Biggest candidate forum yet tunes in for election debate

Residents3000 and East Enders hosted their biggest ever meeting on October 1 – a Lord Mayoral meet-the-candidates forum.

Eight Lord Mayoral candidates took turns answering questions at the forum, which was also attended by a number of other residents’ groups, including the Docklands Representative Group, the Parkville Association, Southbank Residents’ Association, South Yarra Residents’ Association and We Live Here.

East Enders president Stan Capp facilitated the meeting, which had more than 160 people in attendance.

“This is a great recognition, might I say, for our eight candidates who have attracted the record for Residents3000 and East Enders,” Mr Capp said.

“Thank you to the eight of you for giving up your time tonight. It’s a unique opportunity that we see, and we look forward to you responding to questions.”

The candidates in attendance were Gary Morgan, Nick Russian, Lord Mayor Sally Capp, Arron Wood, Apsara Sabaratnam, Jennifer Yang, Phil Reed and Kath Larkin.

Questions were put to the candidates about the interests of residents coming out of lockdown, outdoor dining, resident panels, medically supervised injection rooms, homelessness, noise issues and overshadowing.

Resident consultation was an aspect of many of the questions, like one that asked how candidates would consider and consult residents to determine policies like the outdoor dining initiative.

Tension between the current Lord Mayor Sally Capp and Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood became apparent while the questions regarding residents were addressed.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said she wanted to establish a resident’s representative panel, while Arron Wood pointed to the strength of existing residents’ groups and dismissed the Lord Mayor’s idea.  

“Rather than say let’s set up another consultation avenue, let’s actually listen, let’s act and get things done rather than just set up another bureaucratic level that can be bounced around in,” Cr Wood said.

Cr Wood also criticised the processes of resident consultation undergone in preparation for the outdoor dining program as not thorough enough.

Phil Reed, the Labor for Melbourne candidate, was the only candidate in attendance to state in-principle opposition to resident panels and juries.

“I’m not a fan of citizen juries or creating extra layers of bureaucracy like that,” he said.

“I’m a fan of democratically elected councillors doing the job they’re meant to do and being responsible to residents on issues like planning across the board.”

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