On Monday the Young Witness published a list of questions for candidates that came from locals.
Patrick FitzGerald has sent through his response:
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to these questions. I am not an expert on all areas of community life and thus my answers are my partially informed opinions, although if I am elected I will be a good listener to the community and an avenue to consult experts in their field to achieve the best outcomes for Hilltops.
1. I am not affiliated with any political party although I have been involved with the Hilltops Solutions Group.
2. Regional communities have often not been as well served with the necessary services in the area of health. Having to travel away from the region to access specialist services is not the optimum situation. Hilltops needs a range of medical practitioners. Recently there have been reductions in the available experts with retirements and others moving away. We need people with skills in areas like maternity and mental health to be easily available.
3. I see the role of councilor as a voice of the local community in pressing the wishes and needs of Hilltops to the state and federal authorities and elsewhere if appropriate. I would bring to the attention of the relevant bodies those problems and issues that need to be addressed with action or financial support.
4. It is important for the Council to be as fully informed on all issues effecting the community. At times the council focus can be on the day to day things and general management when a broader consideration of the needs of the community would be beneficial. One of the vital roles of council is to provide the structures that assist in developing a liveable social environment.
5. Climate change is an issue the council is not addressing with the importance it deserves. I believe in thinking globally but acting locally. Everyone of us can make a difference. Investigating effective practices to be applied here to help our region be more effective in minimizing the effects of climate change at a local level is my priority.
6. There is a growing need for more housing in regional areas and this includes Hilltops. I am not fully aware of the situation but a number of people have expressed the opinion that there is a need for more rental accommodation and more new housing for purchase. The Hilltops region is growing and the council needs to be responsive to changes in need as they arise.
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