Who’s Who in the Whipstick Zoo?

Hello all. I’ve decided to do a “who’s who” post about my fellow campaigners in the Whipstick Ward. Why? If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I will be working with 2 of these people: it’s important for me to know their priorities and modus operandi. I have caught up with a number of them and I think we have a very strong group of candidates.

Of course, there are many differences between these candidates, and in the way they campaign. However, there is a large difference between 2 types of candidates. The first group puts out actual ideas that they want to implement. The second group simply alerts their audience to issues or problems and leaves it at that.


These details are gleaned from publicly available sources like Facebook profiles and pages, websites, and news media articles. In no way does it attempt to give a comprehensive and detailed view of their priorities – you will need to go looking yourself for those. They are listed in alphabetical order at the time of publishing, and then extras will be added to the bottom as they put their hand up.

(NB – I did not include “APH Researcher” in this list as there is almost no info available)

Name: Michelle Goldsmith
Byline: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice
Key Priorities: Health care; Infrastructure; Investment and job creation
Party endorsed: Greens
Whipstick resident: Yes
Run before: Yes (Whipstick Ward)
Day job: Registered general and mental health nurse
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave: Yes

Name: Andrea Metcalf
Byline:
Strong Representation
Key Priorities: Community engagement; Supporting local businesses; Waste management.
Party endorsed: No
Whipstick resident: Yes
Run before: Yes (Current councillor)
Day job: Unknown
Facebook Page: NA
Catch up with Dave: Yes

Name: Pauline Murtagh
Byline:
Proud of Bendigo and the people who live here.
Key Priorities:
Community engagement; Sporting and recreational facilities; Dog parks.
Party endorsed:
No
Whipstick resident:
Yes
Run before:
No
Day job:
Community engagement
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave:
Yes

Name: Jan Pagliaro
Byline:
NA
Key Priorities: Investment and job creation; Roads and footpaths; Bendigo Showgrounds
Party endorsed: No
Whipstick resident: Yes
Run before: Yes (Lockwood Ward)
Day job: Aged home-based care officer
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave: No

Name: Malcolm Pethybridge
Byline:
More safer roads and footpaths
Key Priorities: Industrial land; Job creation; Bendigo Showgrounds
Party endorsed: No
Whipstick resident: No
Run before: Yes (Current councillor)
Day job: Retired
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave: Yes

Name: Thomas Prince
Byline:
NA
Key Priorities: Waste management; Coles carpark; Hargreaves Mall
Party endorsed: No
Whipstick resident: Yes
Run before: Yes (Whipstick Ward)
Day job: Food delivery driver
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave: Yes

Name: James Rouel
Byline:
A Fair, Equal, Strong Bendigo for all
Key Priorities: Covid-19 recovery; Major events; Empower the disadvantaged
Party endorsed: No
Whipstick resident: Yes
Run before: No
Day job: Manager, Bendigo Tennis Association
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave: No

Name: Julie Sloan
Byline:
Kindness, Equality, Rationality, Non-Violence.
Key Priorities: Animal friendly policies; Waste management; Protecting Bendigo’s bats
Party endorsed: Animal Justice Party
Whipstick resident: Yes
Run before: No
Day job: Unknown
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave: No

Name: Kathryn Stanislawski
Byline:
Working for Whipstick
Key Priorities: Extend the Bendigo vibe; Engage and Deliver; Sustainability
Party endorsed: No
Whipstick resident: Yes
Run before: No
Day job: Project manager
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave: Yes

Name: Luke Martin
Byline:
NA
Key Priorities: Employment; Community groups; Heritage preservation
Party endorsed: NA
Whipstick resident: Yes
Run before: No
Day job: Secretary, Bendigo Trades Hall Council
Facebook Page
Catch up with Dave: No

Expand youth services at the City of Greater Bendigo

Council needs to expand the range of youth services it offers. Its current resourcing of youth services is completely inadequate.

My latest campaign proposal is to call for an expansion of council’s youth services, in addition to my recent youth employment proposals. I think that the city’s youth services staff do many great things with young people, such as the youth council and the Ambedo magazine. However, I think we should be expanding the City’s services to young people, particular in the area of generalist youth work. Generalist youth work is offered to any young person and does not have a particular focus, rather than those who need a specific service, for example homelessness, mental health or youth justice services.

