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Meet Kerry Cassells, Lucas Swan and Glen Crump – Group G in the upcoming MPSC local election

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Kerry Cassells

Kerry Cassells is 60 years of age and married to Peter Noble. They have four adult children: Dane, Rua, Alex, and Petrina Rebel. Kerry is a Justice Health clinical nurse specialist at the Moree Police Cells and has held this position for nearly 18 years, attending to and overseeing the health of inmates or patients in Corrective Services care. She lives in East Moree and has been a resident for 55 years.

Have you had any previous roles, either as an employee or volunteer in local, state or federal government?

I worked for Moree Council in 1990-1991 with Home and Community Care service that looked after frail-aged and people with disabilities.

What are the main reasons that made you want to stand for council?

I felt strongly that after 20 years of volunteering with rugby union at local, Central North Juniors and NSW Country Juniors level that it was time to give my all to improving what I can, and, listening to the concerns of my local community including the residents from different cultures and backgrounds and those of the surrounding villages.

Is this the first time you have stood for council?

Yes.

Are you standing alone?

KerryCassells

Kerry Cassells (Image supplied)

I am running with Glen Crump and Lucas Swan.

What do you love most about Moree Plains Shire?

Moree has a very unique and rich history, as do the people of this very diverse community. The surrounding villages have their own uniqueness and we need to harness those special qualities.

What do you think the main issues are in Moree that need addressing?

The safety and security of all residents in Moree Plains Shire is a priority. We need to have much better lighting in streets in East Moree, especially. You have to put your headlights on high beam in Anne, Adelaide and Boston Streets to see properly at night. This can be very dangerous for pedestrians when you can’t see them.

We need inclusiveness and not exclusion for all residents of our town and villages. We have many different cultures in our area that don’t feel part of our wonderful shire.

We also need to increase CCTV coverage of all known crime hot spots in the shire and consider bringing back Neighbourhood Watch and Safe Houses for Moree and it villages to reduce crime and to have a safe haven for children, many of which are too afraid to go home. We need to work with the appropriate crime prevention organisations to make everyone feel safe.

There also needs to be more ramps and accessibility for people with disabilities in all council buildings, in particular at the PCYC where many of the elderly had difficulty getting up the gutters during election times and other events held there.

We also need to look more closely at the areas of flooding in Moree and shire villages to alleviate the consequences, mainly road damage and water issues and the reduced access to town during those crucial times.

There should be an increase in the number of rangers working within the shire, mainly in Moree, due to the large amount of dogs roaming the streets at night. Dog registrations and de-sexing should be made more affordable and we should look at getting a mobile vet hospital come to the shire to spay dogs and cats.

I honestly believe that we should demolish dangerous houses and buildings that also eyesores in a timely manner and encourage big businesses to come to town. This will go a long way in cutting unemployment in the shire. Unemployment is the biggest issue where people are left idle and more likely to commit crimes and get into drug addiction. ICE is the scourge of this community and needs to be wiped out. Even if people are encouraged to do volunteer work it gives them a sense of belonging, self-esteem and self-worth.

The Gateway needs to be made more affordable for all interested investors. It doesn’t have to be just the big organisations.

I feel that the entrances in to Moree and its villages need to be more attractive. We need to get the relevant communities involved and have signage that represents Moree and shire villages.

Last but not least, council meetings times should be changed so that, if elected, councillors that work full time can attend all meetings. An ideal timeframe is 6pm-8pm.

Do you think the current council is aiming in the right direction?

I think there is always room for improvement on any or all of the issues they are called on to act upon.

How can the current council improve on what it is doing at the moment? Is money being spent on the right projects?

As previously mentioned, there is always room for improvement on the projects that are presented before them, but there should always be consultations with community on any project that will impact them.

Has the current council let down the people of Moree? If so how?

I think Council act according to the information they have at hand.

If people don’t make complaints or let council know of their issues, it’s hard to act on them.

What are your pastimes, hobbies or passions?

My main pastimes are spending time with my family. Family values, quality time and encouragement in everything they do are the most important things to me and my husband. Our children and grandchildren are everything to us. They are all happy, very healthy and make us proud every day.

My hobbies are singing, acting, reading, watching my favourite shows like Coronation Street, Eastenders, Game of Thrones, Law and Order SVU and everything Agatha Christie.

My passion is educating the community on the evils of drugs . . . on the user, families and the community as a whole.

Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn’t been covered in this questionnaire?

I love Moree.  It’s the best small town in Australia. If we all work together, try to understand each other’s differences and discover our similarities, it will be a better place for all of us. Smile at everyone. Talk to the people that you want to know more about. Be open with your feelings. Don’t be scared of the things you don’t understand. Ask questions.

Lucas Swan

Lucas Swan is 32 years of age and in a relationship with partner, Kathleen. There are no kids at this stage, apart from a “large, child-like surrogate dog named Duke”.

