Even though Yarrawonga’s Judy Heather isn’t currently a Moira Shire Councillor she is no stranger to the government body, having been an elected council representative in 2012.
Despite her passion for the role, Judy was forced to step down from council during her time due to prolonged ill health but now enjoying better health she is ready to put her ‘hat back in the ring’.
“I am already familiar with the way council works and during my time away from the shire chambers I have studied and learnt a lot about current council functions and have kept abreast of the issues,” Ms Heather said.
“I have had people approach me about going back on council and I still have an overwhelming passion for representing the local people.”
Born and raised in the district Judy has a passion for helping the community which has been inbred in her since she was a young child growing up in St James.
“My family (Church and Cooper families) were early settlers to the area and we have a long list of individuals who continue to pour their heart and soul into their communities. So, I think this maybe where my passion comes from.”
According to Judy, Moira Shire Council needs to get back to local issues and listen to what the people want.
“For example, we have a local issue in Yarrawonga with the much-valued Yarrawonga Community Hall planned to be demolished when many local residents are against it.
“I understand we need a new library but there are other locations it could be built such as the old primary school site.”
Judy believes we all have a role to play and we should be non-political and focussed on what our local communities want.
“We need to support our residents and not work against them and come up with a solution for all.”
“Council can’t also forget the small things that need to be addressed and supporting people with the basic things are what our rate notices are for, not the extra special services that aren’t immediately necessary.
“It seems to me community consultation has dropped off and council seems to now represent only what they think the community wants.
“I believe in fairness transparent governance, not hidden from the communities it effects.
“But having said that she would like to see more of the rates generated from the east side of the shire spent in the east side of the shire.
“My reasoning for this view is that Yarrawonga and surrounding areas generate a large portion of the shire’s rates and therefore the same area also has the potential of attracting greater numbers of tourists and permanent residents that will in return put Moira Shire on the map.
“All areas will then benefit, especially now that holidaying within our beautiful country will be the way of life for some time to come.
“we need to unite across the shire to make Moira as a whole destination.
“Smaller rural communities deserve to have the same maintenance on their infrastructure and be provided access to services required to have the same standard of living as the major towns, but with a level of financial support so projects such as the Silo Art Trail can grow and generate the local economy. “
Judy, who is in her late 50s, said age, gender or education level should not be a barrier for candidates, support but not through quotas on any of these groups.
“I would like to encourage more women to stand as we currently have low numbers,” she added. “Being a councillor is listening to the people you represent, both the majority and the minority. Candidates must still earn their spot.
“It is an honour and a privilege and if I am elected I will always be available for people to come to me and discuss their issues.”
During these uncertain and challenging times Judy urges all Moira Shire residents to take the opportunity to study the candidates fully for this upcoming election and vote for the right people that best represents them.
The Moira Shire Council election will be held via postal voting, with voting closing at 6pm Friday, October 23, 2020.