The Lilydale Township Action Group asked the candidates of both Billanook and Melba Wards about themselves, and their vision for Lilydale.

Question 1.
Have you been involved in any local community groups, not for profit organisations or service organisations?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

Since a young age I have tried to be as involved as I can in my local community.

  • At Lilydale High School I was proud to be a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC) and helped run fundraisers for various charities and advocated for better student services.
  • I helped to form the “Green Team” at Lilydale High School, which was focused on creating a modern and lasting recycling program at my old High School, this led to some great advocacy work and lobbying of both the Council and State Government, I helped to Organise numerous meetings with then Mayor Noel Cliff to hear us out and see our progress, this work is actually what instilled in me the value of Council and the need to have a fresh, young voice with a new perspective.
  • I was involved in the Yarra Ranges Youth Group for a while, this was focused on empowering young people to be involved in their community and inform Council on what matters to young people in the region, this again reinforced for me the need to have a younger voice on Council, we need someone with 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.
  • I also volunteered my time to be the first Union Delegate at Mooroolbark McDonalds, these skills helped teach me the importance of leadership in the workplace/community and how important it is to empower people to stand up for their rights and work in cooperation with their employer for the benefit of all. 
  • I am also a member of the Wilderness Society, they are a not for profit organisation dedicated to conserving our environment.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

  • I am the co-founder of a not-for-profit organisation called ROADwhyz Victoria “choice and Consequences” an education program that provides young drivers an insight into what really happens in road trauma. I attended high schools across the state with Vic Pol, nurses and victims of road trauma.
  • I am Chairman of a not-for-profit organisation that provides driver education – METEC Driver training.
  • I have been a volunteer in the State Emergency Services and St John Ambulance.
  • I volunteer as a Paramedic for motorsport medical services and volunteer groups.
  • I was President of my local school council.
  • I have assisted in providing entertainment at retirement and nursing homes with Karaoke (Golden Memories) which provided much happiness and relief for the residents.
  • I assisted with Karaoke for the disabled in Mt Evelyn

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

Where possible I have been involved in community groups, early this year I became a new volunteer member of a Friends and Parents Association which assists a local college in giving the best possible environment for children through fundraising activities. I have recently served on a school council for four years (the last two as VP). 

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

  • Friends of Mt Evelyn Aqueduct
  • Mt Evelyn Environment Protection and Progress Association (MEEPPA)
  • Inaugural member of the Mt Evelyn Township Improvement Committee (METIC)
  • School Council at St Mary’s
  • Fete Committee at St Mary’s
  • Mt Evelyn Federation Festival and Sack Race
  • Keep Our Police Station (KOPS)
  • Volunteer Assistant Trainer for 6 years at Mt Evelyn Football Club
  • Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

Yes, I am presently a committee member of a Lilydale not-for-profit group which is working to deliver a sporting facility to Lilydale

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

Yes I have. I’ve been on the committee for Mt Evelyn Community Toy Library for over 4 years and I have been President at my son’s kindergarten. I have frequently been involved in organising fundraisers, events and have participated at Celebrate Mooroolbark Festival. 

Question 2.
Are you linked to any political party?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

I am a rank and file member of the Lilydale branch of the ALP. However, I am not an endorsed candidate and I wouldn’t want to be. We don’t need parties in local government, there is no government and opposition on Council and everyone needs to work together, we also need to advocate and lobby both the state and federal government on issues and I want to put our community first. People don’t want partisan politics on their Council and I’m not interested in that either.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

No.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

In my line of work I have to be critical of all political parties policies etc, so I am not affiliated with any parties. To be a community representative, I believe it important to represent the communities interests/concerns first. 

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

No, I never have been a member of a political party.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

I am not linked, affiliated, a member of, nor endorsed by any political party. The policies introduced into Council deliberations must be those representing the will of the residents, not of a political alliance.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

No, I never have been.

