Long-time Howlong resident David Longley is putting his hand up for the Federation Council elections because he believes small communities need a strong voice around the table.
“We need some new people with new ideas and we need to ensure small communities are not the poor cousin in council decisions,” Mr Longley said.
“Although I am passionate about Howlong, the people, the can-do attitude which has made this a great community to live in; I am also equally passionate in supporting smaller communities and understanding their issues,” he told the Free Press/Yarrawonga Chronicle.
Having lived in Howlong for 40 years, Mr Longley has been involved in many community and sporting organisations in that time including the Howlong Football Club, Auskick, Howlong Tennis Club, Howlong Golf Club and a member of the Howlong Lions Club.
Mr Longley played a fundamental role in re-establishing Lowe Square, the town’s sporting and recreation hub.
The facility was revamped thanks to the Howlong community contributing money and in-kind support, as well as state and federal government funding five years ago.
His work carried out as chairman of the Lowe Square committee led to him being named Howlong Citizen of the Year in 2014.
With his sporting and volunteer background, Mr Longley is not a fan of recent proposed changes that would see council charge football clubs rent to use the ground.
“Football clubs bind the community together and they are all struggling, so why charge them?,” he asked.
“If we charge football clubs, then why not cricket clubs and all the other users?
“It’s the committees of management and volunteers who play a large part in keeping them maintained.”
The father of five adult children and a grandfather of eight, believes he has a lot to offer with management and financial skills honed over many years in business.
“I have largely been self-employed all my working life, the last business I grew from just a few employees to more than 200, servicing the east coast of Australia,” Mr Longley said.
“In more recent time, I have acted from time to time for a number of businesses advising on management issues.”
Mr Longley, a graduate from Yanco Agricultural College, was also an agricultural contractor for a period of time.
“My late wife came from Galore and I came from Wantabadgery, so I do understand small communities,” he said.
“I understand the issues of drought and flooding, as well as good roads for rural communities.”
“I also understand issues surrounding mental health and believe we need more services in our area.”
Mr Longley is passionate about seeing the community continue to grow and it is for this reason that he is firmly opposed to the proposed compost facility.
“I am totally against the location and the current strategic plan for Howlong is badly flawed,” he said.
“The growth corridors are being closed off by larger developers.
“This lazy planning has led to the proposed Cleanaway project being to the north west of the town, blocking the future growth of our community.
“The argument that the tip and sewerage works would impede growth is nonsense as these can be readily relocated.”
Mr Longley has suggested he would like a review of the Corowa Saleyard, with the view of putting a roof on top or some sort of cover area.
“It leaves us wide open to someone else doing it in the region,” he said.
“The success of the Yass one has left a lot of other towns exposed; the loss of the yards in Corowa would impact the town and farmers severely.”
While Mr Longley is aware a Howlong ticket has been formed with five candidates on the list, he said it did not faze him.
“I believe that council should have nine independent voices and these people running in groups are just one voice,” he said.
“I will not make any promises that I can’t keep but, if elected, I would be one of nine and will do my best to represent the entire Federation Council fairly.”