Mayoral Election 2017: Three key issues for Cr Sharon Griffiths

Candidate: Cr Sharon Griffiths says the key issues are the same as last election: roads, footpaths and better communication.

Candidate: Cr Sharon Griffiths says the key issues are the same as last election: roads, footpaths and better communication.

Cr Sharon Griffiths says the issues prominent in the 2016 local government election are still relevant to the July 29 mayoral by-election.

Port Macquarie-Hastings will go to the polls to elect a new mayor following the shock decision by Peter Besseling to resign to take up the general manager’s role with Birdon Marine.

Cr Griffiths is one of two current councillors who have already committed to contesting the by-election. Cr Rob Turner has already announced his decision to stand for the mayor’s position.

“The community’s priorities have not changed since the last election,” she said.

“Ratepayers want the basic ingredients: roads, footpaths and the need to be heard.

“I am trying not to be too broad and to take on too many subjects that are outside the local government area realm.”

Cr Griffiths said accountability to the community and keeping the organisation accountable were also hot topics for ratepayers.

I think I can look at things differently. I am not just looking at a space and saying, let’s just cut a service. I am looking at how we can make a significant difference by looking outside the box - Cr Sharon Griffiths

With almost five years serving the community, Cr Griffiths said, in general terms, the council is running okay.

“But looking toward the future, we have to look at better managing, and being more effective at, what we do,” she added.

She supports the notion of looking outside the square to solve systemic problems.

“I think I can look at things differently. I am not just looking at a space and saying, let’s just cut a service. I am looking at how we can make a significant difference by looking outside the box,” she said.

This rationale included the financial implications of delivering projects in critical areas and how to find cost-saving measures to alleviate the existing backlog of infrastructure projects.

The councillor also says it’s important to have a good connection with the community to achieve some positive outcomes.

Cr Griffiths, who operates a small business based in Wauchope, says she has a ‘reasonably good footprint in the wider local government area’.

“The role of a councillor is quite demanding and you field enquiries from all over the lga.

“As those demands are already in place, the role of mayor will simply take those demands to a different place and level.”

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