Lucas is a self-employed solicitor and has just set up his own office in Moree. He is Moree born-and-bred and recalls spending his infancy growing up in Birrawee Place. His family later relocated to Adelaide Street, Boland Drive and now Kamilaroi Drive.

“My parents, Trevor and Debbie, are Moree people through and through,” Lucas said.

Lucas says the town, suburbs and streets of Moree have certainly changed during his lifetime.

“I often find it difficult to reconcile that there was a time when people of all walks, race and social status could live in a place like Birrawee Place, an area of town which the community only now associates with the less fortunate, crime and dilapidated houses,” he said.

Lucas left Moree at the age of 15 to undertake further education in Sydney at St Joseph’s College, and then remained in Sydney to complete tertiary studies at the University of Sydney.

Following University, he remained in Sydney for several years working for some of NSW’s more notable law firms.

In 2012 Lucas left Sydney and travelled to Perth where he furthered his practice in the law. Due to family circumstances he returned to Moree in September last year, first working as a solicitor with the Aboriginal Legal Service before establishing his own practice earlier this year.

Have you had any previous roles, either as an employee or volunteer in local, state or federal government?

I’ve not held any employment with any form of government however I have been a part of working groups designed to provide input to the State Government and select committees on specific law reforms. Some aspects of working groups which I’ve actively been involved include the NSW Workers’ Compensation and Motor Accident Compensation reform as well as working group submissions to the WA Government, identifying issues to proposed changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

I have been a part of legal teams involved in advancing key questions of law to both the High Court of Australia and the NSW Supreme Court, Court of Appeal. The decisions I’ve been involved in have had a direct impact on the people of not just NSW but all of Australia.

In addition to the above examples I have also been an active member in Young Lawyer committees which are designed to discuss and make recommendations on key issues of law.

What are the main reasons that made you want to stand for council?

I have a strong connect with members of the community, both through my social and professional interactions. It is apparent from my discussions with community members that they feel that the current council is failing them.

I firmly believe that the experiences I’ve encountered while living away from Moree, especially while living and working within remote communities in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, has provided me with the ability and knowledge needed to help address the issues of the people of the Moree Shire.

Is this the first time you have stood for council?

LucasSwan

Lucas Swan (Image supplied)

Yes.

Are you standing alone or with a running mate(s)?

I am running as a member of a group which includes Kerry Cassells and Glen Crump. I’m sure most people will know Kerry from her staunch advocacy in addressing the current drug and social problems currently affecting the Moree Shire. Glen, too, is a passionate community member who believes that our citizens are being denied opportunities. I believe that both Kerry and Glen have the capacity and desire to advance the shire to the benefit of all its citizens.

What do you love most about Moree Plains Shire?

The sense of community; there’s really nothing more I can say about that. Moree Plains has a vibrant and inspiring sense of community of varying cultures, beliefs and background, all of which combine to make the community I find so appealing.

What do you think the main issues are in Moree that need addressing?

Moree Shire has a drug problem. There’s no easy way of discussing it but this is the reality. I work within the criminal justice system and through my discussions with community members, families of those affected, as well as local Police and Correctional Services’ officers, there is a general consensus that there is a drug and crime problem that is spiralling out of control within the shire. Within a matter of weeks, we’ve heard of at least three car chases where the drivers were drug-affected. A local business has been burnt to the ground in an act of arson, forcing up to 14 people, with families, out of employment. There have been several arrests of large quantities of drugs being trafficked through the shire. I could go on, but I’m sure I’d only be rehashing information people already know.

When discussing the drug and crime issues with local health and welfare professionals, one issue rings loudly and that is the lack of employment and/or training opportunities within the shire. Addressing these issues will help address the crime issue.

Do you think the current council is aiming in the right direction on various projects and/or issues?

I feel it would be good to give the council a breath of fresh air. Most of the current councillors have been sitting for nearly a decade. For a government to be truly effective there needs to be fresh ideas and different approaches. Through my discussions with community members it becomes apparent that people feel that there needs to be some fresh faces and new ideas within the Moree Shire.

How can the current council improve on what it is doing at the moment? Is money being spent on the right projects?

There is a lack of current council involvement in the criminal justice system. Late last year I contacted council to confirm concerns justice professionals had with the lack of community service positions within the shire. To date there has been no action on this issue. It is disheartening to see the level of graffiti and rubbish throughout the shire. A simple solution would be to force offenders to give back to the community by undertaking community service. Cleaning the graffiti, planting trees, cleaning up rubbish are just a few simple examples which the current council could be offering the criminal justice system but simply haven’t. Travel an hour south to Narrabri and community service is available, and works in forcing offenders to give back to their community. I believe we need to be doing more.

Has the current council let down the people of Moree? If so, how?

I’m hearing that a lot that ratepayers are annoyed that their rates keep increasing and yet there appears to be nothing to show for it. One example provided to me was that the council rates in the Inverell district are nearly half of that of Moree’s, with Inverell having more to show at half the cost.

