A BUSINESS consultant and lawyer complete mayoral hopeful Peter Besseling’s group to contest the council election.
Mr Besseling recently announced his bid for the top job, as well as contesting the councillor election, and revealed businessman Rob Turner would be number two on his group.
Yesterday, Mr Besseling confirmed Donovan Oates Hannaford Lawyers of Port Macquarie managing partner Justin Levido would be number three in the group, followed by business consultant Geoff Hawkins.
“The skills set that is covered by all four [group members], I think is very complementary,” Mr Besseling said. “We each have different skills we can utilise for the best interest of council and for the best interest of the community.”
Mr Levido has resigned from the Liberal Party.
“In deciding to nominate for council. I have reached the decision that this area is best served at the local government level by genuine community members without formal political affiliations,” Mr Levido said.
“On that basis, I have resigned from the Liberal Party of Australia and from all party positions held by me.”
Mr Levido acknowledged there was no doubt his past membership of the Liberal Party would be an issue for some people.
But he made it clear he had resigned to be truly independent. He confirmed his firm had been the council’s solicitors for many years until the administration started in 2008, but he did not see that as a conflict.
Mr Levido believes we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper.
He points to his experience in dealing with local government structures and his understanding of local government.
“I believe that council’s fundamental role is to improve the quality of life of its residents,” he said.
Meanwhile, Geoff Hawkins has been one of only two local members of the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s External Risk and Audit Committee for just over three years.
“It has given me an incredible enthusiasm for and insight into just what great potential lies within our community,” he said.
He said those who represented the community in the council, to be effective and offer value to the electors, needed to have appropriate skills, knowledge and experience.
Mr Hawkins has owned, operated, managed and directed both his own business and large companies in Australia and overseas.
“All these businesses provided a diverse range of services to their customers and, like council, needed to do this efficiently and with excellence,” he said.
Mr Hawkins has been involved since day one in the Edmund Barton Centre which was created to help sustain economies across regional Australia.