LONE conservative on the new Byron Shire Council, Alan Hunter has warned the new council has to keep it's eye on the ball when it comes to controlling council finances.
Returning mayor Simon Richardson will be joined by fellow Greens Sarah Ndiaye, Michael Lyon and Jeanette Martin, Labor's Paul Spooner and Jan Hackett, Independents Basil Cameron and Cate Coorey and Mr Hunter who were all sworn in today in Mullumbimby.
Mr Hunter, who ran as an independent and maintains close ties with the National party, describes his fellow councillors as, "socialists in one form or another.”
"But we have to realise that the game is bigger than the Labor, Greens/progressive and conservative factions and the job will be to treat each other with respect and do the best job we can for the community.
Mr Hunter dismissed the notion the last council was dysfunctional pointing to the success in ensuring Byron met the state government's "Fit for the Future” criteria thus avoiding amalgamation with nearby councils.
"We obviously have to learn from the past but I am ready to move on because at the end of the day its all about good governance and a lot of people voted for me
First time councillor Cate Coorey was the last of the 8 councillors to learn of her electoral success.
"I am excited to get started on getting proper planning for the shire,” she said. "We need a growth management strategy, a proper rural land strategy and we need to look again at the Coastal Zone Management plan and take account of local bio-diversity.”
Ms Coorey has worked in local government before as media officer for Randwick Council and believes that backing the Byron Council staff will be key.
"We have to let staff do their job, councillors can set a broad direction but we should not micro manage everything, after all the staff are experts in their fields.”
Labor's Paul Spooner agreed it was important council had a secure financial base moving forward and that upgrading the shires deteriorating infrastructure should be a priority.
"Perhaps most importantly we also need to make sure there is a good mix of affordable housing developed,” he said.
"If we can't house people successfully here in the shire on the wages they earn here in the shire then we will have failed.”
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