People in the community also believe that the current council has failed them by failing to encourage industry and job opportunities to the town. Under the current council tenure the town has seen the development of a solar farm that employs very little – if any – local talent. We have seen the development of a ski park, which again, appears to offer very little in the way of employment opportunities for Moree citizens.

What are your pastimes, hobbies or passions?

I enjoy fishing, cricket, golf, watching football and my work.

Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn’t been covered in this questionnaire?

There is so much more that I could say, but I would much rather be given the opportunity to do something about it as a sitting councillor.

Glen Crump

Glen Crump is 32 years of age. He is Moree born-and-bred and currently employed as a juvenile court support case worker with Miyay Birray Youth Service. Glen resides in Moree and has been a resident all his life. He has been an active volunteer across a broad cross-section of the community including fundraising for the Cancer Council, Red Shield Appeal and Hike for Homeless. He is currently a member of the Moree Plains Shire Reconciliation Action Plan committee, chair of Moree Aboriginal Interagency, chair of Moree Reconciliation Group, Moree Aboriginal Education Consultative Group secretary, a Moree Boomerangs Rugby League Football Club board member, Moree Community Drug Action Team member,  Moree Aboriginal Men’s Group secretary, NSW Police Cell Support Group volunteer, Moree Aboriginal Justice Group member and current host of Mission Beat Aboriginal Radio on 2VM.

Have you had any previous roles, either as an employee or volunteer in local, state or federal government?

I am a former member of the NSW Reconciliation Council as well as former Member of the NSW Premier’s Youth Advisory Council, and founding member of the Moree plains Shire Youth Council.  I was also chair of the Moree NAIDOC committee, a delegate to the National Congress of First Australians, member of the Beyond Empathy Community Reference Group and former board member of St Pius X Aboriginal Medical Service.

What are the main reasons that made you want to stand for council?

The Moree Plains Shire has a rich cultural history and is privileged to have representation from all different sectors in our community. The main reason that made me want to stand for council is that I believe that it would be beneficial to have representation from young citizens. And, in the spirit of reconciliation, to have an Aboriginal person on council that could work with the community to break down barriers that people have in making their voices heard and their issues being taken to the table.

Is this the first time you have stood for council?

Yes.

Are you standing alone or with a running mate(s)?

GlenCrump

Glen Crump (Image supplied)

I am running with Kerry Cassells and Lucas Swan.

What do you love most about Moree Plains Shire?

It is home to me. I have lived and worked my entire life in the Moree Plains Shire. I love how when times are tough and when there are people in need we can all come together and put our differences aside and work for the one common goal in making our community a better place. There are a lot of people who have gone away to further their career paths but always returned home.

What do you think the main issues are in Moree that need addressing?

We need to develop a youth crisis refuge and men’s refuge, create additional support to our sporting organisations as well as continued and further support to our volunteer organisations such as the SES. We also need to attract new business to Moree, finish projects that are still incomplete, upgrade facilities such as the amenities near Boolooroo Weir, keep our next generation in Moree and attract more funding to the town. Upgrade of parks and ovals, in particular the smaller villages, need addressing as well as the street lighting in some parts of Moree and shire villages. We need to make Moree Plains Shire communities a safer place for all.

Do you think the current council is aiming in the right direction on various projects and/or issues?

I think every council will differ on their views and opinions on the priorities for the community. I have a lot of different areas that I believe need to be addressed that haven’t been looked at in the past.

How can the current council improve on what it is doing at the moment? Is money being spent on the right projects?

There are many ways council can improve, in particular with more communication about where projects are up to and how the community can get more involved to lobby for more funds or further investments in to the Shire to see it grow.

Has the current council let down the people of Moree? If so, how?

I think everyone who is on council has the interest of the community at heart and, just by being there for the past term, I believe no, they have not let the shire down. It is a big job for anyone to take on but, in saying this, there is always room for improvement.

What are you pastimes, hobbies or passions?

Family and friends, sport, community affairs, volunteering, media, lobbying MPs and ministers, social justice, youth issues and networking are my chief interests and passions.

Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn’t been covered in this questionnaire?

If elected to the Moree Plains Shire Council, I will do my best to represent the entire shire and speak with as many residents as I can. I believe in listening to the people and taking up their concerns on their behalf. Over the past few years I have had many residents from the shire – from all walks of life – approach me to contact relevant government departments, ministers and MPs regarding their concerns. I believe in open and transparent discussions. I am well-known for my voluntary work in the Moree community, which brings me in contact with people from all walks of life. I am young, energetic and not afraid to speak up and ask the hard questions when needed or to make hard decisions in the best interest of the community.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions published herein are those of the individual Moree Plains Shire Council election candidates.

Please note: Unless clearly taglined “media release”, all articles published on www.deluxecafemoree.com.au are the sole Copyright of Bill and Cindy Poulos.

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