President of the Whyalla Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., Mr Ron Hay, said that the outcome of the upcoming Council election, will be interesting due to the fact that Whyalla residents have a number of candidates to consider, with a range of individual qualities in addition to their platform for election, hence the outcome will be very important to our community for a number of reasons.
Mr Hay said, we are all very much aware that Whyalla has now come through the period of uncertainty and our future looks very different, firstly due to the efforts of Arrium Administrators Korda Mentha, who worked through a process to stabilized the business, preparing it for sale and negotiating the sale with GFG Alliance, who are now planning to invest in the ageing plant.
In addition, we also have a number of other major developments through Solar projects, Becker Helicopters relocation to Whyalla, Cultana upgrade, National Disability support organizations establishing in Whyalla, Aged Care redevelopment and more potential projects in the pipeline.
Mr Hay said, a key area of moving forward as a community, will be for those who are elected as Councillors, including the Mayoral position, to work as a coherent team, therefore it is important that we consider the qualities that individuals will bring.
It is understood that all nominees, will have a platform for standing, however it is also important that the bigger picture for Whyalla is also taken into account and that a strategy to move forward, is identified, understood and supported by all, or to look at this in a different way, elected members are there to represent the best interests of all Whyalla residents, said Mr Hay.
For example, if we consider the candidates for the elected members positions, it is important for those who are successful (and possibly new to the role), that they develop an understanding of the role of council within his community, the delivery of fundamental services and our relationship with the other Upper Spencer Gulf cities.
Any election, can be in some instances, a popularity vote, however an objective look at the candidates by voters on what they “can bring to the table”, can potentially lead to a positive outcome for this community.
Mr Hay said, with respect to the Mayoral position, the Chamber will be looking for a number of traits from the successful candidate, with the most important being the representative and statesperson for this community, in addition to a number of leadership qualities across a number of key areas. There is a saying that is sometimes brandished around, that the Mayor in any community is the “No 1 ticket holder”, which indicates they are the face of our community and one of the first points of contact for those looking to do business with us, so this will be a key consideration.
The successful candidate must exhibit a high level of political leadership through positive engagement with Ministers and representatives from all levels of government and their departments, both state and federal, as this will be the key to developing and maintaining appropriate external relationships for this community.
These relationships will need to be a fundamental part of moving this community forward, through having a common focus on our businesses, understanding their capabilities and promoting them for opportunities in a planned and structured way, to potential customers, through working with the Chamber for example, said Mr Hay.
The candidate who is elected to the Mayoral position, will need to provide a high level of leadership and guidance to elected members, so that this community moves forward in a positive way, building the bridges and relationships we need, to create a community that is diverse, sustainable and has longevity.
Mr Hay said that in recent years, we all know that Whyalla was in the spotlight for negative reasons, but we have moved through this and it will be important that those individuals who are elected to represent this community, work positively together, with respect for each other and gain the respect of Governments of the day, their representatives, proponents of new projects and other key organizations, for the work they are doing to build the Whyalla community, into a diverse economy, with longevity and a place people want to come to and live.