Forbes residents hear candidates

Voters had their first chance to hear from candidates in the upcoming Forbes Shire Council elections on Thursday night, when the newly-formed Forbes Independent Business Association (FIBAI) held its candidates forum.
Nanjing Night Net

About 200 people attended the public meeting at Forbes Services Club, where they heard from nine of the 14 candidates for the Saturday, September 8 election.

Five current councillors, including Mayor Phyllis Miller, Deputy Mayor Graham Falconer and councillors Michael ‘Duke’ Jelbart, Chris Roylance and Rawson Leach, along with new candidate Courtney Hodges did not attend the meeting for various reasons.

Cr Phyllis Miller said she planned to outline her policies at next Thursday’s Forbes Business Chamber ‘meet the candidates’ evening, which will also be held at the Services Club, starting at 6pm.

Forbes Business Chamber secretary Marg Duggan attended this week’s FIBAI public meeting, where she admitted that the organisation was disappointed they were not consulted about a second candidate’s forum.

“We were simply disappointed we weren’t given this opportunity,” Mrs Duggan said.

Mrs Duggan also questioned the new organisation’s longer-term goals, beyond the election.

She said the Business Chamber was a non-political body, which already gave its members access to council and council committees.

“In the past the chamber has met with council to discuss concerns. [We have] met with councillors, the general manager or mayor,” Mrs Duggan said.

FIBAI secretary Graham Haley later addressed the chamber’s questions.

“I don’t think the Business Chamber is the right organisation to ask the questions we are asking or promote our policies,” Mr Haley told the meeting.

“Whilst ever the chamber relies on council for event support and funding, and has committee members close to council, it would be unfair and compromising to the chamber to ask it to be our voice. We don’t consider ourselves to be any sort of splinter group as has been suggested, and we don’t believe our purpose is at odds with the Business Chamber,” he said.

“For those reasons we chose to form an independent group based loosely around members of the 2009 Industry Committee, to ask our questions and promote our policies before the upcoming Council elections. With over 50 members so far and considerable support we represent more than just a handful of people,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, FIBAI president Tim Redfern explained how the new group was formed and its motives.

Mr Redfern said several FIBAI founding members were previously on Forbes Shire Council’s Industry Committee, but left the group in frustration.

Councillor Michael Malloy, Jeff Nicholson, Brian Mattiske, Nathan Smith, Councillor Ron Penny, Yvonne Glasson, Dennis Booth and Tony Cogswell on stage during the Forbes Independent Business Association Inc (FIBAI) public forum on Thursday night. One other candidate was present, Graeme Miller.

“We were invited to participate on this committee for contribution of ideas for industrial development in the town,” Mr Redfern said.

“A major decision was made regarding a land giveaway, without any consultation to the group and [the decision] was against the committee’s thinking,” he said.

“Proceeding from some more decisions that, from our point of view, seem questionable, we have an extended group of people who share the same concerns.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Posted by at 07/05/2018
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