Labor announces first candidate for Council election

On September 12 this year all Council’s in NSW, including those on the Coffs Coast, will hold elections for a new Council.

Recently Woolgoolga local Tony Judge announced he would be running as a Country Labor candidate for the Coffs Carbour City Council.

Mr Judge, who was the ALP candidate for Coffs Harbour in last March’s state election said he didn’t believe that people who are party members should be running as independents and should be up front about their affiliations

Tony Judge will be running for the Coffs Harbour City Council under the Country Labor name in September this year.

Mr Judge said a key reason he was running for Council was because he believed there needs to be more openess around Council decisions than has been the case.

He highlighted as a key example of what he considerd to be Council opaqueness to be the controversy around the deal to sell water from Woolgoolga Dam to Costa berries which was announced without the apparent involvement of elected officials prior to last Christmas.

He says many of those calling for more transparency on the deal are often labelled as anti-blueberries but that this is not always the case.

In a comment to the Coffs Coast Advocate, published in the hard copy of the newspaper today, Mr Judge said “I’m frustrated every time somebody puts their hand up and says there needs to be more scrutiny, people promote it as being anti-blueberries or anti-farmer but I am neither of those things. I just want more transparency about how things are working.

“Residents aren’t opposed to water going to farms that need it, but they are frustrated at the process where deals are done with no apparent public scrutiny.”

Coffs Harbour City Council is moving ahead with plans to sell water from the Woolgoolga Dam to farmers.
Coffs Harbour City Council is moving ahead with plans to sell water from the Woolgoolga Dam to farmers. – Photo – Coffs Coast Advocate

Mr Judge is strongly of the belief that there is a currently a lack of balance on the Council.

He said a classic example of this was that often the one councillor who seemed to be out there voting by herself was Sally Townley.

In relation to the divisive proposed Cultural and Civic Space in Gordon Street Mr Judge said he believed it was potentially a good proposal in that it might bring tourists in when the by-pass becomes operable but that he would need to see more on the financials of the proposal.

Coffs Coast Outlook understands other candidates may well run for Council under the Country Labor ‘banner’ too.

7 thoughts on “Labor announces first candidate for Council election

  1. Tony may well make a good councillor but I’m unsure as to why he thinks, after completion of the by-pass, that tourists would turn off the highway to visit a nice building that contains council offices located in a not so nice street.

  2. Tony seems a decent man and his experience in the public sector would be an asset to him. I do hope he is able to inform himself further regarding Gordon Street. Not just the financial issues but also the myriad of practical and social issues.

    Perhaps he could also consider how a larger stand alone cultural precinct might better serve the tourism industry across the region rather than a civic building designed to service and corral people in the CBD.

  3. Tony, I think you are an intelligent man and good on you standing for Council.
    BUT Tony, why do you think that Council offices in Gordon Street is a good thing for our city ?
    Why do you think spending close to $100 million is a good thing for our city ?
    You do realise surely that the addition of Council offices is completely unnecessary and if it were just an Art Gallery and Library, the opposition to the current plan, and you are aware the plans received over 15,000 signatures on the petition objecting to them, most objectors would soon fall away.
    The opposition to Gordon Street has been misrepresented by Council and some vested interests as a complete opposition to the Arts and Library component, when in fact the major opposition has been to the Council Executive slipping into the plans, offices for itself rather than what the community wants and that is a new Regional Gallery, Library and Entertainment Centre, run by Council and not the CEX Club.
    As we have seen in other nearby Council’s, there have been some Councillors getting involved in OUR Council’s affairs who are ALP members and attempts to influence the outcome at Gordon Street are not welcomed.Those Councils have their own problems to contend with without them spending energy on ours.

    I would have thought that as good ALP member your priority would be to NOT support the Council spending so much ratepayer money on their offices, while ever we have hundreds homeless living in our city, some less than a few hundred meters from Gordon Street at the Community Village.

    Perhaps there is time for you to have a rethink of what your platform and priorities will be if you wish to be elected as a Coffs Harbour City Councillor?

  4. My observation: Tony Judge is a very nice man and, possibly, (I don’t know him), comes across as an inherently decent human being BUT, my BUT comes in because Coffs Harbour is currently in a most dreadful state and I think the City needs very, very, VERY TOUGH leadership to dig itself out of the hole that it is in.

