Raj Datta (Strathfield) is one of a record number of sub-continental candidates in NSW’s 8 Sept Local Council elections. USHA RAMANUJAM ARVIND reports
As the main provider of core services, it is incumbent on local government to consider what the changing demographics of Australia mean to the socio-economic fabric of the society. The verdict is out. Dramatic spurt in migration from the Indian subcontinent has drastically changed the racial profile of the nation over the past decade.
The state and local governments have jointly launched a novel initiative – Destination 2036 – for strong and sustainable long term growth.
As local councils all across NSW (barring Wollongong and Shellharbour) go to polls on September 8 2012, it is heartening to note the increased participation of sub-continental origin candidates. Indian Link spoke to four sitting councilors re-entering the fray, as well as several community leaders, small businessmen, youngsters and influential residents who have chosen to take the plunge into active politics by representing the people at grassroots level. We certainly hope to see many new faces and increased participation in the coming years at all three levels of governance.
Cr Prabir Maitra
Parramatta Council, Arthur Philip Ward (North Parramatta, Parramatta, Harris Park, parts of Wentworthville),
Councillor Prabir Maitra is back in the fray at the Arthur Philip Ward, having already served at Parramatta Council since 2008.
“The biggest achievement of my tenure was to represent the growing South Asian migrant community for the first time in Parramatta Council and I hope to serve them yet again,” Cr Maitra told Indian Link. “The hard working South Asian migrant population has changed the profile of Parramatta and it has been hugely positive, bringing new opportunities. It’s not only in Harris Park, you go to any street of Parramatta and other suburbs and you will find a lot of businesses now owned by South Asian Communities. It’s creating jobs, bringing new festivals and new colour to multicultural Parramatta.
But we need appropriate infrastructure and transport, to solve ever growing traffic and security issues. In many suburbs due to high rise buildings population density is growing but not the open space, leisure areas and child care facilities. I will persevere in these areas”.
Cr Maitra who works in IT support at Westmead Hopsital, also hopes to establish an annual Council funded sub-continent festival in the major events calendar to add new dimension to vibrant city.
As well, he is working towards long term relationship with a Council in India.
Maitra has continued to promote community cause through his tenure at the local government level. During the international student crisis, he actively lobbied with the Council and the community, and was senior leader of Consul General of India’s special committee. Tabling a motion on the matter, he got the Council actively involved, eventually resolving the crisis.
He actively supported the initiative of bringing music legend AR Rahman to Parramatta Park, an effort that led to 60,000 people attending the high profile event. As well he promoted Parramasala – the Australian Festival of South Asian Arts, having served on its board.
“I believe Parramasala should consult more with community organisations and people directly for greater success,” he stated.
Both as a resident of the Parramatta area and as Councillor, Maitra has engaged both with community and businesses for better infrastructure and facilities. As well he has lobbied for grants and events in the local areas. Among those who have benefitted are – Shakti temple, Sydney Kali Bari, Westmead Murugan temple and BAPS Swaminarayan temple. He has also supported DA for a mosque in Granville as well as Gujarati Samaj building.
Likewise, he has reached out to Sri Lankan community voicing their concerns and organising vigils during refugee crisis.
Maitra helped the Sri Lankan Tamil community organise vigils in front of the Parramatta Town Hall after the recent massacre. Likewise, he has supported Gandhi Centre activities.
The Labor councilor, who is head of the Westmead branch, has represented his party at various state and federal committees.
Maitra was instrumental in organising the delegation of Parramatta City Council to India and Bangladesh, led by the Mayor and representatives from UWS, Westmead Hospital and local businesses.
He is also a member of the smart city initiative – ParraConnect, which introduced ParraSync Card to integrate access to many aspects of city living. He is also on its IT advisory committee.
“I believe in a culture of responsiveness and positive change”, he stated. “And this comes by listening to residents and working with the community to get things done”.
Cr Dilip Chopra
Hornsby Shire Council, Ward A (Asquith, Castle Hill, Berowra, Dural, Hornsby, Hornsby Heights, Wahroonga, Waitara)
Sitting councillor and Hornsby resident Dilip Chopra is seeking re-election as a Liberals candidate. A strong advocate of multiculturalism and community togetherness, he has served as vice president of UIA.
During his tenure at Hornsby, Chopra has served the Shire in various sectors. He has been particularly outspoken in areas of aged care and disability. Mental health care and seniors welfare is a subject he is particularly passionate about.
