Lisa Intemann is a name that is no stranger to long term residents of the Hastings. After three terms already as a Councillor, Lisa is running again, with a vast amount of experience on her side.
First off, tell us a little about yourself and why are you running for Councillor and Mayor?
I am a resident of the Hastings since 1988, and I live in Wauchope. I am mother to two girls and have four grandsons.
I was a Councillor on the local Council for three terms, from 1995 to 2008. Since then, I have been working as a journalist at the Wauchope Gazette and have completed a research doctorate.
I decided to stand again for election because over the past six months, a great many people have asked me to do so, to offer the benefit of my experience to the new Council. This was not an easy decision to make, because I loved working on the local paper. I made the decision to stand because I have a passion for good and open government, especially local government, which is closest to the people.
I will be standing for both Mayor and Councillor.
What are some of your polices leading into the next election.
My headline position concerns process – openness, honesty, and Council acting in genuine collaboration with all sectors of the local community. Council is unlike any other level of government, and ideally there must be strong connections both within the Council and between Council and its community. I have a proven strong record of genuine community consultation and constructive argument. I really listen, and I aim for results which account for all points of view. I also have a proven record of fiscal responsibility.
Coming into this election, my main focus is the local economy. There are significant changes in the wind at the state level on land use planning, which will have a significant impact locally. I am already lobbying the NSW government to recognise the importance of good local consultation when making land use plans. I will work with all the sectors of the local economy – with residents, businesses and environmentalists, to ensure that Hastings local plans take proper account of all the issues in the first instance and get the regulations right, so we can all have future certainty.
On questions of major infrastructure on the books, I support and will champion the university presence, the Sancrox overpass, the airport development, and residential expansion west of Port Macquarie. I will promote the Hastings as a region in its own right, but will continue to support our Council working with neighbouring Councils to reduce costs by exploiting economies of scale. I will actively oppose any attempt to formally amalgamate this local government area with any other.
As a rule, I will address every issue constructively, will be open to the arguments from all sides and will always give reasons for my decisions.
If you could fix just one pressing issue for the Hastings immediately, what would it be?
Apart from silencing petty negativity, if I could wave a magic wand I would remove the threat to people’s homes from coastal erosion. In real terms, I will make this problem of coastal incursion a priority. I will work with the community to get transparent answers from Council staff and to find a solution which gives people confidence for the future.
However, one cannot ignore the very important issue of Council’s level of debt – a vitally important matter which I hope every Councillor makes a priority. From my perspective, as well as consulting with staff, I will be open to all suggestions from the community. Every suggestion will be considered, and no idea will be excluded.
This answer is reflective of my approach – I am not a single-issue candidate and am mindful of the raft of issues facing Council and our community.
What is you overall vision for our area heading towards 2020/2030?
There are many places in this world which can rightly be called paradise, and this is one. I strongly believe there is nothing standing in the way of our prosperous local future which cannot be provided by our commitment to work together, considering all good ideas, and exercising common sense.
Naturally I want to ensure we protect our great local assets, which is what strongly attracts people to the area in the first place. I am also a strong advocate for human and community values, especially equity and a fair go for all.
I greatly respect the importance of a good job in making a positive contribution to people’s lives. I will work collaboratively with go-ahead local businesses, to ensure their growth is not held up by unreasonable red tape in Council. I will listen to all good ideas, especially those which offer growth in good local jobs, and I will advocate strongly on behalf of our businesses with all levels of government.
In short, I want to see ours as a region which respects its residents and local assets, and whose businesses are stable and growing, respected and valued, and focused on building our export trade. I value the contribution of tourism to our local economy, but will also be focused on economic development in the broader sense of building good local jobs in business and appropriate industry.
Do you feel any pressure from the community being the first publicly elected Councillors in almost 6 years?
There is always pressure on elected representatives, and I agree the pressure is especially keen at this Council election – the first since 2004.
There is a strong feeling with many people that Council has stopped listening to its community, and so the pressure will be on the new Council to demonstrate it is in genuine partnership with residents.
Elections aside, there will be a strong pressure for the new Council to constructively address Council’s level of debt and backlogged works.
What’s something our readers don’t know about you?
Most readers will not know that in March I was awarded a ‘doctor of philosophy’. My first degree was in science, and I worked as a scientist in both Australia and England. I returned to university part-time in 2002 to research a question in science which had plagued me for decades.
I didn’t know it at first, but my research project involved me surveying the history of our thinking through time – for the past 2,500 years! I was surprised to find we have recognised from the start of written thinking that there must be more truth than can be measured or proved by any ‘science’. Many scientists still dispute that, which is unfortunate, because it limits their thinking to what can be measured. My thesis is essentially a justification for belief in the power of the actual person, the individual, to conceive and know more than science can prove.
People can be assured that as Mayor I will never forget the individual in the situation. I recognise the value of measured facts, but know it is people who make the difference. I look forward to working with the people of this area, so that together we can achieve the goals we desire.