University of Canberra political science lecturer, Dr Michael De Percy, chaired the recent “Meet the Candidates” night in Gunning.
The candidates claims to fill one of the nine positions ranged from “Steady as She Goes”, through “Fresh Ideas” to “Council Needs a Good Shake Up”.
Some of the questions he received from local residents were raised with the candidates.
The first question; “The NBN goes down the Hume Highway and is already connected to both Gunning and Dalton schools. Will you (if elected) commit to playing an advocacy role in Council to ensure that our villages get this vital connection to the digital world?"
The second question; "Local landholders have combined in group fox baiting programs, with great success. Will you (if elected) commit to work with Landcare, Local Land Service and residents to address the urban fox problem?"
The third question; "While some ratepayers are business people, farmers or retirees, many work full time away from their village and are unable to attend meetings and consultations ... what suggestions do you have to make Council meetings, community consultations and services such as the Gunning Library accessible to these ratepayers?"
The fourth question; "Will you 9if elected) commit to opening Gunning Library on Saturday so that High School students are able to access the Library and internet?"
The fifth question; "What's happening with rural roads?"
The sixth question; "To the South of the Shire there is a wealthy population of about 400,000 people. The future economic prosperity of the Shire depends on extracting money from this population rather than the faltering rural economy. There are two direct road links to this population from Crookwell, being the Gunning-Gundaroo Road (sealed and no longer under the control of ULSC) and the Gunning-Collector Road (unsealed and fully controlled by ULSC). Given this information, what importance do you give to sealing and better utilising this road to attract the greater ACT populace to our shire?"
The seventh and last question on the night; "Council has recently advertised for two tourism positions to be located in Crookwell Visitor Centre. There is no part time or even fleeting presence in Gunning nor any funds committed to running an "I - Information" service. Please describe your plans to attract visitors through this vital gateway to the Shire."