Question 3.
Have you advocated for any community issue?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

Yes. My first advocacy started in High School as already mentioned, this was about lobbying our Council to support our new recycling program, and we were successful in this. Other than this, I was a supporter of making sure our local churches were still able to host the homeless on their premises in the face of a proposed change to their classification and force them to obtain a different building permit which wouldn’t allow this to occur in the same way going forward. There was significant community pushback and I spread the petition on this cause to all my networks and spoke to my friends about this issue. I could only be involved in this small way on this issue due to work and full-time university commitments stopping me from taking a more active role.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

I advocated for various community issues:

  • Re-opening of Olinda Pool and with consultation and permission of Olinda community, created the Olinda Community Pool, run by the community for the community.
  • I have advocated for road safety at local, state and federal level. Have been part of community groups that have provided education nights on road trauma.
  • I have advocated for the removal of antiquated planning schemes such as tenement controls which prohibit single housing redevelopment. Has now been replaced with much better more up to date controls that are flexible and planners can work with.
  • I have advocated and pushed for the Monbulk sewer and water system be extended to cater for ALL of Monbulk not just one side of the township preventing business growth.
  • I have worked with various community groups to assist them with navigating council and providing guidance and facilitating meetings with necessary staff.
  • I was able to consult and meet with Vic Roads and local state member to get warning signs placed on a dangerous corner in Silvan/Mt Evelyn after attending a tragic motor vehicle crash there.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

Not locally, but more recently I have spoken in support with other peers on how Australian Indigenous peoples should be recognised in the Australian Constitution to students in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to show a way of addressing mass harms. In particular, I discussed how a change in the constitution can benefit Indigenous Australian’s in terms of health, create a sense of belonging and worth and uphold Australia’s obligations under international law. That it should still be the main consideration of the Australian Government, for failure to do so would result in confusion in our nation’s commitment to racial non-discrimination and have a profound negative impact on indigenous peoples health. During this time, at the University, along with others I also signed a petition advocating a male student to be brought to justice for raping a female student during a community service visit. This issue became highly publicised and while institution officials have reported that they were slow to act, justice I understand was peacefully delivered.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

  • I advocated for 5 years before I was on Council to build the Skate Park in Mt Evelyn.
  • I advocated rebuilding the police station in Mt Evelyn.
  • As a community member, I advocated against the building of a major chain supermarket in Mt Evelyn which would have squashed our local businesses.
  • I’ve been advocating for awareness of homeless since 2008, and have spent more than 900 hours, over 12 years, during homeless week sleeping in a cardboard box

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

I have advocated for various issues over a number of council terms.

I have advocated for more affordable as well as social housing within Lilydale. There are opportunities for both that will neither involve the densification of the Lilydale township, neither involved the use of public open space.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

My work on committees has involved lots of grant applications and submissions for the betterment of the organisation. 

Successful applications I have gained include; a new fridge for the kindergarten, building and garden supplies, tools and hardware as well as a range of financial grants. I lobbied the council to create a painted pathway outside the Kindergarten to make it safer.

I’ve also written to council on a number of occasions to communicate issues out in the community including a damaged slide, syringes and blocked drains. I’m proactive when I see something can be improved or something needs to be fixed. 

Question 4.
How long have you lived in the ward you are standing for?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

20 years.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

I do not reside in the ward, I live in Silvan adjacent to Mt Evelyn. This gives me an advantage over others that live within Lilydale, Mt Evelyn or Wandin Nth. I have no bias towards any of the townships, I will give an equal view on each suburb without any hidden agenda (because I live there, I want it mentality) I will have a completely objective view.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

I have lived over the past 20 years in Lilydale, within Billanook Ward.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

Up until 2016, 30 years. Due to a minor boundary change I now live half a street away from Billanook in the Chandler Ward.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

I have lived in Lilydale for over 20 years.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

5 Years.

Question 5.
What do you see as community issues in Lilydale?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

There are multiple issues important to our community that I am very keen to start tackling if elected.

