TOWN planner David Power (pictured) has revealed an audacious mayoral campaign for the 2012 Gold Coast election under the banner ‘Power for the people’ on the day when Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan is to deliver the national budget.
But Power wasn’t going to let that ruin his own push for power, and in front of a full-house at the QT Hotel ballroom in Surfers Paradise, the former deputy mayor outlined his modus operandi and addressed past issues and key objectives as he prepares a run at the top civic job held by incumbent Mayor Ron Clarke.
“I am here today because I share your frustration and I am deeply inspired by your thirst for a clear vision and energy for change,” says Power.
“The Gold Coast has long been regarded as the epicentre of entrepreneurism and small business. A place where families came to enjoy our enviable lifestyle, our climate, our hinterland, our waterways and our golden beaches.
“I have seen firsthand our city grow to become the 6th largest in Australia, and I have seen the establishment of substantial investment in business, property and infrastructure on the Gold Coast. We live in the best corner of the best country in the world, but we are no longer envied because in recent time this city has slowly decayed.
“Instead of being a city where dreams are made, we have become a city where hard working tradespeople have lost hope. A city where families have sent their breadwinners to work in Brisbane and in many cases the mines to keep a roof over their heads. A city whose youth have lost confidence and direction, a city that has been deserted by investment and by investors who have lost faith in our local government leadership and our decision makers.”
Power addressed the CMC debacle in which he was exonerated when pressed by a panel of reporters and says he has no regrets about the so called ‘bloc’ back in 2004.
“There was never an intention to form a bloc, there was an intention to get people that you could work with, that you could have a discussion with and not have personal attacks occurring on the floor of council, which what was happening,” he says.
“It was an attempt to get people whose interests were for the long term of the city, not for the next election. Do I regret it? I will never, ever regret trying to make this city a better place and I will fight to the death to make sure that we do the right thing in the future and I will never regret getting people in there that have the city at their heart rather than votes and popularity.”
Power is confident that he can instil leadership and build cohesion with existing councillors, despite past volatile relationships and the admission that it’s like ‘trying to herd dyslexic cats’.
“If we look at elections in the past, usually there’s about a 30 per cent changeover of councillors and I would expect that to be the same this time,” he says.
“It comes back to understanding what they want, what they respect, but also for them to respect you as a leader. I would never place myself above the collective and the greater good has always been the principle objective. Out of all of the votes over the 17 years (in office), I probably won 97 or 98 per cent of them. I have confidence that people will follow me, simply because they trust me.”
Power says he has not discussed his decision to run for mayor with GCCC CEO Dale Dickson, but reiterated that councillors are the ‘primary caretakers of the city’.
“I haven’t had discussions with Dale, but one thing is certain coming up to the election is that the objectives of the council and the objectives of the people through the vote is going to be very clear for those that are left,” he says.
Dickson told Gold Coast Business News: "It is not my practice to comment on the policy positions of mayoral candidates, or the merits of their candidature."
On the subject of rapid transit, Power says if the infrastructure is not extended to the south, north and west, it will ‘just be a toy’. He says without it, Surfers Paradise, Southport and Broadbeach would grind to a halt.
“The answer is simply, we need to change the way we move about the city, otherwise we will hit gridlock by 2016. Disruption to business will be far in excess of the temporary nature during this construction process,” he says.
If elected, Power will also enforce councillors to make regular inspections of the entire city so that they get to ‘believe in it’.
“At the moment, they only believe in their own backyard,” he says.
Power says he will also work to mend council’s fractured relationship with State Government to ensure continued large scale infrastructure projects and work with the tourism and property industries to bolster growth.
Other 2012 candidates to have thrown their hats in the ring include businessman Tom Tate and Surfers Paradise councillor Susie Douglas.
Cr Eddie Sarroff is yet to declare his hand either way, while former federal MP Margaret May has withdrawn from the race.
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