Below relates to my 2012 Mayoral Election - it gives a rather clear understanding of what I am about, is well researched, including references, etc.
The Interview Questions were asked by Diana Bushby of NBN News, the answers were provided by me.
10 QUESTIONS WITH ARJAY MARTIN –
Lake Macquarie Mayoral Candidate
August 29, 2012 at 11:30 am
Questions by: Diana Bushby·
Answers by: Arjay Martin
I am sick and tired of unreasonable interference in people’s everyday lives by the Government. This includes by the Council with copious Rules and Regulations, Ordinances & Hoops to Jump through just to get the simplest of things done with one’s own property and businesses.
Much of this is caused by the Council out of its own free will, others can be changed via representations to various State and Federal Ministers and through the Local Government and Shires Association.
I won’t pass the buck in representing the people, even in those cases where I will have to present their cases as an individual – rather than an official capacity.
I love Lake Macquarie, as well as Newcastle, and want her to become the premier small & medium business hub of Australia, and Number 1 tourist destination of New South Wales, within 20 Years.
I am not ‘against big business’, but small and medium businesses hire more people proportionately to income, and add to a generally laid-back feel of the city.
If you have a problem in this city, then please come and knock on my door!
2. You don’t have a big profile like some of the other candidates, can you tell us what you stand for?
Al Capone had a ‘Big Profile’, it doesn't mean that he wasn't a Crook!
I will represent Lake Macquarians & will provide them with the truth of what is happening to them; I appreciate that people are time-poor, and that they want good people representing them and keeping watch for them in their absence.
I will vote ‘yes’, or ‘no’ depending on what the people want; as well as undertaking the massive job of fixing the council’s finances – so that there are no more Special Variation Rate Rises on my watch.
I also will get involved, when necessary, in representing Lake Macquarians to their State and Federal Ministers for other issues of concern to them.
3. Have you had any local government experience?
For the past three or four years I have been ‘behind the scenes’ of Lake Macquarie City Council through my involvement with the Community Advisory Group.
I know a lot about the Council, how it functions, how to get things done. I have also had the chance to get to know many council staff members, from the top down.
I have also been an Executive Board Member and Treasurer of a Council ‘Entity’ – The Place: Charlestown Youth and Community Centre, located in Charlestown Square. Other Board Members include the General Manager of GPT Charlestown (Charlestown Square), General Manager of Lake Macquarie, the Mayor of Lake Macquarie, etc.
As a ‘customer’ of Lake Macquarie City Council I have had much experience; some good, some bad. I also have extensive business training and experience [, Having studied] Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Management, Cert IV Property Services (Real Estate), and Cert IV Purchasing (Procurement).
4. Issues such as sea level rise and rate increases have been prominent in the Lake Macquarie area, what are your views and what actions would you take as Mayor?
The Government should not be interfering with people’s lives in terms of placing caveats and banning building on people’s own property that may or may not be ‘under water’ in 88 years time.
Information relied on by the council states that the Lake will ‘be 2.97 M higher in 2100′, with a king tide.
This is garbage for one, if it were true, then people would have 88 years of observations to reassess.
The people bought their land in good faith, without such Caveats and Restrictions imposed upon them.
Water is a state issue with Section 100 of the Australian Constitution.
How many buildings have a 88 Year Life Expectancy anyway?
5. What is the first thing you would change in Lake Macquarie if elected?
Go through the budget – Lake Macquarie City Council finances are in dire-straights, despite what you will hear (who likes admitting mistakes/incompetents?) – that is the real reason for the mega rate rise (latest Special Rate Variation) see answer to Question # 6.
6. What would be your main priority if elected?
The first thing that is in order is to ‘right the ship’ that will otherwise sink further and further into the abyss.
The Budget needs fixing, with state and federal Government Issues to not be undertaken by the council, as one example.
Current councillors can claim all they like that they, and the Council, are financially sound – ‘working in the best interest of best interest of the people’, but facts prove otherwise:
- The Asset Replacement fund has been desolated – without the latest money-grab (Mega Rate Rise) there would soon be no money to fix any bridges/roads/signs/footpaths. The council is selling assets for short-term gain, including our many of our libraries. (1)
– Many staff members are allocated to resource wasting jobs, instead of being utilised in place of expensive and over-priced consultants which were paid over $10 000 per Day; or over $3, 650, 000 last Financial Year. There is so much waste in the Council from mis-allocated resources.
