Marija Has Freo's Back - interview with the Herald
Why did you decide to run as a team of independents?
The team of “Independents for Change” developed organically; it was not planned. When three outstanding candidates approached me separately, I reflected on how much they could contribute to the restoration of balance in our Council. Let there be real debate again. We need Craig Ross, Steve Pynt and Jason Amaranti. These candidates are appropriately qualified, seriously talented, authentic, and honest in their approach to tackling the social and financial challenges facing Fremantle. I understand how hard it is to be heard on a Council that is “tone deaf” to new ideas, so knowing the strength of conviction that each candidate brings to this election, I am supremely confident that their voices (the voices of the people) will resonate throughout the Council chambers.
What is your vision for Fremantle?
My plan for the city is to develop a place where people (especially families) can once again return because it is a safe place to shop, live and work; people need to experience our amazing city. The City Centre needs to become vibrant again through appropriate parking policy, social policy and event generated initiatives.
I have a vision for 10,000 additional city dwellers living and working in Fremantle. Using a careful and sensitive balance between Heritage and Development Fremantle needs to increase its Ratepayer base. Better finances will mean we will be able to look after our cherished heritage assets and not give them away as other candidates have suggested.
There is a plan for the homeless and the most vulnerable in our community. The details around the vision will be presented in the coming weeks of the campaign. These people need to be treated respectfully and socially supported by the supporting agencies and not be disgracefully used as was the case with “Tent City”.
We will bring back a city proudly delivering the best value for ratepayers and residents in the maintenance of roads, public buildings, rubbish collection, lighting, security and local community services.
The “look” of the City matters to me and I want to see it vibrant, clean and safe again at all hours. Engagement with the State Government and its key agencies will be critical to achieve this. I would not be embarrassing them with a “Pioneer Park” stunt rather using diplomacy.
Our City is blessed with significant tourist infrastructure surrounding Port, Rail, Bus, Road and River transport. Few Cities in Western Australia can match our offering when supported by our committed band of retail and small business owners working with Council to deliver significant events. As the campaign unfolds, I will release an events policy which will aim to capture the imagination of all of Fremantle and form a part of our Covid recovery. Remember I did it for the Festival of Lights with much fewer resources.
Importantly I see a City that listens to its people, a Council that answers its Citizens questions and one that is transparent around its plans and finances (good news and bad) . It takes strong leadership to listen to the community and to make sense out of all the different points of view. Strong measured collegiate leadership will be my approach.
What challenges lie ahead?
Our greatest challenges are our finances and the capacity to find alternative revenue streams. We have had a decade of poor financial decisions resulting in the selling of city assets. The decision to invest in a huge bricks and mortar building like the Kings Square Civic Centre Project was poorly conceived, poorly managed, and questionably administered.
There are Covid related challenges in how the City will be able to respond to the homeless, the maintenance of heritage buildings and its capacity to support businesses and job creation. This is why the “fit for purpose” team I lead are so critical to the Council and its future. Please support them.
How can YOU contribute to change?
Vote for Marija Vujcic, Steve Pynt, Craig Ross and Jason Amaranti
Be Vocal – talk to your friends, family and neighbours to vote. Volunteer to help the team.