For the first time in the history of Yass Valley shire, five candidates will run for election on an independent group ticket.
The Our Yass Valley group is already in campaign mode, with the launch of its website and claims the current line up of councillors have lost touch with the community, are economically irresponsible and ‘tired’.
They are current councillor Geoff Frost, former councillor Kim Turner, health lobbyist Jasmin Jones, Yass Valley Young Citizen of the Year Nathan Reynolds-Furry, and Mike Inkster, known for his anti-wind turbine activism.
The candidates see the group format as an opportunity to get like-minded councillors with similar philosophies into office.
Should another group of candidates decide to take them on, their ballot paper position above the line effectively ensures up to 60 per cent of the valley’s votes. Preferences will flow to fellow group members if candidates prove unsuccessful.
Cr Frost, 58, said running for council as part of a group would help push things through council. He disagreed that having five people with similar ideas voting on council would misrepresent the wider community. The current councillors often voted together anyway, he said.
“I think there’s a lot of room in council for new and different ideas,” he said. “There’s an opportunity for us to be a bit more effective if we have people of like mind.”
He said the members were each strong individuals with impressive skills and a track record of community service.
The group intended to present policies so the community could select a candidate based on beliefs, rather than merely vote for a personality.
Cr Frost said he is considering nominating as mayor if elected, if he had the numbers. Most of the group told the Tribune they would support his nomination for mayor.
It is the first time in 13 years that current mayor Nic Carmody has come close to being toppled. He was re-elected unopposed last year and has been challenged only once during his tenure, by Sutton-based councillor David Needham in 2010.
He told the Tribune on Monday evening that the Greens group, which ran for the first time at the last election, attracted a lot of criticism from the community for bringing politics to the local government elections.
“I think it’s far better if individuals run on their own merit rather than rely on preferences from others,” he said.
He predicted the group would probably vote as a block if elected, and said that would be disappointing. He had been asked in the past to run on a group ticket and refused, saying it was hypocritical if he didn’t say no.
The mayor said at this stage he was non-committal as to whether he’d stand for re-election.