A gemmologist by profession, the Delhi-born Chopra has also been a member of the advisory board to celebrate Diwali at Parliament. As well he is a member of the Ministerial Consultative Committee of the State Cabinet.
He hopes to continue the rich work of the former council and leverage on existing relationships and close ties with the community.
“I believe Council should continue to support small business – a critical course of action in generating local employment”, he said.
He believes diversity adds to the rich culture of the Hornsby Shire. “While racism cannot be completely weeded out, it can be replaced with respect for multiculturalism,” he indicated.
“As a leader of the Indian community, I always encourage them to respect and embrace Australian culture and community life. We need to get involved in mainstream initiatives like CleanUp Australia and participate in Anzac Day ceremonies,” he added.
“I am honoured and humbled to be one of the first Indian Australian councillors. I have once again been endorsed by the Liberals and am committed to my electorate,” he emphasised.
He also believes Council must continue to work with the community in meeting residential housing targets to ensure that the quality of life is preserved in Hornsby Shire.
Cr Rakesh Duncombe
Kuringai Council, Roseville Ward
NZ born Rakesh Duncombe, who migrated to Australia in the seventies, has risen up the management ranks, serving in many roles before starting his own thriving financial practice in 2002. He has now diversified into real estate as well.
The Roseville resident was elected to his ward in 2008, after then Mayor Nick Ebbeck urged him to get involved because of his strong business and Rotary links.
“With political affinity towards Liberals, I represent the silent majority”, he told Indian Link.
“I’d like to say I am a capitalist. I strongly believe in the common sense approach and keeping things simple. The “vocal minority” have too much influence in local government politics and have effectively slowed or even stopped our community progressing”, he noted.
“I want to restore more balance in decision making. The pendulum has swung too far to the Greens and the anti-development side of the spectrum, and policy creep means that what seemed like good small ideas years ago, are now entrenched in the psyche of councils; yet most of them do not benefit the wider community, rather, a narrow focused ideal of a vocal few. I think residents are generally fed up with decisions that are convenient to the hype of the day. I always represent any resident to assist them to get a fair and reasonable outcome to their issue,” he added.
A keen sportsman, particularly motor racing, he is active in the local community and has been a long time member of Rotary Club, serving as their youth director and later president.
A smiling face is the greatest tool when negotiating with even the nastiest of situations, he believes.
Cr Duncombe is a strong believer in “balancing the needs of the entire community and opposes the ‘human induced climate change’ movement.” He believes current policies are too restrictive, short sighted and pandering to Green elements.
Rather he supports “sustainable practices and operations provided residents aren’t continuously asked to fund these programs.”
He is the economic and social development champion amongst current councillors and managed to have the new resource appointed after nearly two years of effort.
“I am on the internal audit committee,” he explained “and believe strongly in fair process, transparency and minimising bureaucracy. As a business owner, I understand and champion fiduciary responsibility, governance, strategic thinking and budgeting – a skill in my view that is generally lacking in our current group of councillors,” he added.
Cr Duncombe prefers to get the basics sorted, “before committing ratepayers’ funds to programs and ideas that are nice, but not critical”. Financial sustainability and strong working relationships with fellow councillors and residents are, he indicated, his biggest success.
He wishes to get started soon on “an excellent civic centre that residents will be proud of.”
As well he hopes to work on the image of the DA team. “Our Council is regarded as one of the most difficult to deal with,” he admitted.
Cr Vasee Rajadurai
Holroyd City Council, North Ward (Girraween, Pendle Hill, South Wentworthville, Toongabbie, Central Gardens Park)
Sri Lankan Australian councillor Vasee Rajadurai is back in the fray from North Ward having successfully completed his tenure.
“I am very proud to have represented the South Asian community. It was a great opportunity to act as a bridge between council and people,” Rajadurai stated.
Rajadurai has recently been appointed Vice President of Parramatta District Cricket Club.
“Our colonial roots and British political legacy makes us Sri Lankan and Indians aware of governance experience. Anglo Australians should realise that we are not here to change the local culture, rather we only seek to enrich it by embracing our rich heritage as much as local traditions”, he emphasised.
“Nevertheless, a huge cultural change is happening in great western Sydney and the growing ethnic needs have to be met. This will be my work for the upcoming term,” he indicated.
It is a challenge for someone like me of ethnic background. I understand all the diverse needs but sometimes it is not possible to meet all of them, he added
His biggest regret is the lack of cultural facilities. “At the moment, residents have to go to Blacktown or Silverwater for community functions. We urgently need a large hall to accommodate at least six hundred or more,” he admitted.
