I am a Science graduate with majors in Physiology and Immunology. My early work was in medical research, then after completing post-graduate qualifications in Health Promotion I was employed in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. My passion for liveable communities led me into a community development role in refugee health. After moving to Kiama in 1997, I trained as a science teacher and I still occasionally work as a casual.
My partner and I have brought up our two children in Kiama and I have been active in the community for 23 years. I helped manage several community organisations, from playgroup through little athletics, and then had a major role in establishing the Kiama Community Garden. In 2010 I was selected as a community representative on Council’s Health and Sustainability Committee and my interest in Council grew. I have been a Greens Councillor on Kiama Council since 2012 and Deputy Mayor between 2016 and 2018.
Kiama is a World Health Organisation (WHO) accredited Healthy City. The Healthy City philosophy fits well with the Greens. To be healthy, communities need to provide opportunities for people to interact and connect with others. In turn, these local networks can provide a valuable voice in local planning.
Healthy Cities make community resources available so that people can develop confidence in making beneficial change at a personal or public level. Libraries, adult education, community centres, youth workers and community development workers are examples of such resources. Healthy Cities also promote opportunities for people to participate in decision making. I will work to ensure that Kiama Council achieves these outcomes by remaining open, transparent and responsive to the community.
For a sustainable future, it is vital to respect our environment and protect the ecosystems that we rely upon. Our food system is dependent on bees, a narrow range of sea temperature and predicable growing seasons. Protecting regional forests and taking other climate change actions will underlie future food security. Kiama’s rural landscapes support our regional economy and local character, and urban trees support life in many ways. Protecting the natural environment is not only critical ecologically, it provides wellbeing and resilience to all.
As a Councillor, I have developed a good understanding of Council functions through my participation in many internal committees including Access, Blue Haven Advisory, Blue Haven Board, Economic Development, Cultural Board, Health and Sustainability, Long Term Financial Planning, Performance Review, Planning, Seniors Week, Streets and Reserves Naming and Youth Advisory.
I am also a committee member of the external bodies, Friends of Kiama Library, Healthy Cities Illawarra, Western Pacific Alliance for Healthy Cities, Illawarra District Weeds Authority, Illawarra Landcare Co-ordinating Committee, NSW Public Libraries South East Zone Committee and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation.
I have played a key role in:
- Increasing parking requirements for medium density developments.
- Reducing Councils investment in institutions supporting the fossil fuel industry.
- Establishing Kiama as a WHO accredited Age Friendly City.
- Establishing Kiama as a Refugee Welcome Zone, and initiating the Kiama Welcomes Refugees group.
- Requiring Councillors to determine DA’s that interfere with scenic rural or coastal landscapes.
- Expediting the Department of Primary Industries mapping of Kiama’s agricultural soils.
- Emphasising regulation of short-term holiday rental properties and response to issues.
- Arranging for David Shoebridge to meet with Council. This influenced Councillors to approve the plebiscite that resulted in keeping Council from amalgamation.
- Advocacy and agreement for Council to increase its own source revenue.
- Achieving a permanent memorial of the Minnamurra Massacre.
- Initiating the Planning Proposal for Kiama’s town centre heritage district.
- Working to achieve more timely public reporting of development data & housing completions.
- Initiating new policy for improved council responsiveness to community communications.
- Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency.
- Stimulating progress towards a significant tree register.
- Being the Council spokesperson to the Independent Planning Commission on the Dunmore sand mine.
- Monitoring and directing Council’s progression with Crown land management decisions.
I have the energy, motivation and calm approach needed to work successfully throughout another term on Council. I am skilled at interpreting and extracting critical information from business papers and sourcing extra information when necessary. In 2020 I graduated from The Australian Institute of Company Directors.
I expect that the next Council will have several new faces and that my memory of Council’s deliberations will be valuable in protecting its most valuable achievements. I am looking forward to working alongside like-minded Councillors (and more women!) to improve Council’s transparency and responsiveness to the community. If elected, I will ensure that I am generous with my time in assisting our next Green Councillor to develop background understanding – if required, of any issues being considered over the 3-year Council term ahead.