Local Candidate – Trevor Sargeant

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Many years of experience in contributing to the economic development of the Hastings as a former Council employee and business owner has inspired Trevor to aspire to an even greater proactive role as part of our local government in the upcoming Council elections.

Tell us about yourself and why you are running for Council?

I am a local resident of 22 years, a former business owner and past Economic Development Manager at Council. I’m standing for the September local government elections, because I believe it’s time we rethink how we do things.

My principal passion is job creation. I am proudly ‘pro-business’, because I believe that supporting local businesses leads to expanded employment opportunities, a positive community and a strong economy.

During the past 17 years as Economic Development Manager with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, and the previous five years establishing the Hastings Business Enterprise Centre, I’ve come to understand the needs, challenges and inner workings of both the private and government sectors.

I’ve seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t in our community. Over the past two decades I’ve worked closely with more than 3,000 local businesses and learnt a lot about what drives the Hastings economy, our labour market and our business community. I want to bring that knowledge to the table as a Councillor.

What are some of your policies leading into the next election?

Jobs are the heart and soul of this area – they sustain everything that we are and will be in the future. I support policies that promote a positive lifestyle, good facilities and strong community services, as these are crucial to our ability to attract well-paying, secure jobs. I believe that almost everything Council considers should be assessed in terms of whether it helps or hinders sustainable business opportunities.

In our region especially, a healthy environment equals a healthy economy. I support sustainable development that has the potential to bring economic benefits to our region and that also protects our natural assets, such as our clean beaches, pristine waterways and unspoilt hinterland.

We need to get the sense of place right in each of our communities, rather than starting with the construction of houses. This is especially important for our new growth areas. Housing must not precede employment, and we should avoid the development of dormitory suburbs that create transport, social and environmental problems.

Council must work towards expanding and diversifying the economy. I support building upon our employment drivers – our forest and horticulture industries, the Sancrox employment precinct, the airport business development precinct, the allied health precinct, a bulky goods precinct separate from the Port Macquarie industrial area, manufacturing, transport, construction and home-based business, particularly in new growth areas. We should not, for one minute, be taking our eye off these wonderful opportunities as a result of being diverted by less pressing priorities.

If you could fix one pressing issue immediately for the Hastings, what would it be?

Our immediate priority should be to change our mentality away from attracting business from elsewhere to growing local businesses that have deep roots within this community. The extra spending created will improve Council’s budget and provide additional resources for everything from fixing potholes to mowing parks.

We need to build the profile of our region through investment in the arts, public transportation, main street redevelopment and the fostering of creative industry partnerships between government, industry and education.

We should also look to develop collaborative efforts between tourism, entrepreneurial development, agriculture, forestry and technology.

What is your overall vision for this area leading towards 2020/2030?0?

By 2030, my intention is that this area will have:

A strong and developing local economy that is supportive of existing and new business activity and employment opportunities;

A social framework that provides for a high quality lifestyle that satisfies residents’ needs for recreational, social and educational pursuits;

A diversified economy based on local investment, providing well-paid, meaningful and satisfying jobs for the local community;

A strong profile as an ‘enterprising’ region exporting goods and services based on its natural assets and skill strengths;

An economy that sustains well developed centres of learning, compatible with local business opportunities;

And, at the end of the day, Port Macquarie-Hastings needs to be a great place to live.

What is something readers don’t know about you?

My wife and I have operated several small businesses, from retail, service and manufacturing in Sydney. During this time, I invented a process called Nutred, which enables the resoling of sports shoes. I have played tennis professionally and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Geology, from the University of Sydney.

I came to Port Macquarie in 1990 to establish the Hastings Business Enterprise Centre, during which time we contracted our services to Council to produce a 20 year economic development strategy – The Hastings Development Plan. This process involved 26 taskforces and more than 400 people. Much of this strategy is as relevant today as it was 15 years ago and remained the essence of Council’s recent economic development initiatives until May of this year.

Thanks Trevor.

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