He also hopes to address transport needs and implement better policing.
An ongoing issue is high-rise buildings. “I have been fighting indiscriminate high density developments that are cropping up without adequate focus on infrastructure facilities.
As well Clr Rajadurai has worked closely with the community to stop closure of three council pools.
“I have had to fight tooth and nail to prevent this and I can happily say that it is one of my big successes”, he admitted.
He will also work to better equip libraries with sufficient resources.
Strathfield Council (Strathfield has no wards)
Raj Datta needs no introduction to South Asian readers. The long time Homebush West resident has not only been preselected by ALP to lead the elections at Strathfield Council but is also running for Mayor. There are no wards in the council.
“This pre-selection acknowledges the views of the Labor Party on the achievements of Australians from Indian and Indian Sub-continental heritage in making New South Wales an increasingly better place for all Australians,” Datta stated.
“For me these elections are about standing by a set of values that bind us together as a community, such as respect for social equity and equality. It is about belief in principles that if the same god created us all, we all deserve the same opportunities of life including opportunities for education and health. It is about our commitments to these qualities, values and principles,” he added.
Initiating the formation of the Deepavali Festival Committee (DFC) of NSW, he was also instrumental in arranging the first-ever external illumination of a parliament house in western society.
Since then it has been transformed into one of the highest profile celebrations in the state.
He also spearheaded the installation of a plaque acknowledging contribution of the Australians from Indian and Indian sub-continental heritage. A dedicate community activist, Datta took a lead role in initiating a dialogue for safe and speedy resolution of the students crisis by establishing the Premier’s Working Committee, which he went on to chair.
Datta led the initiative to institute the Premier’s Award for Australians from Indian and Indian Sub-continental heritage in 2010 to celebrate multiculturalism and social contribution.
He is also passionate about rebuilding Australia as a “knowledge nation” and believes in increased funding for public schools.
“To ensure our kids perform to their full potential, our system must be totally merit based and focus equally on academic and sports excellence,” he emphasised.
“I am leading a team that is fully committed to working in close co-operation with the community in a proactive fashion. This new Labor team believes that there is a need for the councillors to be more in touch with residents and to work in close consultation with the community.”
The proposed Australian Catholic University redevelopment has been a key concern for Strathfield residents.
Inadequate policing is another major issue.
“I have personally spoken to many business owners around the shopping area and they say there is not enough police presence. The shopkeepers don’t feel safe because people break out in fights around their businesses. Many other issues are being brought to our attention by community members and we are reviewing it all,” Datta added.
Ashfield Council, South Ward
Of Indian and Chinese ethnicity, Singapore-born Marc Rerceratnam was elected to Ashfield Council in 2004 elections on a Greens ticket. This time round he is contesting as an independent from the south ward after losing his endorsement.
Rerceratnam, who moved to Australia for post graduate studies, has a PhD from University of Sydney on examining interaction between communities and governments.
The community activist has been particular critical of high rise developments in 1 and 2 storey Federation style neighbourhoods.
Barely three months after his debut, he initiated the social and economic program to revitalize the Ashfield Town Centre – “a delicate proposition juggling the interests of local residents, shopkeepers, pro-development landowners and local and state political networks”. This involved innovative ideas and the ability to create links and networks with the local actors in Ashfield CBD.
“By late 2006 and early 2007 significant improvements to the Town Centre was becoming visually apparent with many business owners, for the first time, reinvesting thousands of dollars in refurbishing their businesses along Liverpool Road,” Rerceratnam said.
He has been the Chairperson of Local Multicultural Ethnic Affairs Committee, Shopping Trolleys Working Party/Taskforce
He is also member of Works & Infrastructure Committee, Community Services Committee, Communications Committee, Library Committee, Environment Committee, Budget & Operations Review Committee, Strategic Planning & Economic Development Committee.
Holroyd City Council, East Ward (Merrylands, Granville, Westmead, Holroyd, part of Wentworthville)
Balaji Venkatarangan calls himself a foot soldier of the Australian Labor Party.
A founder member of Sub-Continent Friends of Labor, Venkatarangan has time and time again lobbied on community issues and government policies.
“I believe in the fundamental role that we, as members and activists, play in our party’s electoral success,” he told Indian Link.
The community leader and union activist will contest local government elections from East Ward of Holroyd Council.
