G'day neighbours!   I've created this website to give you some idea of who I am and what I'm about.  I've developed Policy in many areas which I hope you'll explore and if you have any questions or feedback, please contact me through the CONTACT page, or contact info at the bottom of the website.

My Facebook page is the place to find me for a public discussion or debate, which I’m happy to have so long as we’re all friendly neighbours. Criticism of any of my Policies is also welcome on my Facebook page so long as it’s a civil critique and you’re willing to have the debate.

 

 

I like to make evidence based decisions. If I can be persuaded with evidence to change my position on any subject, I embrace it--I embrace the change.

Why does a nice girl like you want to get elected to a place like that?

This is a good question and I get asked it fairly often. 

I was born and bred on the Island. I went to kindergarten and school on the Island. In fact, the first time I got socially activated was when the Cowes Primary School fire happened; My brother and I bought a brick with our pocket money and some help from my Dad. Bass Coast, and more specifically, Phillip Island, is my home.   Unlike most of my age peers who are beginning careers and families and have neither the time nor the energy to care much about let alone get involved in Council, I do care to get involved and I have the time.   

 

My generation will be dealing with the consequences of decisions made in the next four years for the next seventy years, and it may be worse for our children and grandchildren for ever after.   While I'm still young and naive enough to believe we can actually make a difference in averting the worst effects of the Climate Emergency, it makes sense to me to put my hand up now rather than wait until I'm approaching retirement to try and do anything. 

 

And of course, there's a Pandemic wreaking havoc in our local economy.  I'd like to try and help minimise the damage, given that I'll be experiencing that damage for decades.   

Growing up as the daughter of a single dad who was also a Bass Coast Councillor I spent my formative years attending all manner of Council related meetings and functions.  I saw at first hand how tough this job can be. I know how many hours need to be put in, how many kilometres need to be travelled, how many documents need to be read, how many meetings, briefings, workshops, consultations and events need to be attended.   I know how often people ring at 7am and how often Australians feel entitled to give their Councillors an extremely hard time when out in public, regardless of whether it's an appropriate occasion.   I know that Bass Coast Shire Councillors don't have days off unless they literally go away for holidays.   I'm expecting the challenge and I'm more than up for it.

 

This unusual upbringing and deep familiarity with Council operations and processes left me with the most useful skill set of any Council candidate regardless of age;  Council is Government, not Business. I spent seven years in the Council Chambers watching how Council worked.   I’m very familiar with the management structures and processes of Local Government, and have significantly more relevant experience than other, older candidates who, up till now, have not attended a Council Committee Meeting or Policy Workshop. I know I can hit the ground running and achieve results faster than other candidates because I already know the system.

 

For example, I know that Councillors are only responsible for two things: Policy and Budget. At least several of the current Councillors, despite decades of business experience, and in one case, experience in Local Government long ago, were surprised upon election to learn that they couldn’t simply tell the staff what to do. I already understand what Local Government can and cannot do, and have a realistic understanding of the actual work involved in achieving goals through the Budget and through Policy.

 

Council needs to take seriously its own Climate Emergency Declaration by becoming completely Carbon Neutral.  This is non-negotiable. Many decisions across Council's operations, noticeably in Capital Works, will flow from and be effected by a real commitment to Carbon Neutrality. 

 

We need to recognise our fabulous local artists, enliven the community and stimulate the Hospitality sector by hosting Arts and Cultural Events and by encouraging Public Art.

 

We need to explore new and creative ideas to begin to address the Housing Crisis in Bass Coast, especially in light of the Pandemic.   Normal assistance provided by NGO's to those in marginal housing has been limited due to Covid-19 restrictions, and the Homeless have been effectively abandoned.   Council has certainly handballed responsibility and shown no leadership on this issue.   

 

Most importantly, Council needs to ensure that as many Bass Coast businesses as possible remain afloat and profitable after the Pandemic.  This means adopting an Emergency Pandemic Budget focusing on Commercial Rate Relief and on an Events Strategy designed to attract low number/high value tourists back to the Shire.  It also means we need to find alternate sources of revenue and become less reliant on Rates and unpredictable Government Grants.  Please read my Pay-to-Park Policy to see where some of that new revenue can come from and how it will benefit you.

 

COVID-19 is new but most of these are old problems. They've been problems for years. Other candidates in other races have spoken about these issues before and Council after Council have promised to get serious about doing something.    The 'same old, same old' has not done anything to change any of the issues we face.

 

The reason I am running for Island Ward in the 2020 Bass Coast Shire Election is because I firmly believe that it's high time we tried something new, and I believe that I am the right person to help lead Council in a different, better direction.

Authorised by:

Mikhaela Barlow

57 Tampa Road,

Cape Woolamai, 3925
 

Call: 

0473 490 050