  • We need a COVID recovery plan that caters to the needs of our township, there won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ plan for the Ranges, we need a Councillor who recognises this and works with businesses and stakeholders in Lilydale for a plan catered to us, this needs to also have participation from the state and federal government in order to make this work, if we do it right we can bounce back and inject some funds into our local economy and create local jobs for local people.
  • We need to address homelessness in our town and wider region, we have made some great strides in this field but there is more that needs to be done, for example our Council can be much more involved in fighting for social housing in our community, this is as much a social issue as an economic one. The more people that are safe and have a roof over their head mean there are less people at risk sleeping on the streets and it also empowers them to get back on their feet and give back to the community by getting a job and spending money in the local economy.
  • We need a Councillor who will fight for reasonable rates, no one can genuinely promise a rate cut, as it is not a realistic option. But we should have a Councillor who focuses on alternate revenue streams where possible and deliver value for money for their ratepayers.
  • We also need to settle the issue of the Lilydale Bypass once and for all, Council hasn’t really had a concrete position on the decades-old project and this has contributed to it stalling and Lilydale being somewhat frozen in time as Council doesn’t know how to plan and develop our town with a big question mark over the Bypass. So, my policy is to lobby Council to consult with the people of Lilydale to get their views on the Bypass and the outcome of this consultation should inform Councils position once and for all and then this gives us a way forward in how we plan and develop our fantastic town.
  • We need to improve our local infrastructure by upgrading our footpaths and sealing any remaining dirt roads.  

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

  • Traffic through and around Lilydale
  • Lilydale’s streetscape
  • Access to Lilydale’s main st business community
  • Crime
  • Lack of identity, way finding or linkage with Warburton Trail and Lilydale Lake.
  • Lilydale bypass – yes/no we need a proper consensus from the Lilydale community
  • Lilydale is the major activity centre for Yarra Ranges, yet businesses aren’t investing in the town – why? Is it planning? is it real estate space? is it lack of foot traffic?
  • Lack of 24hr medical services e.g.super clinic – people from Healesville or Warburton have to go all the way to Maroondah hospital for sutures or prescription etc. We have a facility already built that could be modified to could possibly cater for this. Its worth a consideration – From personal experience I know people call an Ambulance because they don’t have a choice for their minor ailment.
  • Sport and recreation facilities? are they in need of redevelopment, upgrading? This is where I would consult with each club, form relationships and understand their history and future plans.
  • The rail crossing upgrade and exposed issues from this upgrade such as – security, distance to parking, lighting and paths. 

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

Community safety and security: Lilydale in the YR’s is the suburb with the highest rate of criminal incidences.

Our economic environment: we need to keep local businesses operating; to create more jobs; overall we need a strong and sustainable economic environment.

Public services: We need to have quality and affordable services/housing for all – I understand there is no crisis or transitional housing provided by our Council. 

Environment: concerning our economic environment, we also need to beautify the Main Street for our survival to encourage visitors. Though, with a proposed expansion of Main Street to 6 lanes, there is also the issue of the removal of old trees which are part of Lilydale’s character and given their historical and cultural significance should be preserved.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

The #1 community issue in Lilydale is they need a community meeting space. I have listened for many years while being Councillor and this has been the #1 priority for the people in Lilydale other than having their own voice in Council.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

All matters concerning the affordability, access, and ‘livability’ within our community. The by-pass and the Main Street precinct, the railway level crossing removal, community infrastructure, affordable and accessible housing, employment opportunities and the viability of business, particularly small business within Lilydale.

The social, infrastructure and traffic issues associated with the development of the Quarry site, are currently a concern of many within Lilydale and Mooroolbark, and must be fully addressed now, within the next term of council.

The matter of the By-pass must be addressed to finally put the matter ‘to bed’. I support the by-pass and the associated opportunity to rejuvenate and invigorate the Main Street precinct.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

  • Local businesses are suffering as a result of Covid-19.
  • At the moment there is no community house. I’d like to see one be developed to help connect and support people. 
  • Homelessness is a very big issue. We currently have no emergency housing available to our most vulnerable people.
  • Main Street traffic needs to be addressed. Council need to consult with the community and the subsequently need to make a decision as to whether the by-pass project will go ahead.
  • I also feel that Lilydale should be more connected by paths for bikes and walkers. At the moment locals need to be very reliant on cars. 
Question 6.
What is your view on development in Lilydale?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

My view is that our town is somewhat frozen in time due to the inaction on the Lilydale Bypass, the land has been put aside for decades and this means no one can touch it and it has led to Council not really knowing how Lilydale will be developed as we’re at a crossroads. So, as already mentioned we need to finalise Council’s position on this Bypass and then start lobbying the state government based on our position. If the Bypass goes through, then we can develop Lilydale to be more pedestrian friendly and increase foot traffic for businesses on Main Street and also create some more green wedges. Alternatively, if the Bypass doesn’t go through, then we can free up the vacant land that has been given over for the Bypass and make that into a green wedge or do whatever the community would like with it, this would also mean that Main Street would continue to be a main thoroughfare and we could design our town around this as well.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

