GRANT District Council central ward candidates reveal their vision and reasons for standing in upcoming council elections.
Among the field are eight new faces and three incumbent councillors are vying for a position in the rural council.
INCUMBENT elected member Julie Reis says she is passionate about health and education and is keen to enhance the district’s social and economic framework.
“People are the most important resource of any community. They should be invited and encouraged to contribute to not only identifying but also providing solutions to local issues,” Ms Reis said.
“I am still keen to listen to, serve and promote the issues the community identifies.”
“I am a registered nurse and work as a lecturer in Nursing at UniSA Mount Gambier Campus. My PhD in rural sociology (food and agriculture) is reflective of my interests in the growth and development of rural areas and the agricultural industries and businesses that underpin them.”
Ms Reis believes the strength of any community is its residents.
“For me it is their skills and knowledge that are the resources that provide employment, business, public service, culture and tourism – the fundamental factors that maintain the economic, social and environmental health of a community,” said.
She said the Grant district had a diverse mix of all these, underpinned by agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.
“I am re-nominating for council as I believe strong, healthy and sustainable communities are critical for quality of life,” Ms Reis said.
“As a councillor for DC Grant, I have represented council on government and community committees relating to health, training and education.
“I have been a member and presiding member of the Mount Gambier and District Health Advisory Committee and the council representative on the Mount Gambier Council Lifelong Learning Committee.”
Other community involvement include being the local government representative on the Group Training Employment (GTE) board and has been recently elected as chair.
“I am proud to be an inaugural member of the newly established Mount Gambier Youth Opportunities committee.”
CANDIDATE Brad Mann says he is standing for election to have the chance to shape the future of communities in the Grant district.
“I have been an optometrist for 30 years and moved to Mount Gambier 26 years ago to stay for six months,” Mr Mann said.
Life changed when he met his partner of 25 years and settled into the country lifestyle.
“I love the freedom of living in the South East and the benefits it brings, such as easy access to a range of activities that you’d never get a chance to do in the city,” Mr Mann said.
A part-time farmer, Mr Mann spends his spare time involved in anything to do with the ocean.
“I spend a lot of the summer at Rivoli Bay and Port MacDonnell sailing 16 foot catamarans and the rest of the time surfing.”
He is also a sailing instructor and the Rivoli Bay Sailing Club commodore, training local kids how to sail small boats.
“Some of our kids have become true sailors, something you only learn when you start at a young age and it’s great to see them progress in their boat handling abilities,” Mr Mann said.
Explaining he was a financially prudent individual, he said managing ratepayers’ dollars was a high priority issue.
“I would like to see ensure levels of efficiencies, co-ordinated processes, create cost savings and investment opportunities,” Mr Mann said.
He also has a keen interest in the environment and energy saving strategies for households.
“Community involvement and transparency in governance are essential in understanding local issues” Mr Mann said.
“It is my hope to be representative of Grant District Council to build a strong future we can all be proud of.”
RESIDENT Des Scheidl has pledged to work towards driving development across the Grant district.
Mr Scheidl completed high school at Grant High and then an apprenticeship as a heavy vehicle mechanic.
In 1987, Des joined the Australian Regular Army where he served for 32 years and during that time he was deployed twice to East Timor and twice to Afghanistan.
Mr Scheidl holds both a masters in management and a Bachelor of Arts and has extensive experience in management and held various positions on a range of committees.
He recently purchased a property at Compton and has an adult daughter.
Mr Scheidl said he was keen to get involved in the development and future of the South East by becoming a member of the Grant District Council.
Mr Scheidl works at TAFE SA and is a member of the Mount Gambier Community RSL and Rotary West Mount Gambier.
If elected, Mr Scheidl said he would strive to ensure council decisions reflected the community’s needs.
The candidate has a particular interest in access and costs for waste management facilities and increasing the profile of the South East to encourage both national and international tourism.
Moreover, he said council also needed to encourage industry development and employment, but in designated industry zones.
GRANT district resident Robert Elliott will be among the new contenders vying for a position on Grant District Council.
Mr Elliott recently returned to the area to live after 25 years living interstate and overseas.
“Returning to the area was a deliberate decision and is in recognition of the many opportunities and features that I see the area offers local residents,” the council candidate said.
“Having started my career in the region’s timber industry and enjoyed a long sporting career with local clubs, I am keen to see the region continue to develop sustainable businesses, tourism and community infrastructure in a competent and cost-effective way.”
A fitter by trade, Mr Elliott now works in the offshore oil and gas industry.
“I offer strong project management, construction, maintenance and budgeting skills. It would be my pleasure to contribute to the betterment of council initiatives,” he said.
COUNCIL candidate Jody Elliott says it would be her pleasure to serve the community.
With more than 20 years in management roles in the banking, manufacturing and resource sectors, together with qualifications in human resources and public relations, Ms Elliott has returned to live in the region after 25 years living interstate and overseas.
“As my chosen home, I am keen to contribute my experience in managing budgets and developing strategy and initiatives, to the ongoing development of the region and local community,” Ms Elliott said.
“Of particular focus is providing sustainable infrastructure for business and pleasure – this includes the Mount Gambier Airport, saleyards and Port MacDonnell foreshore development.
“Currently working as a careers counsellor at Tenison Woods College, I have a personal interest in the development of youth and am keen to develop programs to support this demographic.”
GRANT district resident Tony Burch has pledged to focus on prudent financial management and champion the interests of smaller communities if elected.
“Grant is not one community, but about 30 very diverse ones, with unique concepts of their preferred lifestyle,” Mr Burch said.
Millions of dollars go towards the important Grant big three businesses – the saleyards, airport and port.