“I can deliver a new vision to Holroyd city council along with my team Peter Monaghan and Sandra Kaltoum. As president of an association, union delegate and community representative, I have the time, energy and experience to lead us forward. I will fight hard to guarantee that the voice of the membership is not only heard but valued and respected”, he added.
While better infrastructure, transport and recreational facilities top his agenda, he also hopes to stop Liberal government imposing freeway tolls and prevent overdevelopment of the region.
“There has been a rapid change in the structure of the population within Holroyd and this change has not frequently reflected in the change of service for these people. We need more community halls and sporting venues as much as good roads and footpaths,” he stated.
As well, he hopes to bring in more high profile events like Diwali Mela, UIA Friendship Fair to the region to boost the local economy.
“I care deeply about this community and am steadfast in my principles of ensuring Holroyd community for families of all ages and businesses of all sizes,” Venkatarangan continued.
A member on the advisory board of the iconic Parramasala and president of the Indian Australian Arts and Film association (IAAFA), Balaji is passionate about arts and culture, organising numerous events aimed at vibrant cultural exchange. Through this forum he has engaged the community, particularly youngsters and reconnected them with their values and heritage. He has brought in traditional as well as contemporary artists, besides organising film releases all over Australia.
Energetic and proactive, he has been a core member of community groups including the Parramatta, Holroyd & Blacktown Migrant Resource Centres, RSPCA, NSW Police, NSW Fire Brigade, Australian Red Cross, Recreational NSW, Aboriginal Artists of NSW, Art Galleries of NSW, Scouts and Guides NSW.
He has also led Indian Australian community through several forums.
“Back in 2009, at the height of the international student crisis, I was deeply involved with several community members and organisations like the Community Relations Commission of NSW, Ethnic Communities Council of NSW and NSW Police Parramatta Local Area Command, reaching a sensible solution”.
Local MP David Borger and then premier Kristina Kenneally acknowledged his efforts.
Venkatarangan has also lobbied for greater trade exchange between Indian and Australia in the minerals sector, particularly uranium.
Lobbying with unions and government is another asset he brings to this role, having represented AWU and AMWU, particularly in manufacturing, automotive and rail industries.
Hornsby Shire Council, Ward B (Asquith, Castle Hill, Dural, Cherrybrook, Waitara, Wahroonga, Hornsby, Normanhurst)
When Gurdeep Singh chose to settle down in Hornsby more than two decades ago, it was for the quality of life the north shore suburb offered. The bushland setting, transport connectivity and top class education facilities are cherished quite as much even today.
“The whole Shire has changed since and only for the better,” he told Indian Link.
Singh hopes to make a difference to the local community by improving services and amenities.
The convenor and secretary of the North Shore Sikh Association has been endorsed as Liberal candidate in upcoming local council elections for Ward B.
“I wish to preserve and propagate its heritage. I want to make the Shire a place where local government addresses local issues with a great degree of care and sensitivity. More importantly I want to reduce red tape-ism and roll out processes that are well thought out, consultative and transparent,” said the civil engineer, who runs an independent practice in the Sydney metropolitan area.
Deeply involved in the community, Singh is also
an active life member of the Council of Indian Australians and a Vice President of the Indian Australian Association of New South Wales.
Naturally, he will bring to this role a wealth of experience not only as a professional but also in broader spectrum of core human values and relationships.
Having been extensively involved in community consultations processes, he values his cultural heritage as well as uprightness.
“Given a chance, I am only too keen to go the extra mile to serve the community that has encouraged and supported me,” he added
He hopes to become the first Sikh Australian to represent the community in the local government area.
“I am truly honoured to be the first Sikh in Australia to be given the Liberal Party ticket”.
Blacktown Council, Ward 3 (Doonside, Seven Hills, Toongabbie, Prospect, Blacktown, Huntingwood, Arnside)
“We are here to stay. So we need to have a say” is advocate Susai Benjamin message to the Indian Australian community. And politics he believes is the perfect instrument to effect meaningful change. The well-known social worker and legal rights campaigner could well become the first Indian Australian in Blacktown City Council, if elected from Ward 3.
“I won’t make promises I can’t keep but so long as it is compliant to rules and can be implemented, I am ready to listen and undertake to articulate on behalf of people’s needs,” Benjamin told Indian Link.
His big vision for Blacktown is to emulate the example of Parramatta. “I would like Blacktown CBD to take shape and evolve as a future smart city,” he said. He also hopes to run a survey to find out what are the needs of small businesses at the grassroots level.
A review mechanism of Council infringement notices is top of his agenda. The hard-core Labor supporter, who heads the pre-selection list for the September 8 election has served the local community tirelessly since his arrival in 1987.