What my view is irrelevant, it’s what the majority of the Lilydale community wants to see now and into the future. My role is to facilitate this, provided guidance and be a voice for the community at the council table without prejudice or bias. Any development must be fit for purpose and right for the area and there must be adequate, transparent and open consultation with all involved.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

My view is that development must take into account the story of Lilydale. That it should draw people to visit, encourage them to stay, even attract people to relocate here, provide for more community services, create jobs, enable us to buy services and goods without going elsewhere.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

At the moment I’m concerned. Because of the different planning overlays, there may be some development that is allowed or proposed. Lilydale is a unique township with a rich history, we must continue to hold the line on development that is not recognising that.

Don D Battista – Melba Ward

Although the views of the community are more relevant in relation to Council decisions on development within Lilydale; I personally support limited development within the existing township. I do not support the development of high density precincts as it detracts from the character of Lilydale and introduces infrastructure, traffic and amenity issues.

Although there are many individual sites within the Lilydale precinct well suited to redevelopment and densification, this should be the exception, not the rule where streets are dominated by multi-unit developments; there are many further and more appropriate opportunities to provide additional housing and employment land outside of the township which would not detract from the character of Lilydale.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

Lilydale requires more affordable housing and public housing.

Question 7.
Have you completed the Lilydale Structural Plan survey or any other local survey?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

I certainly have, I also posted about the Structure Plan on my Facebook page on July 25th, calling for people to make a submission as well, you can find this and all other posts on my page here – https://www.facebook.com/mattforbillanook/

  • I also made a submission to the proposed 2020-2021 budget and spoke to my submission at the Council hearing on it.
  • I have also encouraged people to make submissions on upgrades to local parks in Billanook Ward to make sure Council hears their voice.
  • I also completed a survey on public art in Lilydale and again encouraged people to fill it out as well. These posts are all on my Facebook page.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

Yes.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

I have completed a Victorian Police Community Connection Survey for our area.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

I chose not to complete the Lilydale Structural Plan survey. As a Councillor I felt I needed to hear the community voice of Lilydale.

I don’t think it’s appropriate that a Councillor should be completing these surveys when it is important we hear the communities voice of what they want for Lilydale.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

Yes.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

Yes, I have completed it and take time to complete YR surveys as they arise. I logged in the webinar about the structure plan in August too. I also completed a State Government survey recently about artwork for Mooroolbark Station.

Question 8.
Did you attend any of the LXRA information sessions?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the information sessions but I have kept up to date through the fantastic updates from LTAG, Lilydale Mainstreet Beautification Group and the Lilydale & District Historical Society.

While this is a state project, I’m happy to work with our community if elected to make sure your voice is heard on th

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

Due to the 5km restrictions I haven’t been able to attend in person, however I have been able to keep abreast of it’s progress through social media.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

I have not, the Level Crossing Removal Project sessions were cancelled, but I have been checking the website for the plans/updates.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

I attended the initial information surveys. The LXRA reported directly back to Council meetings which I attended.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

No.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

No, but I spent time with LXRA representative who was available around Brice avenue asking and responding to questions. 

Question 9.
How would you improve the look and the feel of Lilydale?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

I would like to work with fantastic groups such as the Lilydale Mainstreet Beautification Group and others to see our town improve. I’m a big believer in working with and empowering local community groups to help give a voice to their vision. I don’t believe a Councillor should tell a community what’s good for them, but should listen and work with what the community wants.

Generally speaking, I’d like to maintain and improve our fantastic trees in Lilydale, they brighten up our township and they are a source of pride and uniqueness in my view.  

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

Consult with those who know and love Lilydale as a group.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

I would try to forge community partnerships, make them stronger. Make it easier for residents to attend council meetings, perhaps we can go online. Maintain the public green spaces within the Lilydale township.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

Lilydale has always had the appearance of being a divided entity having shops on either side of Maroondah Hwy fragmented from each other. We have the opportunity to now make Lilydale more people-friendly, but it will take some major rethinking about car movements and parking areas that could be put aside for community dining and connection.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

Refer to question 10.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

See my answer to question 10.

