Candidates call for change

76178_02 Jennie Barrera.

By Alesha Capone

A mammoth 86 candidates are standing in the Wyndham council election, which will be held via a postal vote this month.

Thirty-eight nominees are running in the Harrison ward, 25 nominees in the Chaffey ward and 23 nominees in the Iramoo ward.

Harrison and Chaffey each have four councillor spots to be filled, while Iramoo has three councillor positions.

In the Harrison ward, present Wyndham councillor Aaron An is hoping to be re-elected.

Former councillor Adele Hegedich is also standing, along with community advocates Arnav Sati, Eli Muse and Susan McIntyre.

Ms McIntyre said: “We need a more back to basics community-led approach to decision making leading to a stronger, more connected and resilient community. Infrastructure needs to happen before more residential housing and a fairer division of council funding to faster-growing areas.

“More work from home or close to home work options will mean that people are not spending hours per day commuting with all the negative aspects as a result. “We should be moving more towards a 20 minute neighbourhood model where we can live, work and play locally.”

President of the non-profit Asian Business Association of Wyndham, Larry Zhao, will be an additional name on the ballot paper under Harrison ward.

Mr Zhao said that if he is elected, he will work towards advocating for eight policies including building a safe community, combating unfair rate rises, providing local jobs and opposing inappropriate development.

“Given all the difficulties we have been experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the next few years will be critical in planning and implementing a 2040 vision for our community,“ Mr Zhao said.

Another Harrison nominee, Sayeed Aslam, said he believed there were 11 main issues facing Wyndham including empowering not-for-profit organisations to work in the community; reduced council rates; family violence; and a need for multi-level carparks at Williams Landing and Tarneit stations.

In the Chaffey ward, present councillors Josh Gilligan and Walter Villagonzalo are standing for re-election.

Wyndham Community and Education Centre chief executive Jennie Barrera has nominated as well, along with local advocate Arnav Sati; volunteers Kapil Thakkar and Rishi Prabhakar; former councillor Marcel Mahfoud; and the Liberal Party’s Preet Singh.

Within Iramoo, councillors Mia Shaw, Peter Maynard, John Gibbons and Heather Marcus are all contesting the election.

Local volunteer Lisa Field – who is co-ordinator of the Werribee River Association, a Werribee River Association board member and Werribee Business & Tourism Association member – is also standing in Iramoo.

Another Iramoo candidate is Amandeep Kaur, who said that she thinks domestic violence “is a critical issue” in the Wyndham area.

“I think the council needs to dedicate a specialised section to address this concern,” she said.

Ms Kaur also said that the council needs to improve the quality of Werribee South beach, which has the potential for many activities.