this council?

There are quite a few. Knocking back the Lismore Square expansion, denying more homes for families by rejecting housing development, failing to fix our roads, withdrawing support for the Dunoon Dam before it was finished being investigated, and the lack of planning to flood-proof our town.

There’s also the most recent handling of the airport fee structure. There are a range of services lost to  Lismore with this very poorly handled decision, which will have flow-on effects for years to come.

5. What’s been frustrating, and why?

Witnessing decisions based on personal political affiliations, rather than what is best for ratepayers and our local area. Councillors continually go against staff recommendations to score political points.

6. What could Council do better? 

Listen to the people. Councils are service industries, and as such need to provide the highest level of service possible to those paying the rates, in the most efficient timeframe possible.

7. Are you interested in representing Lismore on Rous CC?

I am certainly interested in the decision-making process of Rous. Lismore needs strong and vocal representation on Rous to ensure our needs are being met on all levels.

Lismore City Council currently pay the most (by far) of any other council for water per megalitre, which needs to be addressed.

We also have a lot to do to improve flood mitigation. There is a local community group, Our Future Northern Rivers, who are heavily invested in these areas that seem to be constantly ignored and overlooked by Council at present, but these are the people Council should be listening to, as they have the experience and knowledge to offer practical, working solutions to some of these bigger issues.

8. What is your view on the Dunoon/Channon dam

I am disappointed that Council took this off the table before it had been fully investigated. There needs to be a multigenerational approach to water security in this region.

I don’t think an infrastructure project of this magnitude should be cast aside because it goes against a certain political party’s ideology. I believe the dam needs to be seriously looked at as a viable water source, complementing other options. Given the amount of work that has already gone into the Dam project already, to merely cast it aside is a big mistake.

9. How do you see Council’s relationship with the business community?

I am a local business owner, so I can speak from personal experience. It is a very poor relationship. I genuinely believe Councillors have no idea of the struggles faced by local business.

10. What do feel is the best way to deal with the issue of flooding? 

This is really where a strong voice on Rous is needed, as this is the organisation that looks after flood mitigation in our region.

We are always going to have flooding, it’s our preparedness and ability to limit the damage that we need to be working on. Working with the State and Federal Government I believe we can do some great work in this space. Community groups like Our Future Northern Rivers should also be heard, as their ideas and research have far outweighed most paid studies completed.

10. Why did you originally decide to get involved with local government?

I have had my CBD business for the last thirteen years. I chose Lismore over other communities because we are the hub of the Northern Rivers. However, over that time I have seen Ballina’s population overtake Lismore, Casino thriving and Lismore sadly stagnating.

This is not due to unwillingness of investment, or opportunity, or desire, it is due to political infighting in Council that seems to sabotage its own constituency. Our basic services have wavered (tip passes and open days, for example), our road network is declining daily, and our current Council’s mantra is to hit ratepayers with increased rates.

I believe there has to be a better way. Steve. Together with my team, we are the change.

12. How do you feel about that decision now?

I get more passionate and more empowered every time I witness another regressive decision made by our elected Councillors.

The support for our team has been overwhelming, and I am genuinely excited to get as many of my team onto Council so that we can make real, positive change.

13. Do you have any political ambitions beyond local government?

My sole focus is the direction of the Lismore LGA.

14. How do you feel the Lismore LGA is coping with COVID?

As best as we can under the direction of the state and federal governments. Who would want to be a political leader over the last three to four years? There’s no doubt mistakes have been made, but I believe all decisions have been made with public health and wellbeing at the forefront, and Lismore has demonstrated its resilience and spirit in banding together to ensure we are not too deeply scarred as a community.

15. Do you feel Council is doing enough to support Indigenous residents? 

I believe in multigenerational policy, and ramifications of decisions made now, must also be thought of in 30, 50 and 70 years’ time. Indigenous heritage and preservation are vital to sustain, not only now, but for generations to come. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with our indigenous community, to help keep their ancestral heritage alive not only in the present, but for generations.

For this to happen there needs to be an element of trust, on both sides, and I don’t believe that any level of trust exists with the current Council.

16. What is your favourite pizza topping?

Nutella and marshmallow.

17. What do you see as the highlights of Council since the last election?

There have been very few highlights, this is why I have decided to put my hand up.