Question 10.
Do you have a view on how Lilydale could be reinvigorated?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

In order for Lilydale to be reinvigorated, we need to reinvigorate our Council. Fresh Councillors bring fresh perspectives.

To start the process of reinvigoration, we need to finalise our position on the Lilydale Bypass, I don’t want to sound like a broken record but many decisions for our town are linked to the outcome of this project and whether it goes ahead or not.

We also need to empower and support community groups and make sure their voice is heard and their goals are supported by Council, this will naturally help to reinvigorate Lilydale.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

Again my view is irrelevant, What I view may be at odds with majority of Lilydale. The structure plan and it’s survey will be part of this. It will guide me as the councillor to navigate Lilydale into the future.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

It would be nice to have a central community centre, community gardens, a space for art activities or performances if it meets community needs and as mentioned the main street should be beautified to encourage shoppers/visitors, but there needs to special consideration given to retaining and enhancing the old trees.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

I do have a view, but there are still some things that need to unfold i.e. in relation to the State Government allowing Lilydale to have access to the Lilydale Station for a community building. Some of the areas along the central part of the township could be expanded from the footpath out to allow more tables and chairs, and certainly much more flow for pedestrian traffic.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

The look of the Lilydale township, particularly the Main Street strip, is initially dominated by the descent from Victoria Rd into the Queen Victoria Jubilee Avenue of Oak plantings from Cavehill Road to the railway. This section, although the carriageway is managed by Vicroads, would represent an opportunity to invigorate the entry into Lilydale with physical works to the verges, removal or consolidation of the many overhead powerlines along with a treatment to the surrounding plantings to potentially open up the ‘vista’ of the township on entry. I would support the extension of the English Oak planting to the west of Cavehill Road.

The Main Street precinct would benefit from a rejuvenation project that would/should coincide with the railway works. Unfortunately we have lost an outstanding opportunity for an enhanced large pedestrian friendly open space by having the railway above-ground, as opposed to below-ground.

The rejuvenation of the Main Street precinct, the encouragement of more business, food, beverage, merchants, along with the provision of more employment land to the surrounds would give the township and surrounds a much needed economic and social/well-being ‘lift’.

These are just a few of my personal thoughts, but I would be pleased to open up a community consultation on the matter, should I be honoured with the selection to the Council.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

Rejuvenating the townships of Lilydale and Mooroolbark are key features of my campaign. I want to see our townships become vibrant, social places. I know that if our towns are fun and aesthetically pleasing, people will bring their custom to our local cafes and shops. I’d like to see more public spaces and attention given to outdoor dining. I want to work with local businesses to support them to thrive. 

Question 11.
What is your vision for Lilydale?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

My vision for Lilydale is to see us become a strong economic and community hub that serves as a gateway to the Yarra Ranges and Eastern Victoria.

We need services that are there for everyone in the community, youth services, mental health services, sporting services, community services etc. We are a big enough town that it is not unreasonable to ask that our town is supported strongly by Council in getting these services out to the public.

We also deserve a dedicated Lilydale Community Centre and I would love to work with our community to see this come to fruition if elected.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

My vision for Lilydale is to work with and create relationships with community groups, clubs, and members. Generate discussion and motivation around the structure plan and get the ball rolling. With state and federal elections looming, we have a prime opportunity to grab the spotlight to and get Lilydale and the shire in the spotlight.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

To have a safe, vibrant community and economy. 

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

My vision for Lilydale is to have thriving businesses and a good interface of commercial together with opportunities for more people to congregate within the township itself.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

My vision accords with the invigoration thoughts; a vibrant prosperous community, where individuals, families and retiree have access to affordable housing, in a safe community with local opportunities for work, for recreation as well as the social infrastructure that we normally need to travel surrounding suburbs or afar to access.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

My vision is a connected and healthy community where we hold our values of family and friendship tightly. improved public spaces increase pride of place, our town centre has a vibrant feel and local businesses flourish. We respect our natural environment and address Climate Change.

