Bridgetown-Greenbushes council candidates

Jacinta CantatoreManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Bridgetown residents Leigh Carroll, Mike Christensen and Elke Browne have nominated for the by-election.
Camera IconBridgetown residents Leigh Carroll, Mike Christensen and Elke Browne have nominated for the by-election. Credit: Supplied.

The Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire will hold a by-election on August 5 to fill two vacancies on the Shire council.

Bridgetown residents Leigh Carroll, Mike Christensen and Elke Browne have nominated for the by-election.

We asked each candidate three questions about why they deserve your vote.

1. Tell us a little about your background and what made you want to run for Shire council?

2. What are your main priorities for the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire?

3. Why should residents vote for you?

Here are their responses in full:

Leigh Carroll

1.

I have a background in IT in the managing and testing of computer applications. My family and I moved to Bridgetown six years ago and appreciate the welcoming/supportive nature of the community that is on display every day.

I have always been involved in community activities and was an announcer on community radio in Perth for 18 years interviewing a diverse range of individuals from councils and community groups.

I became treasurer for the Blackwood River Community Radio group which is working to establish a local radio service and am also treasurer of the Bridgetown Agricultural Society.

I decided to stand for council after listening to many locals who believe the current councillors are remote and there is a pressing need for fresh ideas.

2.

The current council and executive officers need enthusiastic direction and leadership.

Leigh Carroll
Camera IconLeigh Carroll Credit: Supplied.

My priorities are:

- A detailed plan to upgrade roads and car parks which are badly in need of maintenance.

- Improved attention to upgrading and maintenance of streetscapes and public facilities.

- Additional community workshops with follow-up.

- Additional oversight of expenditure to ensure ratepayers get value for money.

- Ensure conflict of interest issues are open and transparent.

- Ensure council support for community led initiatives, like the community radio project.

3.

Resident of the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire should vote for me because I will bring energy and enthusiasm to a council which seems to be stuck in a rut.

Now retired, I have the time to spend being involved with the community and not be distracted by having to go to work or running a business.

I am truly independent with no political affiliations and bring extensive experience in project, business and financial management.

I give a commitment to representing residents in all aspects of council business including operations, management and most importantly accountability.

I am committed to representing the interests of all Bridgetown and Greenbushes residents, and the 12 smaller localities in the Shire such as Catterick, Hester and Yornup.

Mike Christensen

1.

Born and raised on a farm in Kenya to Danish parents, I was educated and trained there and in South Africa. After managing a fish farm in Kenya, I moved to Europe to work in international aid, working with small-scale farmers in aquaculture and fisheries in a number of countries.

My brother had moved to WA in the late 60s followed by my mother in the 70s. My wife and I joined them in 1996, buying a small farm near Greenbushes and I have worked in aquaculture, community development and landcare since then.

Over the years, I have been asked a number of times if I would nominate for council, but working full-time never left me enough time to do so until recently, when I retired. Now I would like to contribute to the community and the Shire council.

2.

Whether I will be able to make a real difference as a councillor remains to be seen, as I would only be one of a team. I believe the Shire’s main role is to ensure that local services function optimally for the community, be it maintaining roads, supporting local businesses or providing services that attract and keep families in the region.

Mike Christensen
Camera IconMike Christensen Credit: Supplied.

Chats with people and posts on social media have highlighted some of the community’s priorities for me, and I would want to progress some of these. The Shire is already working towards being more water and energy efficient, as well as reducing waste.

All of these are priorities that I would support, as well as using my skills and networks to seek sustainable opportunities to improve the community.

3.

I think the main point of difference is my working style — straightforward and collaborative, I work towards developing a consensus that all involved can support. And that includes the community, so I would strive to keep everyone well informed about the decisions being made and why. I am approachable and will make myself available to discuss local concerns.

Elke Browne PhD

1.

I moved to Bridgetown in 2019, and since then my husband and I have built a home in Bridgetown Gardens, and I have established my practice where I offer homeopathy, counselling and hypnotherapy. Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to serve the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes and Geegeelup Village aged care facility in my long-standing professional capacity as human resources manager, and governance and work, health and safety consultant. Prior to making the tree change from Perth, I served for more than 22-years in various State Government agencies, both in WA and Tasmania where I worked tirelessly for the public in a number of high-level executive positions in emergency management, human resources, training, workforce planning, and my last five years in the advocacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across State Government departments in my capacity as director of the Aboriginal Affairs Coordinating Committee within the WA Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

Elke Browne
Camera IconElke Browne Credit: Supplied.

My passion for the human body, homeopathy and the natural healing ability of the human body and mind led me to study human health sciences, the science of homeopathy and behavioural and humanistic sciences. I was fortunate to use that passion for the human spirit in several of my high-level positions, not least as a teacher of human health sciences at TAFE Tasmania for many years, but also as manager of human resources for the Department of Training and Workforce Development, executive director of the State Emergency Services in Tasmania and First Nation’s people advocate at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, providing a listening ear and an understanding mind to community and the many staff I managed over the years.

I firmly believe in the sovereignty and self-determination of all people, and in a sustainable and cooperative community that provides a balance between sustainable business, residential and industry growth, tourism and the care of our planet, the environment and one another. I also firmly stand for values of honesty, integrity and transparency not only in my own dealings with patients, colleagues, community members, friends and family, but also regarding the advocacy of the Shire council and the provision of services to constituents by the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes.

2.

My main priorities are a transparent and caring Shire council, the establishment and maintenance of communication flow between the community and the Shire council, and the adding of value to the decision making of the council.

I believe in fairness, ethics and equity, and in the right of all community members having a voice. Having said that, however, I strongly adhere to legislative instruments, government rules and regulations, and strategies that serve the community.

If said strategies do not serve the community, however, I am not averse to having a decent and honest conversation and brainstorming with relevant people to ascertain solutions to community or individual constituent issues that can lead to positive and beneficial changes for all. I possess demonstrated communication skills, well developed listening skills and can build effective relationships, both with existing council members, the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes CEO and constituents.

3.

Residents of the Shire should vote for me to represent them on the Shire council as I will bring my extensive experience, my professionalism, strategic acumen and knowledge of government to the workings of the Shire council, to provide leadership and guidance to the council, add value in the decisions of the local government, and facilitate effective communications between the community and the council.

I will promote the very best interest for the whole of the community, pay no favouritism to any individual or group, and will treat all constituents that come to me fairly and equitably at all times.

I will do my very best to serve the community of Bridgetown-Greenbushes with an open mind, dignity and compassion within a spirit of cooperation, and will stand as your advocate in all matters that concern the individual, group or community as a whole.

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