Here’s the transcript of my presentation delivered at the Woombye Meet The Candidates hosted by the Woombye Community and Business Association. It’s a good summary of my background and my commitments to Division 5.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen
I’m Charles Hodgson and I’m a candidate for Division 5.
Firstly, a little bit of personal background …
My wife and I moved to the Sunshine Coast HInterland from Sydney, fifteen years ago. We now have two boys, one each in primary and high school.
One of the key reasons I am standing at this election is my kids, and not just my kids, everyone’s kids. I am concerned for their future. What opportunities will they have? Will they be able to secure good jobs here if that’s what they choose? What sort of world will they inherit?
I have a degree in business and have owned multiple small businesses predominately in the areas of Information Technology and more recently news and media.
For over twenty years I was a consultant in information systems, developing, implementing and managing, complex business systems.
So I know how to listen, solve problems, stick to budgets and be accountable.
Ten years ago I moved into news and media, publishing the View News Sunshine Coast social media channels and website.
Over this time, I have produced hundreds of videos on the Sunshine Coast and council, accumulating a wealth of knowledge on the inner workings of council, together with the valuable historical context as to how we got to where we are today.
I know where things can be improved, and the challenges facing the Sunshine Coast.
Our need to deal with the consequences of faster than expected population growth, while maintaining our treasured lifestyle and environment.
The need for greater consultation with local communities and businesses on decisions which directly affect them.
Ensuring equity in divisional funding and that the Sunshine Coast receives the infrastructure and services from state and federal governments in line with the population and in line with their responsibity.
Engaging where possible on important social issues like homelessness, domestic violence, social isolation, and mental illness.
But what am I going to do for you?
For a start I am not going to make a long list of promises.
What I can do however, is help you understand my beliefs and thought processes which I would use to represent the residents of Division 5.
So here’s a quick list.
- I understand that Division 5 and other Hinterland towns have their own character, have different aspirations and priorities than those of coastal communities.
- I believe in the equity of services and facilities delivered by the council. Our parks, libraries, sporting, art and community facilities should be as good, look as good and be maintained as well, as those along the coastal strip.
- I believe in the preservation of greenspace, habitat and wildlife corridors. That there is need for a measured increase in infill development and to use already developed land more wisely and creatively.
- I believe in direct action on climate change. Now, whether you believe in man made climate change or not (for the record I do), regardless, it just makes good sense to do things now to protect the Sunshine Coast’s greatest asset, the environment.
- I believe in greater community consultation. That local communities should have a greater say in decisions that directly affect them. On development happening in their area, in identifying local priorities, in the design of local facilities and services council provides.
- I believe in supporting local and small businesses.
- Increasing the use of local suppliers on council contracts.
- Helping hinterland businesses leverage coastal game changing projects such as the expanded airport and the undersea broadband cable.
- Consulting with business to minimise disruption during times of construction.
- On public transport, I believe in achieving better linkages for hinterland residents to access public transport and to making Division 5 towns more active transport friendly for walkers, bikes and scooters.
- I advocate that council look more aggressively at their program to seal and maintain hinterland roads.
- I would support programs to reduce illegal dumping, like a well designed and targeted voucher system for household cleanup collection.
- I do not agree with the slow creep of political parties into local government. I am a genuine independent. I am not, nor have I ever been, a member or donor, to a political party.
So to wrap up, at the end of this evening, I’d like each of you to ask yourselves;
Who, out of all the candidates, has the best knowledge, skills and experience together with the capacity to articulate and negotiate positive outcomes to benefit Division 5 residents.
I believe I can do that for you.