Ben van der Wijngaart

Before Ben van der Wijngaart settled in Kiama with his wife Sharon, and his father, Henk, he served 33 years in the RAAF, holding a number of senior leadership and command appointments in Australia and overseas. Ben’s last appointment in the Service was as Commandant of the RAAF Staff College. While in the ADF, he was appointed a Fellow in Strategic Studies by the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies.

On leaving the RAAF, he worked as a principal with a Canberra-based consulting business, teaching project management and facilitating projects ranging from micro-economic and structural reform initiatives to large capital developments and acquisitions, in both the private and public spheres. Since November 2006 he has involved himself full-time in community support work and environmental crisis awareness campaigning.

He is active in his local church and a committed participant in its Social Justice Environment and Peace Committee. He is a member of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Seabird Rescue and trains first aid for the Kiama SES. Ben took a major role in developing and delivering a presentation to the Community Forum on the Kiama LEP.

He has actively supported local citizens groups concerned about exploitation of the Shoalhaven River, the Seven Mile Beach sand mine extension, inappropriate development of Killalea State Park, Jaspers Brush Airfield, the Princes Highway upgrade project, the Kangaloon Aquifer pumping, the Toolijooa Village development – to name a few. He has spoken on and conducted film and discussion nights on Peak Oil and Climate Change.

He is presently the convenor for the Friends of Zumalai Community initiative with East Timor and is on the organising committee for Spirituality in the Pub at Jamberoo.

“The Kiama municipality faces many challenges with the imminent consequences of Climate Change and Peak Oil – which will dramatically affect our local economy, employment, lifestyle and cost of living. I believe that Council needs to provide strong leadership in dealing with the State Government so that local residents determine the future of their community. Protecting our farmlands for agriculture, funding community services and addressing the issues of affordable housing, local employment, particularly for our young people and a sustainable business base, are key issues. I believe my academic background, as well as my work, leadership and community experience suit me for the role as an effective Councillor on Kiama Council.”