Nicknamed nil-fee lawyer, it all started when he offered free legal advice to new migrants.
“Since then, people have come routinely door knocking on all matters legal or quasi-legal”, he remembered. This trend has continued despite his hectic professional and electoral commitments.
In 2007, Susai spearheaded the establishment of Toongabbie Legal Centre after extensive community consultations.
Offering free legal aid to people unable to access this service because of prohibitive costs, TLC is now an iconic local institution with a large network of volunteer solicitors and law students.
Having worked with numerous state government organisations like NSW Treasury, Work Cover Authority and State Authorities Superannuation Board, Benjamin has extensive public service experience.
As well, he is a regular at community events, championing the cause of multiculturalism.
“I believe in walking the talk and to this end I founded a not for profit company Australian Multicultural Forum Ltd,” he stated.
The organisation, he explained, encourages “dialogue among people who care to identify key obstacles to harmonious living”.
He was appointed as Executive Committee member of the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW and as a board member of Migrant Resource Centres in Blacktown and Parramatta. He also served as the Board member and later the President of Multicultural Arts Alliance of NSW.
Significantly, he served for two terms on the Australian Government’s Australian Multicultural Advisory Council (AMAC). Through AMAC’s contributions, Benjamin believes that Australia now has a Multicultural Policy.
Early this year, he was appointed as ambassador for multiculturalism, one of only forty named by federal government.
Susai is also involved at the professional level and has held many positions in professional organisations, such as the Council Of Australasian Tribunals (COAT), the Australian Institute of Administrative Law (AIAL), part-time member of the Government and Related Employees Appeal Tribunal (GREAT) and many other activities.
He has been invited to many international forums, speaking passionately about community development, adult education and environment. Both Susai and his wife Anne, former executive director of Catholic Schools in western Sydney, are very active in their parish.
“I have always been in the business of reviewing policy and making laws. My job is to listen to people and implement their needs,” he added.
City of Canada Bay Council, Drummoyne Ward
Psychiatrist, author, columnist and comedian, Tanveer Ahmed is all set now to don a new mantle – that of Councillor. He is contesting on a Liberals ticket from the prestigious Drummoyne constituency of the City of Canada Bay Council, featuring high on the pre-selection table.
Born in Bangladesh and raised in Sydney’s western suburbs, the former Sydney Grammar student has been outspoken on migrant issues. Multiculturalism and mental health issues naturally are hot favourites and he has written passionately and extensively on both subjects in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Named as one of the future leaders of Australia under the age of 40, Ahmed has a very visible public face and he has chosen to leverage this in aid of his pet causes.
“As a resident of Drummoyne, where I recently moved and as small business owner, I thought the best way to express myself in the community was through the local government elections,” he told Indian Link.
“A young family has made me more interested in the core aspects of local government, which is sometimes reduced to the 3 Rs – roads, rates and rubbish. But I am very interested in how the area evolves, given we have moved in there recently and can see our children being raised there – schools, parks, roads, better shop areas,” he explained.
“I have become more conservative in the past decade and given I am a small businessman now running a medical practice and am quite individualistic – the Liberal party made sense,” he added.
Council elections will be a road test for talented Tanveer who nurtures bigger political ambitions. “Perhaps the Federal arena down the track,” he revealed. “Yet I see local government as a kind of practical politics and look forward to getting involved”.
Holroyd City Council, East Ward (Merrylands, Granville, Westmead, Holroyd, part of Wentworthville)
Bethel Perera is an amalgam of many cultures. Proud of her Indian heritage that combines Hindu and Muslim ancestry, Fijian born-Australia raised Perera was brought up with Christian beliefs. The young communications professional, who works for AusGrid is married to a Sri Lankan Buddhist.
“All of these values coexist harmoniously. I was brought up to respect individuality. We may not agree with a different ideology or values but we need to accept their choice,” she stated.
This is what attracted her to Unity Party, which was born in 1998 to challenge Pauline Hanson’s vision of a “white” Australia. Equality and multiculturalism, fairness and acceptance are focal points of her rainbow of religions.
“It’s interesting how opportunities come to you”, she recalled. Having worked in events for a decade now both professionally through her husband Ritchie’s business and passion-inspired pet projects, she was introduced to Unity Party head Peter Wong and then Kogarah deputy mayor Annie Wang.
“I had engrossed myself in data and statistics relating to issues and changes within the community. This was the point when I grew hungry to get involved and make some positive changes. This prompted me to take part in local government and represent ethnic Australia,” she explained.