“I am concerned that many of our communities may be left behind. Grant scores very poorly on a government index measuring the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged and Grant is much worse than most other state council areas,” Mr Burch said.
“The ongoing saga of the loss-making saleyards does not help with the last three financial years making operational losses and six losses out of the last eight years, even though the saleyards has borrowed $2.2m and still owes $1.5m.”
Mr Burch said council had spent a “truly massive $5.1m” and more millions on saleyards infrastructure.
“That is nearly $900 spent for every rateable property in the district. Several years of blue-sky optimistic saleyard budgets that fail by big margins and it’s high time a new council begins to demand better outcomes for the money being spent,” he said.
“I have a strong business and strategic development background which could be useful to council and I will champion the needs of the small communities.”
DAIRY farmer Byron Gilmore is hoping to bring an agriculture focus to the Grant District Council chamber.
“I have lived in this district all my life and I have always had an interest in local government, so decided to nominate, hoping I can help to influence important decisions and concerns that affect the local community,” Mr Gilmore said.
“For the past 46 years I have been involved in running my own business in dairy and beef farming. Some of the period, whilst running my dairy farm, I employed staff.”
He said this helped him to understand the “employee, employer perspective”.
“I feel we should encourage as much primary industry and development that we can in the district with as little red tape as possible,” council candidate said.
“We have many great assets in the Grant district, some being, a great place to live and work and raise your family, good soil, rainfall and underground water. These assets should always be considered when making plans for future development.”
Mr Gilmore is also interested in fishing – both professional and amateur – as well as forestry, road maintenance, airport improvements, rubbish disposal, the saleyards and playgrounds.
“I look forward to representing you on council, establishing priorities and making decisions with fellow councillors on how resources should be allocated to services, policies and projects,” he said.
Incumbent elected member Bruce Bain will seek his fourth term in local government.
Recently receiving a 15-year local government award, Mr Bain is hoping his experience and vision will see him returned to the Grant District Council chamber.
With more than 35 years experience in the dairy industry, Mr Bain has brought his agricultural experience to the council table.
Not only has he been a member of the Glenburnie Saleyards committee, he has also sat on the Mount Gambier Airport advisory body.
Mr Bain has also been a member of council’s Development Assessment Panel.
Vowing to continue to focus on improving council infrastructure, he said the Port MacDonnell Community Complex was a great example of a vibrant community hub.
Mr Bain also foreshadowed the need to continue to focus on the Glenburnie Saleyards and fully supported the multi-million-dollar Mount Gambier Airport expansion.
YAHL resident Kylie Boston will be a contender for Grant District Council’s central ward, pledging to be a impartial voice in the chamber.
“I’m a resident of Yahl, married to Garry, with two children Sophie, 15 and Will, 13,” Ms Boston said.
“I have lived and worked in this region for the past 20 years and enjoy being part of this great community.”
Ms Boston works for DairySA as an extension officer and also runs her own business in project management supporting our local agriculture industries.
“I believe agriculture, forestry and fishery underpins the vitality of our region so it’s essential to maintain the sustainability of these industries and to continue to promote the success of our region,” the council candidate said.
“I am also passionate about genuine communities and making the best of what we have for ourselves and our children.”
Ms Boston has served on committees with Yahl Primary School, Mount Schank Tennis Club, Yahl Hall Progress Committee, Tonique Studio and South Gambier Netball Club.
The Yahl resident was a member of the Lower South East NRM group for eight years.
“This year I proudly won District Council of Grant’s Australia Day Citizen of the Year award, and I look forward to the opportunity to represent you to achieve the best for our community,” Ms Boston said.
GRANT district resident and council candidate Megan Dukalskis says she wants to strive to build a strong financial future for residents.
“I have lived in Grant District Council for the majority of my life. Our council is arguably one of the most fortunate regions in the country,” Ms Dukalskis said.
If elected, she said she would strive to ensure council helped to build a strong financial future for our community and families going forward.
“We need to make our small communities feel very much a part of something bigger while sustaining our valuable environmental resources,” Ms Dukalskis said.
“I support the extension of the Mount Gambier Airport to bring more business and tourism into our local community to make our region prosper and the upgrade of our saleyards to be competitive with our interstate rivals among.”
Ms Dukalskis resides in OB Flat and is married with three children, who enjoy family farming.
She is a Fellow Institute of Chartered Accountants, chartered tax adviser and holds a Bachelors of Business and Education.
Ms Dukalskis has also been involved in numerous sporting clubs in the region and is a ;ife member of the Mount Gambier District Little Athletics Club.
KONGORONG farmer and incumbent elected member Barry Kuhl has vowed to continue to represent the grassroots community if he is re-elected to the role.
“I am a strong community minded person committed to working with other councillors to make Grant council as good as it can be,” Mr Kuhl said.
“I feel privileged to have served two terms on council while on council I have served on the saleyards committee, development assessment panel, planning and development committee and represented council at progress association meetings.”
He said he was excited to continue to work towards improvements at Mount Gambier airport and the saleyards.
“I would always be available to listen to people’s concerns and try to provide solutions,” Mr Kuhl said.
“I look forward to continuing to represent everyone who lives in the District Council of Grant.”
Mr Kuhl has grown up at Kongorong working and running his family farm.
“Over the years I have been heavily involved in the Kongorong Sportsmen’s Club having been president, secretary and committee person over the years. I have also been a member of the Kongorong CFS since 1983 becoming the administration officer in 1995 and a lieutenant in 1996,” he said.
Re-elected unopposed for Port MacDonnell Ward.
Re-elected unopposed for Tarpeena Ward.