2005 - 2006 $1.3million
2011 - 2012 $3.6million (2)
– The latest Special Rates Variation will add the Lake Macquarie City Council’s revenue (cost the Rate Payer) over $250 Million Extra over the next 7 Years. (3)
- All current councillors (representing Labor, The Greens, The Liberals, & The Independent Lake Alliance) voted for the biggest Rate Rise in NSW History, ‘Option 3′:an increase of 68.4% for Residential Rates, and an increase of 89.4% for Business Rates (4)
- This was that high that IPART stated in its refusal that “the council has demonstrated the need for a significant increase in its general income to address its financial sustainability, but not shown that the increase needs to be as large as requested.” (3) Instead, what was granted was ‘Option 2′:an increase of 53.9% for residential rates, and an increase of 69.3% for Business Rates. (5)
- There have been 11 Special Rates Variations in just 12 years (3),
Including the current one, when will they stop?
- The 2000/2001 operating costs were $91 Million, (6) more than doubling in just 11 years 2011/2012 to over $186 Million (7).
7. What is your biggest challenge in winning this election?
Finances & therefore my ability to get my message across – I am told that the groups are spending six-figured dollar amounts on their campaigns, with a pool of 13 candidates for each and every group, and noting donations and expenditure from last council election, it is not hard to see this is true.
I am a normal person, trying to represent the very-normal people of Lake Macquarie. Sure I have some ‘extra-ordinary’ skills and experience, but I am normal none-the-less.
I am not going there as a Union Official, nor as a Honcho of Mega Corporation, to represent only ‘special interests’.
8. You scored the number 1 spot on the ballot paper, do you think this will help you at all?
This can help in name recognition.
I have an unusual name that my mum made up, which also helps people remember my name – hopefully they remember my policies and even hold me accountable for them!
9. How would you rate the performance of the current council and what would you change?
Dismal, despite their claims to the contrary.
10. How do you rate your chances of winning the election?
What I lack in funding, I make up for in my message, my ideas, business acumen, skills and experience. I am the only truly independent candidate, without needing to tow the line of a Party or group voting block.
This will prove valuable to the people of Lake Macquarie in representing their views, objectively informing them about things that will greatly affect them (positive and adverse), and preventing them from getting a raw deal out of council.
The current councillors have all voted for a massive rate rise (as well as voting themselves a pay rise), instead of fixing the budget and operating expenditure, they have instead chosen to take yet more money from your and my pockets!
The people have good sense as a whole – hence why hardly any Referendums pass and why the Government is reluctant to use them – my great difficulty is in getting my message ‘out there’ without vast sums of money at hand.
What I spend comes out of my family budget – perhaps if the Groups and Parties were doing so likewise – they might just realise how unaffordable things have become!
There have been 11 Special Variation Rate Rises in the past 12 years, will you allow them to make it 4 more within 4 years time?
If elected, I’ll cut your rates, and get you a better deal on Council Services!
Lake Macquarie City Council’s application for a special variation 2012/1
3. Local Government — Determination, June 2012, IPART
7. Revised Budget, cannot find 2011-2012 Annual Report
Responses to “10 QUESTIONS WITH ARJAY MARTIN – Lake Macquarie Mayoral Candidate”
Totally under qualified to be the mayor, maybe try being a councillor first before we trust you with the keys to the city. Prove yourself first, because I feel you’re out of your depth at the moment!
And really, throwing spears at the existing councillors, will not make you popular if you get elected with returning councillors. We don’t need the problems that Newcastle faced in previous years, where councillors show no respect for their colleagues and it becomes dog eat dog. Good Luck RJ.
Hi “Northwarder” – I know and am on friendly terms with The Mayor and six current Councillors, as well as very senior staff (including the GM). I do not pick friends based on their Political Credo, but will stand up for the people of Lake Macquarie no problem at all. I am not applying to be a Councillor ‘to make friends’, but to represent people. The Council has a 23 year old (Hannah G) on it who was elected at 19. You may or may not be a ‘Stooge’ for a rival, but calling me ‘RJ’ isn’t very respectful at all.
Lake Macquarie Council does have many problems, if you personally knew or worked closely with Council staff (more than just ‘small talk’) then you would know that behind the scenes things are not as the public persona shows.
Besides you probably banking on somebody else getting in (or yourself maybe?) then what makes you think that I am not qualified? I don’t see anyone else using facts and figures, nor many even bothering to fill in the ‘why should you vote for me’ section on their nomination forms. They have signs with their photos and a Party slogan/logo on there (besides B2B)… nothing of real substance, as they are trading on their Party’s (or pseudo-Party’s) reputation… or that ‘I’ll vote for XYZ, since great great grandpa did. It might have made sense to vote for XYZ back then, but not necessarily now.
Anyway, thanks none-the-less for your comment – maybe you’ll come into my office in the near future to reveal which Candidate you are.. oops! :-D Maybe you are the same rival Candidate that ‘had a go’ at me today – until I pointed out that her Mayoral Candidate Preferenced me as her #2. It shows that some are taking me seriously.
“I’ll cut your Rates, and get you a better deal on Council Services”