By representing her electorate, she wants to improve quality of life.
“I want residents to be happy and feel safe,” she stated. “I also want to reach out to our youth. This is an area that needs to be addressed but it takes a certain kind of person and I know I can do it”.
Upgrading local parks and facilities, exploring parking issues, particularly around Westmead station and Plaza as well as investing in childcare, are among her immediate priorities.
“There is a nice garden at the park behind Lane Street in Wentworthville but to create a shaded area with a non-smoking area would offer the locals a life style,” she pinpointed.
Bethel believes her sub-continental heritage will work in her favour. “We always like to support someone we can identify with or who we feel is our own. Influencing supporters based on my cultural heritage (Fijian or Indian) or by my Sri-Lankan last name (by marriage) will happen,” she said.
Husband Ritchie, Bethel revealed, has been her “strategist, engine room and advisor”.
And the warm response from the people has been a welcome surprise.
“This may be my first year running, but the reception from my electorate has been nothing short of positive,” Bethel admitted. “I am touched by their support and faith. It has made me realise there are so many levels that we relate and connect to people on”.
“It is a matter of pride and acknowledgement of my contribution that I have been preselected for Strathfield Council,” Rajiv Bhandula told Indian Link.
“Having spent the first two decades in the country establishing my family and my professioinal interests, I am now committed to wholeheartedly serving the community”, he stated.
Bhandula is inspired by the figures that have emerged from the latest Census. “It shows the Indian community in the Strathfield area has grown significantly and it’s time to represent the same in council as well, so that council can also serve its people effectively”.
He believes it is time that Indian Australians participate actively in governance at all three levels and strengthen the multicultural fabric of society.
“The Liberal Party has always been an inclusive party but the perception in the community needs to be changed. Being a Liberal candidate for Strathfield Council, I will help the party, the council and the Indian community for better understanding and coordinated cooperation so that we can serve this wonderful nation better”, he stated.
Talking about pre-selection, Bhandula explained that local MP Charles Casuscelli and Liberal candidate for Reid Craig Laundy invited him for talks.
He believes his greatest asset is his strong community links and excellent business rapport. He has established an extensive network among the business community.
While his priorities are Liberals based, his campaign is ‘Local for Locals’. He hopes to encourage greater interaction among residents.
M4 extension and reducing traffic congestion figure high on his agenda.
“There will also be some work which will be focused towards the needs of people from the Indian subcontinent. These include – allocating Council facilities, such as hall, library, etc for community events, as well as programs for exhibitions and celebration of festivals associated with people of Indian Subcontinent,” he highlighted.
Bhandula firmly believes that the Liberal Party is totally committed to having a proper representation of the Indian community.
“Our strategy is to bring the subcontinent community together so that Strathfield Council can adapt new policies to meet the demands of people from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Fiji”.
Liverpool Council, North Ward
Naveen Gandra came to Australia in 2001 to pursue higher studies at University of Wollongong. The computer science student from Hyderabad fell in love with the people and lifestyle and soon adopted citizenship.
“Working and living in Liverpool each day, I am in constant contact with residents (my neighbours) and the business community through my work as a business banker with Westpac”, Gandra indicated.
“I see each day the difficulties that this community faces, and I want to do my part as a member of the Liberal Council team to work for a better Liverpool, for families and small business,” he added.
He has been endorsed for the North Ward in the upcoming Liverpool Council elections.
“I want to make Liverpool a better place for families to live and work,” he stated. “Community safety in Liverpool is a big issue, so we are committed to introducing CCTV cameras in the CBD. At the moment the residents are very scared about break-ins and being robbed on streets. We will also increase infrastructure budget, focussing on footpaths and street lamps. Better parks and reserves are also on our agenda. We are also campaigning for fairer hours of operation for the Parking Meters. Currently they operate for too long, and it is hurting business”.
According to Gandra, the Liberal Party hopes to inject more resources into junior sports clubs and grounds. “We will provide more Council support and funds to junior sport,” he promised.
The Council currently has an enormous debt from the failed Labor Oasis project. “We will work to balance Councils budget, work to pay off Labors debt, and fight Federal Labor’s Carbon Tax, which will hurt small business and push up rates”, he continued.
Gandra and his Liberal team have been door knocking for every vote and meeting leaders and community groups. As well, he has set up street stalls for direct interface.
“This election is about a fresh approach, who the community believes will listen and deliver for them,” he reiterated.