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Byron Shire
February 3, 2023

Patrick Healey: ‘I’m independent of party politics and ideologies’

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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 invited all of the Lismore mayoral candidates to a photoshoot and to answer the same 20 questions.

Patrick Healey is running for Lismore Mayor. Photo Tree Faerie.

Patrick Healey is running for Mayor and will lead the Independent Lismore team at the Lismore City Council elections.

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

My main intention is to win. After that, I’d look at ways to Grow Lismore by changing the culture of Council from “No” to “Yes”, so that we can approve more residential developments to address our lack of housing and assist the business sector to grow and employ more people.

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

Our population decline is one of the toughest, especially as every council area around us is growing. As we start to turn this around, everything else will fall into place – like increased housing stock, improved business conditions, and a wider rate base allowing us to invest more in maintaining our roads and other assets.

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

Probably the decision to release land and allow some housing development.

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

Not releasing enough land for housing and the slow pace of Development Applications approved by Council.

5. What’s been frustrating, and why?

We believe our strength is being Independent but the cost is we don’t have the organisational and financial support offered by the Nationals, ALP and Greens. This makes it particularly tough to get our message out to the community.

6. What could Council do better?

A very broad question, but mostly speed up the slow Development Application processes, approve more residential developments to address our housing crises, improve governance by introducing and enforcing KPI’s and regularly public reports on service quality and timelines like most council’s in NSW.

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

Our community’s water security will only become more important in the light of climate change. That is why I am very interest in representing Lismore City Council on Rous, among other Council Committees such as the Aboriginal Advisory Group.

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

I support it. The dam isn’t just for Lismore, it covers the whole region, and we have basically three options 1. The dam, 2.  Environmentally dangerous water mining, and 3. A desalination plant off the coast. Given our problems with climate change, and a growing population (everywhere except Lismore), and Rouse County Council reports that water security will be a risk beyond 2024, I see the dam as the preferred option.

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

It is very strained. This has been caused by the lack of a vision for Lismore, slow decision making and often decisions that are counter to growing businesses in Lismore E.g. the vote to not even allow a community consultation on the expansion of the Lismore Square.

That is why I, and the Independent Lismore team, believe Council needs a logical, practical and non-political approach to decision making.

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

Council recently announced they’d plant trees. In itself, this is not a bad idea, but it is not a solution that can stand alone. We need to investigate more modern engineering solutions and align this with the State Government’s vision for 2036 and the grants that are offed to achieve this. I’ll support getting that done and factored into our planning.

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

My disappointment in Council began when I worked at NORPA. Getting Development Applications for the new electronic sign and renegotiating our contract every year was confusing and unnecessarily slow. Then as co-chair of the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I really became aware of how badly Council was operating especially in relation to other businesses – yet two more examples of Council’s culture of “No”.

12. How do you feel about that decision now?

Sometimes nervous and wondering what I’ve done, but mostly eager to get myself and my team elected so that we can start to Grow Lismore.

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

No, I’d be very happy to be the Mayor of Lismore. My only desire is to see Lismore Grow!

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

I think our community has done very well and deserved to be congratulated for that. Everyone has followed health guidelines and advice and that has paid off.

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

No. We need a Bundjalung Centre that provides lessons on our living language and culture for kids. This will be a place for local Indigenous people to sell art and tell their stories.

Also, non-Indigenous people are increasingly keen to learn and experience more Indigenous culture and art in the form of experiential tourism. We can build on this through to generate revenue for all our local businesses – Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.

16. What is your favourite pizza topping?

Pepperoni

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

The employment of the current general manager and its new focus on financial reporting

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

Where do I start? The personal squabbling between Councillors and the continued rejection of new housing developments. Also, the needless and harmful friction between the Council and our local businesses.

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

I bring a lot of accounting, management and governance experience, independent of party politics and ideologies, so that if my team and I are elected we can turn Lismore into a vibrant, prosperous and dynamic city.

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

Yes, Vote 1 Independent Lismore and Let’s Grow Lismore!


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5 COMMENTS

  1. In regard to Patrick Healey’s claim that he is independent of party politics and ideologies. It is a typical but transparent tactic of the right to claim that only those on the left or progressive side of politics are ‘political’ or ‘idealogical’. Just face up to it, you are on the other side of a political issue, so therefore your position is political. In the past claims like these could be called naive, when in fact they are actually deceitful.

  2. Independent of ideologies apart from the one that growth is good – more people, more water, more business, more money, more more more… Ahh how innovative, original and independent of current neo-liberal thinking and governing…

  3. To talk about opening up land for more housing development is fine, but it needs to be tempered with how that will happen in a sustainable way and the amount of green space and other facilities that must occur alongside any housing development. Without that, it can be a disaster, environmentally and socially. And there needs to be affordable housing, not just new developments which are there to line the developer’s pockets. If you talk about housing, you must talk about sustainable and affordable housing.

  4. Patrick Healey claims to support Bundjalung heritage but also supports the Dunoon Dam which would destroy extremely important Aboriginal heritage.

    Strangely, Patrick Healey doesn’t even mention by name the people who would be shattered by this desecration: the Widjabul Wia-bal people.

    He is of Aboriginal descent himself, and all the people on his team are either Indigenous (but not local) or are apparent supporters of Indigenous people.

    This means that:
    1. they hold local Widjabul Wia-bal in contempt, or
    2. they have been told that the sites are somehow safe. The latter is what Patrick Healey claimed in a FB reply despite it being so demonstrably wrong. When challenged to supply evidence of this claim he deleted it.

    Please Patrick, be true to your people and renounce this cruel support for a project that would damage them so badly.

    Stick to the rest of your policies but let go of this one that diminishes you and all of your team as well as the Widjabul Wia-bal people.

    • or it could mean that whilst he understands the important need to preserve and promote indigenous culture he also understands that a new dam is of greater importance to the whole community, the North Coast is a diverse group of people and they all need water.

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