BUSINESSMAN and returned serviceman Keith Wilkinson believes he has what it takes to be our next popularly elected mayor.
Mr Wilkinson, with two tours of Iraq and East Timor under his belt, has taken on the challenge of standing in the mayoral and councillor race.
He believes the top position goes hand-in-hand with the opportunity to implement change.
Mr Wilkinson said he had no affiliation with political parties and did not even categorise himself as an independent.
“I’m standing as someone that will represent the residents on council and I will be a voice on council,” he said.
Several people asked Mr Wilkinson to run for council before the 2004 election, but he declined because of other commitments.
Now the time is right.
“I am running for the office of mayor and councillor for several reasons,” he said.
“Firstly, I feel with my background and experience, I can make a real positive contribution to the future prosperity with sustainable economic development – I’m talking jobs and more jobs across the Hastings for all residents with better roads, services and facilities.”
Mr Wilkinson said he also wanted to ensure residents had a voice on council and a say in the future development of their community.
He wanted to keep political parties out of local government, Mr Wilkinson said, because it was the government of the people and the community was ready to take back its council.
Our council has been under administration since 2008.
Mr Wilkinson, who has lived in Port Macquarie off and on for about 40 years, has a background within the human services industry with the private sector, state, federal and across local governments.
He holds a commission within the Army Reserve.
Mr Wilkinson is confident he could strike a balance between the Army Reserve and council commitments.
Meanwhile, if elected as mayor, Mr Wilkinson said he promised to serve the community openly, honestly and with integrity, and would ensure the council was totally open and transparent in its management and day-to-day operations.