Candidates questioned

Thursday, 6th September, 2012

Darriea Turley Darriea Turley

In the lead-up to Saturday's Council elections, the BDT is running interviews with the city's mayoral candidates over the next few days.

The questions cover a range of topics and have been answered by Mayor Wincen Cuy, and councillors Darriea Turley and John Groenendijk.

Today we feature Darriea Turley.

Q. What will you do with our film studios? Do you support the project?

A: The Film Studio and Business Precinct was a derelict building that has been brought back to life and will provide Broken Hill with numerous opportunities in creative industries not just limited to the film industry.

We all know that the Film Studio was never going to depend on one feature film but needs to attract documentaries, commercials, and stills.

This has always been made clear to Council and the community as we were advised during the extensive consultation period that a major film would only happen once in 20 years.

I am pleased that there is growing interest in the film industry and we have to have a long term vision to reap the reward for our community and await the results from Council recent Expression of Interest for opportunities to develop this site.

Q. Why do you support Council contributing to the haul road when Perilya will be the main users and, according to the consultant, it would be at least a decade before a full ring road is ready?

A: This is part one of a larger project to construct a ring road around the city with the intention of diverting the very large volume of heavy trucks which travel through our city streets every day and night. We must think longer-term than just one council term (as with the film studio whose payoff period extends much further than just one feature film happening over two years).

It is true that this section of the ring road when completed will not encourage use by a large number of trucks travelling interstate because
it would not save them much time or distance. However it will be of immediate benefit not only to Perilya but also to any other mining companies who may wish to transport ore from north to south of the city in the future.

When a ring road linking the Sydney Road to the Barrier Highway going south is constructed our residents and city streets will be saved the
noise, inconvenience and road damage from the scores of trucks which travel through each day, only a tiny fraction of which stop and spend
money with local businesses.

Under the current plan, the ring road will meet the highway before the new roadhouse so local business will have a better opportunity to benefit from the through-traffic than it does at present. Council needs to lobby the state member for the state government to contribute to the ring road. If the state government does not contribute then this project will not progress and council will not action the loan.

Q. Are you worried about the ongoing costs of the haul road? How much is it estimated this will cost Council?

A: Without the funding from the state government to contribute to the ring road this project will not progress.

However, I remain concerned at the cost to our community with heavy trucks travelling through our streets and damaging road surfaces and
roundabouts and posing a risk to other traffic.

Q:. Do you think CCTV is still effective if not monitored 24/7?

A: I am committed to undertake a study regarding the benefits, limitations and costs of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) however initial evidence shows CCTV are a deterrent for crime and a useful tool to apprehend those responsible for antisocial behaviour.

Q: How much funding do you think should be put aside in the next budget for our local roads? Can we lobby the state for more?

A: We have given a commitment that we would make roads and footpaths a high priority. As a Council, we should be setting strategic direction
and outlining a plan of management for our roads and footpaths to ensure that they are at an acceptable and safe standard for our community.

In recent years a number of studies have highlighted concerns about the condition of local government infrastructure and its impact on local communities.

Broken Hill is no exception. Broken Hill, like all councils in Australia, is challenged to maintain and develop new infrastructure.

Since 2000, Council has delivered major infrastructure such as the Regional Aquatic Centre, Regional Art Gallery and Airport developments. I am very proud of our recent achievements and it is time now that we focus on investing in our roads and footpaths. We will look at all avenues to secure funding to implement a roads renewal and footpaths upgrade program for Broken Hill.

This will be one of the largest capital works renewal programs for Broken Hill and it will have to be a long term strategy. It is not going to be fixed overnight and the community needs to understand, in clear layman's terms, when their roads or footpaths are going to be repaired.

Investing in our footpaths and roads will have clear environmental and social benefits for our community.

Q: Do you support selling Shorty O'Neil, and do you think the high care beds at Shorty O'Neil are working at the moment? Should Council play a role in high level aged care?

A: I need to reassure the residents and staff that there is no plan to sell this facility but we need to make it safe for everyone. I have been advocating for an Aged Care Strategy for Broken Hill. There is no long term plan to identify our aged care needs particularly for those with
high care needs. And I believe Council can be a catalyst in developing this plan in collaboration with current service providers.

Q: How do you propose to fix the social problems in our community, i.e., vandalism, anti-social behaviour, violence and binge drinking?

A: Our team and I are committed to make Broken Hill a safe and secure community for its citizens and having a Local Government Crime Prevention Plan is a way forward. The plan should include strategies around prevention of alcohol related malicious property damage, a study regarding the benefits, limitations and costs of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), and youth crime prevention strategies which aim to promote increased participation in positive activities, the whole process to be undertaken in partnership with the local Police force with the aim of completing a comprehensive Community Safety Audit.

You cannot achieve this change without talking to the many agencies that are already working in these areas.

Q:. Do you intend on increasing Council rates above the cap?

A: No.

Q: Do you support the 5-year debt reduction plan or should something be done more quickly?

A: Let's be clear, forget all the pre-election propaganda. Council's debt is manageable. It's not a quick fix but keeping to a longer-term plan of disciplined saving will mean we won't risk losses of jobs and services.

Q: How will you continue to lobby for the NBN?

A: I remain an advocate for the National Broadband Network. I have had an active role in preparation for submissions to Ministers and in the development of the Far West and Broken Hill's Digital Economy Strategy. I share the community's disappointment that we are not on the current roll out schedule but we can't accept the current situation. Next steps are to continue our lobbying and to go to local businesses and institutions that will benefit from high speed broadband and enlist their support, assist the community to embrace the full potential of NBN, continue to implement the Far West and Broken Hill Digital Economy Strategy and continue to lobby relevant Ministers presenting our readiness for NBN.

Q: Why will you be a better mayor than the other candidates?

A: I will bring a new leadership approach for our community. We are in for tough times and if Council stays divided we will not survive the
challenges ahead.

I have over 17 years in local government having chaired state and national organisations and represented Australia at the United Nations.

I have the experience, energy and commitment to build a better future for Broken Hill.

My style is inclusive; I want to invest in my fellow Councillors to develop a team rather than an opposition. I focus on problem solving and decision making. I want real outcomes for our community. I am not afraid of the tough decisions but I don't need to have a public battle; that
is not my style.

I have a proven track record in bringing organisations, business and the community together. I work hard for my community and I'm not afraid to roll up my sleeves to get the job done.

I invest in relationships to achieve outcomes and have an incredible network that I don't hesitate to call on to advance Broken Hill.

It is time for change. It is time for Broken Hill to vote for new leadership because our community deserves better.

Q: Will you support closing the library on Sunday for a saving of only $15,000 a year?

A: I deferred the closure of the library on Sunday in order to consult with our Sunday Library users. Clearly there is a wish in the community to keep the library open and I am happy to support this.