Question 12.
Why are you standing for Council?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

I am running for Council for multiple reasons. As a young person looking at our Council now, there is no one there that I currently feel I can relate to or who I think knows the issues young people face and that is something that needs to change. This in part is what led me to stand for Council in the first place, instead of hoping someone like me would stand I decided to stand myself, I’m a big believer of putting my money where my mouth is.

Our Council is made up of 9 Councillors, 8 of which are men and none are under 40. This is not representative of our community and I am proud to offer a younger alternative who has 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

I am standing because I feel that Billanook ward requires a balanced and non biased representative that will provide leadership and guidance to ALL members of the community. I enjoy working with communities, I am a volunteer at heart and really enjoy seeing people coming together and advocating for a single cause on something they love. I been here once before, really enjoyed it, I believe I have much more to give.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

To improve on our wellbeing which in-turn will promote community spirit/pride. To give everyone in our community a clear voice in council deliberation/decisions and to provide a fresh perspective.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

I have been excited in the last four year of having the honour of starting the Lilydale Township Action Group. I was absolutely inspired by two separate public meetings to talk about Lilydale.

The first having 110 residents, the second having 165. We are at the crossroads of how Lilydale will change once the new railway station and lines are built. I believe there is much more hard work to be done to beautify Lilydale, to enrich its history even more, and to bring about a thriving area for businesses and locals.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

I have seen many terms of Councillors come and go, make many ‘promises’ yet achieve little. I am determined to use my skills and experience, to deliver the best results for the community, while scrutinising the budgetary expenditure which has been increasing disproportionately for many years, far exceeding inflation, to the point where many households struggle with rates payments.
My knowledge and experience in delivering infrastructure as well as managing and supervising the delivery of developments of scale from small residential to large commercial and sporting, would place me in an advantageous position to deliver informed worthy decisions and deliberations for the community.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

I’m standing for council because I feel young people and families need to be represented. I want to help lead change and improvement for our kids.

Question 13.
What do you think you could achieve as a Yarra Ranges Councilor?

Matthew Musilli – Billanook Ward

I believe it’s not about what I could achieve as an individual Councillor, for me it’s about what we can achieve!

When people ask me about my policies, I always start with my main policy/philosophy on being a Councillor, for me it really is about working with the community and empowering everyone to make sure their voice is heard. A good Councillor listens to their constituents and tries to deliver for them to the best of their ability, so my voice is an extension of your voice if I’m elected. I think if we elect more people with this type of philosophy, we will naturally see an improvement in representation on our Council.

Other than this and the policies I’ve already mentioned, I’d like to make sure our Council is accountable to ratepayers and transparent in its decisions, I’ll be fighting to make sure Council meetings continue to be recorded after COVID ends, as they were not recorded pre COVID. I also want to have roaming Council meetings when we return to physical meetings, this means the Council would meet in different community groups across the Ranges and this enables more locals to engage in their Council.  

Jason Callanan  – Billanook Ward

  • A fair, non biased representation of Billanook ward.
  • Accountability and governance of council’s budget.
  • Reasonable and justifiable rates for our wider community.
  • Recovery plan for our business, tourism and industrial community.
  • Beyond this I will be directed by the community. I will listen, again try and provide as much guidance and support as I can. If I can’t, then I will find someone who can.

Lisa Di Battista – Billanook Ward

As a criminologist, I do believe I can improve community safety and security.

Tim Heenan – Billanook Ward

Being one of a team of nine to continue to lead Council through these very difficult times.

Don Di Battista – Melba Ward

Referring to previous responses, I would deliver outcomes worthy of a representative of the community. Having worked as a Civil Engineer for over two decades, including within local government and private consultancy, leading teams of Engineers as well as directly supervising large scale civil projects and infrastructure construction and delivery, I am able to offer to community an informed view on matters raised to or by council, and use my experience to the benefit of the residents of the Yarra Ranges.

I would work with the community to achieve more appropriate decisions and outcomes, and the ‘change’ that has been promised for a long time but never materialised.

Nerida Forster – Melba Ward

CHANGE! people are disillusioned with council. I want to show people how their councillor can be involved and relatable and present and engaged. I want to work with people and be a Force for Good! 

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