East ward by-election candidates vie for your vote

Wollondilly east ward voters will need to decide between four candidates come by-election day.

Thirlmere’s Wayne Meani, Appin’s Mick Zammit, Appin’s Matt Smith and Menangle’s Laura Egan-Burt are seeking residents’ vote on Saturday, October 28.

 All are listed as independent candidates.

The by-election is to fill the vacancy following the resignation of former councillor Ray Law.

Mr Law resigned after the July council meeting in which a review of the organisational structure of the council’s directors was discussed.

Residents in the villages of Camden Park, Cawdor, Menangle, Razorback, Mount Hunter, Maldon, Douglas Park, Appin, Wilton, Pheasants Nest and Bargo will need to vote.

The Advertiser asked the candidates why they believe they should be Wollondilly’s next councillor.

Laura Egan-Burt

Laura Egan-Burt

Laura Egan-Burt, Menangle

Laura Egan-Burt is a school teacher and has been in the Menangle Community Association for the past 10 years.

She said she had a positive relationship with the council and wanted to have a seat at the table when it came to development decisions in the shire.

“I want to be a responsible part of what is happening in Wollondilly,” she said.

“I am not anti-development. However, I am concerned about block sizes, roads and safety for children in estates.

“With the massive developments that are planned, we need to get them right and be well-heard.

“Potholes are also a problem. I have had to replace my tyres. I want to get something more permanent than a pothole-filling machine.”

Mrs Egan-Burt also said, if elected, she wanted to see a more equal distribution of council spending in the three wards.

She said now that her children were older she could give more time to the community beyond Menangle.

“I believe I have all the skills and experience that a councillor needs such as time management and I love to listen, talk and help people.”

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Matt Smith, Appin

Matt Smith is the store manager of Appin IGA and has previously lobbied the council for Broughton Pass and recreational facilities in Appin.

“I enjoy working in the community, I have been in the Rural Fire Service since I was eight-years-old and I have been involved in community events,” he said.

“I wanted to step up and be a louder voice for the people.”

Mr Smith said he did not have an agenda.

“There isn’t an issue that I will personally be jumping up and down about,” he said.

“Around the district, maintenance of roads is a key issue.

“I believe the council can better update the community because I think people can feel blindsided at times.”

Mr Smith said he would like to see new and upgraded parks and recreational activities.

“Appin is the corridor to the South Coast but Appin’s parks are looking run down and the toilets are due for an upgrade,” he said. “Which is the case around the shire.”

Mr Smith said he would be going into council, if elected, as “fresh” and would have “a lot of learning to do”.

Mick Zammit

Mick Zammit

Mick Zammit, Appin

Mick Zammit is a long-term local and now with his children grown up, he wants to “give back to the community”.

“I have benefited from having a trade background, which has underpinned the success of my career in management and professional development,” he said.

“It is the combination of these skills that allows me to appreciate how the direction of the council may impact our diverse demographic in these fast moving times.

“I understand how short-term decisions can impact on the community in the long term.”

Mr Zammit said “we are not able to stop change but we can influence its speed and direction”.

“We know change will happen but if it is not clearly managed then we will have to live with the consequences,” he said.

“I want to ensure the same lifestyle is available for my children and grandchildren.”

Mr Zammitt said the development in Mount Gilead would put more pressure on Appin Road.

“Our infrastructure is not capable of carrying the influx of residents,” he said. “The council needs to lobby the state government.”

He also wants to ensure the local community and businesses have an input in the Wilton New Town development.

Mr Zammit has been involved with the Appin Chamber of Commerce, the Appin Men’s Shed and community Christmas carols events.

Wayne Meani

Wayne Meani

Wayne Meani, Thirlmere

Wayne Meani has been a long term Wollondilly resident and is an electrician by trade.

Mr Meani wants to see the roads fixed, jobs created for young people and the development application process streamlined.

“I want to get in and see why the roads are so bad,” he said. “We have had rate increases but our roads are not getting any better.

“I have been to council meetings over the years and I have a great concern for the way the council is going.”

Mr Meani said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Ray Law and make changes in the council.

“If I am elected, then I would like to hear about people’s concerns,” he said.

Mr Meani said he wanted to see more and upgraded sporting facilities and he was concerned about over-development.

He also feels the state government has neglected the shire and wants to see an upgrade of Appin Road, Picton Road and electrification of the Southern Highlands rail line.

Mr Meani said he lived at Thirlmere and in his spare time he was renovating a house in Bargo.

To check if you need to vote, visit the NSW Electoral Commission website

For more information, visit the council’s by-election page.