The grassroots campaign for a community driven council in Wollongong is well underway, as the election approaches on September 3.
Community Voice is standing a full ticket across all three local wards including Michael Organ, former Greens MP for Cunningham, for mayor.
Organ is a local historian and environmental activist. He has been actively involved in campaigns to save Sandon Point and Wollongong's Regent Theatre. He is also part of the recent campaign to secure land at Hill 60 for preservation and public ownership.
Eleven other candidates are standing for mayor including Gordon Bradbery, the Uniting Church minister who nearly won the seat of Wollongong in the NSW election, and Rod Oxley, the former council general manager found by the Independent Commission Against Corruption to have displayed “conduct [that] was liable to 'allow, encourage or cause the occurrence of corrupt conduct’”.
In ward two, Community Voice candidates are campaigning strongly around issues that affect young people.
Part of the youth, student and cultural scenes, Community Voice candidates Rob Carr, Adam Jordan, Scott Burrows and Sophie Williams are familiar with the problems in these areas.
Carr is backing local live music venues, bands and recording studios as a way to reinvigorate Wollongong’s night-life.
“One of the major problems facing Wollongong’s night-life economy has been the monopoly held by the RDL group over entertainment venues — a business model that has failed to generate growth because it has virtually removed any significant competition,” Carr said.
He is calling on the city to invest more in community-driven businesses in the creative sector.
Williams is critical of the University of Wollongong’s plan to purchase the Hotel Ibis in the Wollongong CBD.
She said: “There is a rental crisis affecting University of Wollongong students, yet the proposed accommodation will remain out of reach of the majority of students, with average prices around $200 per week.”
Williams has called for more flexible and affordable housing services, including provisions for families and cultural and religious-specific spaces.
Community Voice is also campaigning for better public transport, including an extension of the free bus shuttle service, and socially useful jobs for young people.
For more information on the Community Voice campaign visit the Community Voice website.
You can also follow Community Voice on Facebook and Twitter.
[Chris Williams is a Community Voice candidate.]