    If Coffs Harbour fails to get that leadership at the next election it will be HALF A CENTURY before it gets another go at it. That is the “reality”. In the interim, the PEOPLE will pay the price.

    PS: I don’t know whether Tony Judge has ever worked on a major property project but I am prepared to put my good name on the line re: the GORDON STREET PROPOSALS. This project, in its current form, will bankrupt the City of Coffs Harbour.

    When I am long gone. These words will haunt your City if this project proceeds “in its current form”. All the nonsense about “we will get a GRANT” is pure NONSENSE. GRANTS are PUBLIC MONEY.

    GRANTS are NOT “GIFTS”. GRANTS need to be repayable to the public otherwise our nation suffers as a whole. The current system of throwing money willy nilly at just about anything – ASIDE FROM THE ARTS & MORE ESPECIALLY AT OUR OBSESSION WITH SPORT – to do nothing other than win votes, is doing our nation the most horrendous damage, from a reputation and a financial perspective. Far too frequently, we fail to see the diamonds that lie beneath our feet.

  5. If Tony Judge thinks that throwing $100m at a public building which is not necessary at the expense of other much needed community infrastructure and social needs, I would say he does not fully understand the foundation of Labor philosophy or ideology.

    In other words it would appear he is batting for the wrong team.

    Perhaps after retiring as a federal public servant and unsuccessfully contesting the last election he is just suffering from irrelevance syndrome.

  6. I completely agree with Janne.Firstly CHCC needs some very strong leadership.I am not sure if we have the calibre of leadership to lead us into the future.

    Could we not ask the question of future councillors/leaders “What are your top ten suggestions for improving Coffs Harbour?

    “What are you short and long term suggestions /plans to bring it into the 21st century.Please don’t mention the old chestnuts kerb and guttering and the bypass.

    The bypass exemplifies the problem with Coffs Harbour, procrastination for nearly 30 years.It is criminal that it has taken so long,it has ruined this town and turned us into the laughing stock of regional NSW.

    Coffs Harbour needs vision. Why not consult ratepayers on affordable projects for the region? Possibly projects that promote sustainable employment in the long term.

    Regional Australia is destined to become a basket case with very tough drought/ depressed economy.We cannot just rely on the geographical beauty of this area. We are destined to become a necropolis.The ratepayers have spoken on the cultural centre.


    The other issued mentioned was grants.These grants are fraught with problems,as recently shown. Geoffrey Watson ICAC commented saying they are flawed. Kevin Hogan the member for Page said his 7 grants were beyond reproach/ scrutiny.

    No BBQ for the Cronulla sailing club there!!. The fixation on sports grants is just bizarre ,with youth unemployment at over 25%.
    I believe we need a major overhaul of grants project in all areas.They are a like a third world temporary approach to regional economies.They encourage a culture of laziness/indolence and nepotism.

    I have personally seen huge wastage of taxpayers money on very dubious projects and a ridiculous level of bureaucracy.The bureaucrats act like it is coming out of their own pocket, to justify their jobs. But not in good way.

    The projects are rarely assessed for value for money or audited for success after completion. The same contractors are generally awarded the grant money,even with some dodgy tendering.

    We need a major overhaul of grants, not the band aid short term approach.The drip feeding of regional economies with grants is a failed model.

  7. Taken in total, the comments above reflect a range of thinking in relation to “Knight’s Castle”, the on-going CHCC debacle, and raise questions about the state of our nation’s political system, from the ground up.
    John Christie suggests that few tourists will choose to leave the bypass in order to visit The Edifice. He’s right. Common sense tells us so.
    Ann Leonard suggests that a dedicated cultural centre, outside the madness of the CBD, stands a better chance of attracting tourists. She’s right. Common sense tells us so.
    Rob Trezise, Janne Lindrum, CLB and John Cleese highlight the fact that self-interest and political interference have created the current mess that is the CHCC. They’re right. Common sense tells us so.
    If what we need is strong, independent, creative leadership in council, we need to elect people who will put the interests of residents ahead of everything else, including political party affiliation.
    It’s the “party system”, aided by unethical lobbying practices, vested interests and corruption a la Bridget McKenzie, which has effectively destroyed Australian democracy at state and federal levels.
    The last thing we need in Coffs Harbour is a councillor whose allegiance is split between his party and the people. Common sense tells us so.

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