Thursday 10 January 2008

A fresh face for Division 5

Some commenters on CairnsBlog have been asking "Where are the candidates?"

In response, here's the first of a number of articles to introduce the new faces that you will see contesting this upcoming Council election.

Richie Bates is running in Division 5 for the Cairns Regional Council elections.

Richie has spent the last month campaigning in inner suburbs of Cairns.

"I have been spending a great of time prior to Christmas getting out and meeting people, says Richie Bates.

The new Division 5 will be a a key seat to watch. WIth 8,857 voters registered, this is the second highest out of the 10 new divisional boundaries, and around 5% more constituents than the remaining.

There are also a number of 5 indigenous camp dwellers on the roll within the division. "I'll be walking down to meet them as well, and won't be talking about pulling down their home like Mayor Byrne," said Bates.

Along with the central business district, suburbs of Portsmith, Bungalow, Paramata Park, Westcourt and also some of Manunda, Mooroobool, Manoora suburbs are included.

The new boundary boarders at Grove, Gatton, Hoare, Reservoir, Irene, Beatrice, Mulgrave, and Lyons Streets, out to the Cairns Esplanade.

Sitting Councillors Kathy Plath and Alan Blake are expected to run in the division, along with Cairns 1st's Richie Bates. There is also a possibility of 2004 Council hopeful Thelma Spelta putting her name up again.

Richie Bates has already taken to the streets, getting to know what makes up the new division. He has been a resident of Cairns for 20 years, and residing in Morehead Street, Bungalow.

"I intend to knock on every door in this Division over the next two months and meet as many of the residents," says Bates who has a reputation for grassroots communication.

Bates has been involved in employment advocacy through union representation. He is a senior telecommunications technician with Queensland Rail, where he has been for 17 years.

Bates has a positive and respected community reputation around Cairns. When CairnsBlog talked to a number of people from the cycling and union fraternities, they talked of someone with a passion for listening and commitment to help people.

"He is a person who is very warm and positive. He believes in a community and the contribution people make to it," said Maurice Millner. "As this is the time for a fresh new Council, Richie will be a storing advocate for the residents."

He is also on the executive committee of the Yorkeys Knob Residents' Association, where he has been a resident and owns a property.

Bates helped develop trade progression, training and assessment with employees at Queensland Rail, and was successful in negotiating agreements. He is also a Rail national council delegate for the Australian Rail Tram and Bus Union.

In 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports medal for contribution to cycling and gained the Masters Track Cyclist of the Year in 2003. A passion and a lifetime commitment to sport, he sees many areas where Council can play a more active role in promotion.

"Firstly, I will re-establish the Sport, Arts Cultural and Community Services committee that this current mayor terminated," he says. "When the mayor axes something as important to the community as sport from the Council benches, it's time to change the direction," he says.

"We also need an integrated cycle network and this will be a high priority in the first term of our new Council." As Cairns Cycling Club President, Bates has developed and conducted school cycling clinics program for schools are the region.

"In door knocking I've met and listened to a number of issues," he says. "The response I have had so far has been very good, there seems to be a definite mood in the community for change."

"Residents seem particularly concerned over the degree of commitment to the job the current Councillor displays. Many have expressed that current Councillor Plath has been missing in action throughout the last four years!"

"If elected, I will work as a full-time Councillor, seeking out and addressing the issues and concerns of those residents who I represent."

On Christmas Eve, he visited Farnorha Retirement Community and the Coral Sea Gardens Retirement Village.

“It was a special time to meet and chat with these elderly residents and it highlighted the important role they have played and continue to play in our community".

"I am running a community-focused ‘meet-the-people’ campaign right up to polling day on March 15. I plan to knock on every single door in the division and will not rest until the job is done".

When CairnsBlog pressed the question on everyone's lips: "Was your school boy nickname Master Bates? Richie said "No comment". He appears to have already learnt the 101 of dealing with media.

Richie Bates has a two children - Drew aged 14, and Ruby aged 8.

You can contact Richie Bates via email or telephone 4035 5593 or 0429 496 882. Or log onto his website.

NB: All candidates for the upcoming Council elections
are invited to tell their story on Cairns
contact me via email.


Anonymous said...

This must be a joke?

Please where are the other candidates?

Anonymous said...

No more a joke than the current clowns we have running our Council.
The likes of Sheppherd (who forgot to file 7 tax returns in a row, Bonneau who doesn't know the difference between private and public meetings, all the Councillors who voted for False Cape development approval and now have blood on their hands), our Mayor who thinks all creeks are drainage easments.
Want me to keep going.....