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SSC Newspaper : November 2010
By Bernadette Chua Helen McLucas believes her election to Strathfield Council in the recent by- election represents a “changing of the guard” at the local authority. The mother of three who was elected on a strong community platform will certainly be a breath of fresh air to a council chamber which was rocked by the departure of former councillor Danny Lim and has weathered criticism over the way that Cr Tony Maroun was elected to a second term as Mayor. But Cr McLucas, 53, who has lived in the municipality for 12 years, is eager to emphasise that she believes her own political background is irrelevant. She wants to bring peace and unity to the council and says her political agenda revolves purely around local issues. “I think I’ll bring unity to council and I don’t think there will be a big issue with anyone. I think it will settle down so we can focus back on community issues,” she told the Scene in her first major interview since sweeping to power with 6,364 votes. When asked about the recent deals that secured the mayoral role for Cr Maroun, McLucas says she believes such problems can be avoided through the use secret ballots. When it comes to the internal structure of council, Cr McLucas is not shy about voicing her opinions about the recent deals made for the mayoralty. “I think we have to get back to the best person for the job. Obviously I am concerned about community engagement issues but my point is about making long-term changes and sustainable developments,” she says. “I think a secret ballot would help prevent issues that happened in the last council meeting. It’s important for moral and ethical issues, like euthanasia, to allow the councillors to express their say without criticism or judgement.” When it comes to working with her fellow councillors, Cr McLucas says that having followed the operation of Strathfield Council for some time she has a firm grasp on how the council works and is eager to get down to business. “Residents are tired of hearing about internal struggles in our council, the councillors are tired and I think I can make a difference in that capacity,” she says. “I don’t think I’ll have a problem with any of the councillors because I know all of them through various community lobbying groups and street issues. I’ve known them all for a while and I feel pleased to be able to work with them. It’s a reciprocal relationship.” During her four-week door knocking campaign for the by-election, Cr McLucas identified a number of pressing local issues, including traffic and the lack of street parking, which she believes are important to the residents of Strathfield. “I received a lot of feedback from the community while I was on my campaign,” she says. “Generally the residents are happy with Strathfield but there are several issues that kept arising such as the parking issue and the traffic flow around the plaza area.” After witnessing an accident firsthand on Barker Road, where she lives, Cr McLucas is adamant that council should do something to urgently address the problem of pedestrian safety on the streets of Strathfield. “Simple things like pedestrian safety has to be improved,” she says. “I saw an elderly woman standing on a median strip on Barker Road and she was knocked down by a passing car. A bus then had to mount the side path to pass her. Things like that should not be happening.” Cr McLucas believes that her day-to-day job as a Community Engagement Officer dovetails perfectly with her new responsibilities as a local councillor in Strathfield. The newest member of Strathfield Council admits that she originally did not have faith in her own campaign but now believes that she knows what the residents want and will be able to deliver on her campaign promises. “My plan for Strathfield is to build local businesses, focus on traffic and parking, and if people want to stay local, that’s where the issues are.” Strathfield Scene 7 “Residents are tired of hearing about internal struggles in our council, the councillors are tired and I think I can make a difference in that capacity,” – Helen McLucas, newly elected councillor. council news www.ourstrathfield.com.au McLucas promises sweeping changes Help us ReCognise ouR unsung HeRoes Weat Strathfield Council know that there are many unsung heroes in our local area – those everyday Australians that go the extra mile. In an effort to recognise these people, every year Strathfield Council holds its Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year Awards. Council is now calling for nominations for the 2011 Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year Awards for local citizens or groups who have made outstanding contributions to the community. Young Citizen of the Year is open to nominees aged 16 to 25. All other nominees, including those nominated for Young Citizen, will then be considered for the Citizen of the Year Award. Nominees will be judged on a number of criteria, including whether contribution was outstanding, voluntary, beneficial to the community and/or involved significant personal effort. If you know someone such as a coach, teacher or the next door neighbour who does volunteer work and has made a significant contribution to the Strathfield community, nominate them by completing the official nomination form available at www.strathfield.nsw.gov.au or at the Council’s Customer Ser vice Centre. Nominations close at 5pm on December 10, 2010. The winners and nominees will be announced and acknowledged at Australia Day Celebrations at Strathfield Park. By Tony Maroun, Mayor Talk To STraThfield aT By the Mayor of Strathfield, Tony Maroun. Result of Election An election was held to elect ONE Councillor. I declare McLUCAS, Helen elected as Councillor until the next ordinary election of the Council in 2012. Detailed results are available from the NSW Electoral Commission website. John Neely, Returning Officer, 27 October 2010 Information: www.elections.nsw.gov.au or 1300 135 736 For enquiries in languages other than English call our interpreting service 13 14 50. Hearing or speech impaired? Call us via the National Relay Service 133 677 stRathfiEld council by-ElEction hEld satuRday, 23 octobER 2010
Strathfield Scene December