There is a historical reason why the city does not offer many services. Local councils used to offer a stack of youth services, but then decided to contract these out to specialists. Consequently, many local youth services such as Anglicare and Headspace are focussed on young people with a particular need, such as homelessness, drugs and alcohol misuse, and mental health. These are fantastic, but after contracting these out, most local councils don’t give much funding to their youth teams.

For example, currently the City of Greater Bendigo allocates just $165,000 for wages to the youth team. That equates to about 3 full-time staff, and I am being generous. That is not nearly enough to meet the needs of our young people, who make up about 17% of our population. It’s a pittance. It’s small change. It’s insulting.

Among other proposals, I am calling for:

  1. An expansion of the youth team to enable better engagement with secondary schools.
  2. An outreach team of youth workers co-ordinated by Council to connect with young people where they spent time, such as skate parks, shopping centres, Hargreaves Mall, and public transport centres.
  3. An increased selection of free programs and events, which would be shaped by the preferences of young people.

(Image credit: Photo by kat wilcox from Pexels)

Youth Unemployment in Bendigo

In March 2019, the Brotherhood of St Laurence published a report that showed that the Bendigo region had the highest rate of youth unemployment in Victoria at 18.3 %. Those numbers are only going to rise as the economic consequences of the pandemic hit home.

I have been speaking with businesses that employ young people, and this is a serious issue. In addition, it is a priority of the Bendigo youth council, who named youth employment as a key area of the youth strategy.

There are not only the economic consequences of long-term unemployment of young people, but also the mental health consequences, and the likelihood of more young people leaving Bendigo to look for work.

Exactly how council plays a constructive role is difficult to say: local government does not set employment law, nor does it have the resources to provide financial incentives to employers to take on young people. However, I think there are few things local councils can do:

  1. To ensure existing traineeships and apprenticeships do not fail, council should play a co-ordinating role to ensure TAFE, job agencies, mental health agencies, and employers communicate with each other.
  2. To give young people much needed work experience, council needs to rapidly expand its traineeship program for young people.
  3. To equip businesses who do employ young people, council needs to fund free workshops to businesses that train managers in relating to young people.

(Photo Credit: Noni Hyett)

Community Plans For All Neighbourhoods

When it comes to exciting people about local government, “community plans” are way down the list. They don’t sound very exciting, and they prompt images of endless meetings. Let me try to convince you otherwise.

But first, what is a community plan? Community plans are formed by residents getting together (usually with a facilitator) and deciding on what things they want to work on for their community. Things like art and culture, infrastructure, business development, community connection etc – basically anything that concerns their community. Sometimes there are persistent issues in the neighbourhood that make it into the plan.

The key argument in favour of community plans is that they give residents some control over what happens in their neighbourhood. Often residents feel like they are just the powerless recipients of whatever the council wants to do, or at best the council asks their opinion sometimes. Community plans give an opportunity for us to be involved at a more active level – where we actually make things happen.

Moving from being a recipient to a producer (Source: https://www.nurturedevelopment.org/)

The other reason why community plans are great is this – once your neighbourhood has one, it gives you some authority to go to local government and say, “Look, this is what our community wants. Give us support (personnel and funding) to make this happen”. Of course, that’s always a slow process but if the council knows that this is what the community wants, they are always more likely to back it. Then, keep them accountable to it!

Bendigo council does provide assistance to communities to develop plans, if we ask for it to be done. You just need to show that there is a substantial group of people who want to get it done. However, there is also a problem on the council side. Right now, it is my understanding that although council is keen to help with community plans, it actually has no specific person to do this job. The council to expedite this process and employ someone to fill this role. In addition, there needs to be at least one council officer whose role is dedicated to regularly touching base with communities about their plans.

If you’re passionate about your neighbourhood, then phone council and request help to develop a plan – ask for the “Strong Communities” team. If want to check whether your community has a plan, then go to the Bendigo Council website and search for “community plan your neighbourhood” and see if one pops up.

Right now, two of the largest neighbourhoods in the Whipstick Ward lack a community plan – Long Gully and White Hills/Epsom. If council is serious about taking residents’ ideas seriously then this is a huge gap.