Sharon Griffiths is leading a team of individuals in the upcoming elections to give community and business a voice. Chrissy Jones caught up with the very busy lady who is bringing 27 years of local business experience as a business owner and 35 years of local knowledge to the upcoming Council elections.
Tell us a little about yourself and why you are running for Mayor?
Over time I have built extensive knowledge in many fields, encompassing finance, legal, development compliance and consultation with Council and other government authorities in expanding and maintaining a local business. I believe I understand the needs of the community and will help in any way I can. This is why I am running for Mayor; I wish to be the community’s voice.
Working in Port Macquarie with an accountancy firm, private corporations and for the Education Department, taking in 5 small schools in the outer valley for many years, I am very familiar with the local area.
Accredited with accountancy, training and assessment, but most importantly, with a determination that is far reaching, and financial know how to get the job done.
My community involvement has been varied: Secretary of the local P & C, Vice President of the Wauchope Chamber of Commerce, and I am currently President of the Wauchope Business Association for the past four years, with a proven record of results.
I have put forward to Council submissions recommending changes to policies and planning, which are being considered in future plans.
Council needs to be accountable for its actions. It needs to show consistency and accuracy of information and reporting. I believe I can lead the newly elected Council to achieve this through a collaborative approach to local government.
Like other rate payers, I expect not to drive in pot holes and to have all our parks and cemeteries maintained – basic services supplied without additional charges.
We need a strong voice to change the direction which Council has taken.
What are some of your policies leading into the next election?
Fix the roads, the roads, roads … starting with the potholes. Review the scheduling and standard of work results. Roads must be addressed as a priority for the overall safety of the community.
Review the current financial position and STOP the leakage of funds – there must be value for dollars and transparency.
Through greater efficiencies in all operations, any savings could cease special rate rises and increase work completed.
I believe there is a real need to secure grant funding to reduce the burden on ratepayers.
Simplify Council processes, such as DAs & BAs; cut the red tape.
If you could fix just one pressing issue for the Hastings immediately, what would it be?
Maintenance of Council property; this is high on my agenda. Improve security, street lighting, and footpaths.
What is your overall vision for our area heading towards 2020/2030?
Roads. I want to fix them. Every person who drives our roads wants to see them brought back up to standard or better. This is the most complained about issue that I am confronted with every day, and the continual decline of roads must stop.
CBD parking issues need addressing, assess the sensors already installed, access and the time allowed for parking, give consideration to both community and businesses directly affected, to bring about acceptable changes.
Responsible financial planning is another; I wish to reduce the liability on residents, improve facilities and roads. Reduce the financial burden on Council, but also ensure that infrastructure is improved to be in line with expected growth of the area.
Do you feel any pressure from the Community being the first publicly elected Councillors in almost 6 years?
No doubt there will be a high expectation from community to deliver results and get Council back on track. Persistence, patience, a proven track record of results and a direct approach to issues with common sense will take us forward.
What’s something our readers don’t know about you?
Probably lots! I have strong family ties locally and have extensively travelled abroad, backpacking through Europe and the USA. With my husband, I regularly utilise the facilities of the local area, such as walkways, bike and 4WDing tracks. I love the Greater Port Macquarie-Hastings region and all it has to offer both locals and visitors alike.
How can readers get in touch with you?
Phone me. I am grateful and encourage the community to contact me on my direct mobile Ph: 0498 064 595, or you can Facebook me: VoiceoftheHastings.