28 January, 2024
Former councillor to have another go
A FORMER Tablelands Regional councillor will be stepping up at the March local government election to get her job back.
Samantha Banks says she intends to nominate for Division 4 for TRC, a position she held after winning the division in 2016.
A woman in her 50s, wife, mother, bookkeeper, small business owner and chronic volunteer, Ms Banks says she has set her eyes on the “ultimate committee to help the community of the Tablelands to find and keep the sparkle”.
Liveability with relation to open spaces, footpaths, and road conditions are high priorities for her.
“Does the council spaces and buildings suit current and future needs? Should some be retired to make way for something different? This is a conversation that needs to happen with all of the community,” Ms Banks said.
“As a member of the Regional Arts Development Fund, I also see the softer side of our infrastructure needs. The hard infrastructure is what we need to support what makes living here worthwhile.”
She said apart from council's legislated responsibilities which included town planning, roads, water and sewerage, animal control and building approvals, it had many other roles and responsibilities that “many champion for or strongly disagree with”.
“For me, I am interested in everything because much of it touches us in many ways. The youth, aged care, the disability sector and sustaining our environment and natural assets are some of my personal interests,” Ms Banks said.
“Ensuring we have a strong and thriving economy gives business and employment opportunities. If we don't have families living and working here, the region will decline and certainly not sparkle.
“There is a call for change in our local government leadership. We went from quite a radical change under the Paronella Council (2016) with two councillors in their 30's and predominantly female to an older male, conservative group with a limited understanding of the changing expectations of the community.
“Since the advent of the pandemic, there has been a change in the demographics however, the council doesn't reflect this. We need diverse and passionate representation that reflects our community.”
"This election, I am approaching it with five principles – money, people, planet, ethics and equity. Decision-making with consideration to what is right, what is good and what is fitting.
“There are many hard decisions that need to be made, all being made as informed as possible for the good of the whole region.”