Councillor for Byron Shire
I am committed to The Greens’ fundamental objectives of promoting social, economic and political change in accordance with our four wonderful principles. On Council, I represent people who share those objectives.
Duncan is a grandparent and has lived in Main Arm, 10km west of Mullumbimby, since 1994. He is a chartered Civil Engineer specialising in hydrology and has worked on aid projects in Mozambique, PNG and Timor-Leste.
He previously served two years on Byron Council 2002-2004. In the 1990s he campaigned to protect the Brunswick River and in the 2000s to expose Woolworths’ rough-shod arrival in Mullumbimby.
Duncan’s life experiences include two years within his profession of “water engineer” volunteering in the front-line state of Mozambique followed by six years raising a son and teaching English in Austria. Both drove him enthusiastically into politics when he joined the Byron Greens group as it commenced and as he returned to Australia in 1993.
He first stood for and won office in 2002, in a by-election for Byron Shire Council. That two-year experience made it easy to return in September 2012 for a four-year term. Prior to that, Duncan was well known locally for campaigning in the 1990s to protect the Brunswick River. To his horror its estuary was the end station for urban sewage from Mullumbimby. He says “I learnt a lot about sewerage and the powers that be”. He was also part of Mullumbimby’s campaign in the mid 2000s to keep Woolworths out. By the time Woolies won in court, Mullum had learnt so much about big supermarkets and had strengthened its resolve for local shopping. The framers market there is now awesome.
Duncan is a grandparent and has lived in Main Arm since 1994. He is a Civil Engineer specialising in hydrology and works ‘freelance’, mostly from his rural home office. Duncan says “I am committed to the fundamental objectives of The Greens namely to promote social, economic and political change in accordance with our four wonderful principles. On Council, I want to represent people who share those objectives.”
He was born and educated in Sydney, then lived in Darwin, Brisbane, Mozambique, Austria and East Timor. He’s travelled in many more places including most of NSW, and of Australia and through southeast Asia to Europe.
About his aspirations on Council, Duncan says “I proudly carry the Greens banner. I like our principles and will demonstrate to Greens believers and non-believers alike that they work. I want to be part of the Greens team and to get results for us (the community and the planet).”
Duncan’s priorities in 2012 were to improve the relationship with Council’s bureaucracy and thus get better value for the community by
- Appointing a GM who will manage for us;
- Setting staff fewer and better-defined tasks and monitoring results;
- Insisting on good governance.
He also stated that he wanted to:
- Treat developers fairly - tell them when they’ve got it right or what they’ve got wrong.
- Get the LEP finished, with Environmental zonings that reflect our local needs while still preserving and enhancing biodiversity (and all of natural life).
- Pay more attention to legal cases.
- Make the annual Budget and Management Plan reflect our community’s aspirations.
- Encourage festivals but hold site owners to their obligations to respect the environment.
- Fast track a Local Preference Policy and support local enterprises (surf schools, markets, etc).
- Sort out holiday letting and beach preservation in Byron Bay.
- Review the Marshalls Creek Floodplain Management Plan - update it to the new survey.
- Draw on community input through Advisory Committees.
- Let the community know what its Council is doing.
- Encourage visitors to contribute towards the infrastructure they use.
- Encourage alternative transport including light rail, bicycles, park & ride, etc.
- Get better value on road construction and maintenance.
- Introduce a Policy on public and private road drainage that puts less gravel into our creeks.
- Assist northern villages to create a town plan.
- Bring the sportsfield at Billinudgel to fruition.
- Deal with State Govt plans to take over any lucrative public land, and to sell off others.
- Make waste collection work and minimise input to a new tip.
- Minimise herbicide usage by Council, on public land and eventually on private land.
Half way through his term, many of these ambitions have been achieved or are well under way.