18. What do you see as the low point of Council since the last election?

Having the Council election delayed.

I am not going to criticise as I am sure current Councillors are making what they believe to be the right decisions to see their vision of Lismore a reality. However, their vision and our vision are polar opposite.

Our team want a thriving, developing, growing city. We have the skills and the team to make that a reality.

19. In one sentence, why should people vote for you/ what do you bring to the table that the others don’t?

We are the Change! We have the skills, the desire and the drive to make Lismore the regional city it deserves to be. We want our ratepayers to be proud of where they live. We want visitors to feel welcome and come back. We want to put Lismore back on the map.

20. Is there anything else you would like to add?

We are the Change.


 

The Echo plans to publish profiles of all the Lismore Mayoral candidates in the coming weeks.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Change for change’s sake is not a sensible platform. Particularly as between them the Krieg team have ZERO experience on Council. I asked Steve how he was going to solve the problem of the shortfall in funding without raising rates. He hasn’t answered me. Perhaps he has some magic powers? Problem is, the amount of revenue Council receives through rates, fees and charges is not enough to cover all the services it has to provide. The Special Rate Variation was stopped last year; people constantly bang on and on about the roads, yet don’t offer any constructive suggestions as to how to find the very considerable funds needed to fix them. Steve Krieg and his band of self-interested business owners don’t have the answers. I won’t be voting for him. I’ll be voting for experience – Vanessa Ekins for Mayor.

  2. ” Indigenous heritage and preservation are vital to sustain, not only now, but for generations to come. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with our indigenous community, to help keep their ancestral heritage alive not only in the present, but for generations. ”
    How on earth do you reconcile this view with your support for “further investigation” of the Dunoon Dam? The local indigenous community have repeatedly said, over a number of years, that they don’t want their ancestral heritage destroyed by the dam. There are many articles available on this site. I guess you haven’t read them.
    Why would you want to keep pouring public money into dam investigations anyway, when it has already been thoroughly investigated, and rejected? It is also the most expensive water supply option for this community. It would be great to get the roads fixed, but your other policies just don’t make sense.
    THUMBS DOWN from this business owner.

  3. Looking forward to voting for Steve and his team
    And seeing dunoon dam back on the table
    Is a positive for me, long term practical water security is more important for our community than a culture clutching to the bones of its dead ancestors.

  4. After reading and re-reading Krieg’s answers I still can’t find anything of substance.

    On the Dunoon Dam (DuD) he doesn’t appear to have read any of the large public reports, particularly those which detail the irreplaceable ecological and Aboriginal heritage which would be destroyed. He doesn’t understand that these assets (priceless in international terms) have the legal capacity to delay the dam for many years, if not stop it altogether.

    He says that he wants multiple options for water supply yet also supports the suspiciously Nats-ish lobby group Our Future Northern Rivers who specifically reject all options for water except for a second dam on Rocky Creek. Krieg has adopted the most expensive and unsafe solution to our water problems. Demand will exceed supply in 3 years but Krieg wants “more investigation” of the least reliable option! “More investigation” is what stale old councillors usually go for but Krieg is trying to look like a new broom.

    He says “Indigenous heritage and preservation are vital” but won’t accept what the Indigenous people themselves have said repeatedly about their unified opposition to the DuD. Steve, you might not agree with these citizens of Lismore but don’t pretend that you are listening to them. They are laughing at you.

    Krieg says “we are the Change”. That sums up the meaninglessness of all his other statements. Is change automatically good?

    Climate change is one change we can do without. And a candidate who does not even mention our community’s greatest threat, with its increased risk of droughts, floods, storms and fires, is not abreast of current information and would be useless in a crisis.

  5. Why don’t you ask the important questions like:
    1. do you understand the need to have unbiased decision making?
    2. Do you know what that means?
    3. Can you understand complex law?
    4. Do you understand you may be personally liable?
    5 Do you understand you are not there to rubber stamp recommendations by staff but have an obligation to ensure the decision making is sound and based upon the law?
    6. What is a conflict of interest?
    7. are you capable to understand when a conflict has arisen?
    8. What would you do if you were conflicted?
    9. What are your views regarding transparency in decision making?

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