GOLD Coast City Councillor Eddy Sarroff (pictured) will run for mayor and will do it on a platform of crime fighting and cost cutting after today launching his campaign in front of the Coomera Police Station.

The Gold Coast City Councillor, who will run a self-funded campaign, says cleaning up the city’s image will restore confidence in its key industries of tourism and construction.

First elected in 1995, Sarroff has eight years’ experience heading the council’s financial committee and today vowed to trim the organisation’s running costs by $30 million. He says his business credentials meant he would be the business community’s ‘only friend’ among the batch of candidates, which also included businessmen Tom Tate and former deputy mayor David Power.

What he didn’t expect was fellow mayoral candidate Susie Douglas’ ambush marketing, parking her own election billboard across the road from the police station, but he laughed off the prank.

“My view is, it isn’t about billboards. This election is about leadership. You either have the leadership to go out there and get the job done, or you don’t and I am not running around with billboards, I am not running a funded campaign, I am running on my reputation and ability to do the job.”

Sarroff declared the mayoral office would tackle crime on his watch and this in turn would spur business confidence.

“Make no mistake, a safe community is a prosperous community and it is my view it is the mayor’s role to make sure the Gold Coast remains prosperous,” says Sarroff.

“The tourism industry and the construction industry are crying out for a champion to promote the city, to clean the city’s image and restore confidence - and I will be that champion.”

Sarroff owned and operated an import and export business that employed 15 staff in his early professional life and invested in commercial property on the Gold Coast in the early 1990s, which led to his involvement in the Broadbeach Chamber of Commerce, of which he was president for two years and holds life membership.

“The business community should look at me as not only their friend, but their only friend. I am a business man; I am an investor; I am a family man. I know what is good for business; I know what it is important for the future of my family and the business community. I hope the business community embrace that and I have no doubt they will embrace that.

“You can’t manage and promote a city where there is a perception of crime within the city. I want to stem that perception; I want to face the media and convince the media that this is the best place in the world to do business and to live.”

He intends to bring together law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders like private security firms, licensed venue operators and the community to map out a ‘security strategy’.

“Together we can identify the needs so that we can clean the city in a united approach. That will not be an initiative that will terminate with the election, it will continue for the entire term,” says Sarroff.

He says job creation is another key priority and from investment comes jobs.

“If we are serious about attracting big investments, then we must change the current negative perception of the city, focus our attention on promoting our city’s great attributes – and there are many,” he says.

“From our sporting facilities to the foreshore infrastructure we have, to the hospital and education institutions, we must package all that to start promoting the city.”

Sarroff says Gold Coast City Council must become more efficient to maintain the level of services it has today.

“It is a must if we intend to take pressure off future rates. Council’s operating cost must be trimmed and as mayor it is my intention to ensure we trim council’s operating budget by $30 million and that is a recurrent saving,” he says.

“I will ensure our divisional allocations will be trimmed by $9 million, because financial discipline has to start at the elected representative level and I want to bring that discipline forward through strong leadership.

“I will cut the perks across the organisation, whether it is motor vehicles or whether it is travel. I will ensure that the discipline and efficiencies are driven by the mayor and not by the administration and that is why I am also placing this responsibility with the mayor’s office.”

Sarroff says he delayed his decision to run because he wanted to talk to a wide range of people about issues affecting the city and was confident after those discussions that he would have the support within an elected council to drive his agenda.

“In recent weeks, not only have I spoken with incumbent councillors, I have taken it upon myself to speak to many aspiring candidates and I have outlined the strategy to reduce cost and overheads and I can say to you with confidence that there is a great deal of support to deliver this mandate,” he says.

“I am confident a new council under my leadership will deliver those efficiencies and savings. To those that are opposed to what I am putting forward, my message is get on board or get out of my way.

“I will work tirelessly to do everything possible to meet the challenges ahead, to bring back the pride and to restore the confidence and no effort will be spared in placing the Gold Coast back on its rightful pedestal. I will bring all the threads together to present a united front with vision, with direction and clarity. I will return respect pride and authority back to the position of mayor.”

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