Meet the Bellarine ward candidates

Michael Fairweather

With postal voting for Geelong council elections opening this week, the Voice asked Bellarine ward candidates why residents should vote for them.

Stephanie Asher

I was honoured to be elected in 2017 and to be the first Bellarine-based mayor of Greater Geelong. My priority is listening to local voices and helping people with council issues. My passion is improving professional standards and promoting clear and honest communication from council. Local people tell me they want rates spent on shared trails, swimming pools, arts venues, libraries, decent roads and local streetscapes, and our peninsula protected and developed in a respectful, sustainable way. I led unanimous council support for prioritising climate change action and considering sustainability across all activities in the organisation. Critically for the Bellarine, our council also endorsed the Settlement Strategy in 2020 which limits new residential developments outside defined town boundaries. If re-elected, I will continue to protect our unique townships, drive the North Bellarine pool project, create trail links and bike paths, involve local expertise and set higher organisational performance targets.

Michael Fairweather

I am a retired builder living in Portarlington for the past 14 years. I am a member of the local CFA and was on the committee of both the local football and tennis clubs, I am a Justice of the Peace and on the committee of the bequest group for Barwon Health Foundation.I am non-political but will always support the representatives that show that they support their electorate and if asked my preferences will show that. The issues that I feel are significant on the Bellarine are appropriate development – both commercial and residential – tourism, public transport and our council rates.

Jim Mason

Since my election in 2017 as a Bellarine ward councilor, I have worked energetically for the municipality. I have advocated successfully for improved sporting facilities, social, cultural and lifestyle amenities for all, to protect rural and coastal towns, their precious characters and environments and to enhance basic services and infrastructure. I recognise the urgent need for local and global action to reduce profound threats to our climate and biodiversity. I support COVID-19 Recovery Packages which will enable an early return to the 30-year vision and council Plan 2018-22 in 2021. Independent and consultative, I always work in a transparent way and apply evidence-based, scientific criteria to decision making. With rich and diverse leadership experience, in Australia and overseas, I have a professional background in engineering, teaching, environmental science and international relations. If re-elected I will consult, consider and act! Please visit my website for more information:

Corey Wolverton

I am a father of two young children, Ocean Grove resident and social worker. My vision is to keep our community a desirable place to live, with an appropriate strategic vision for town boundaries, community facilities, public transport, walking and bike paths and improved public spaces for leisure activities. I stand with the Greens because I am concerned about environmental degradation and the dire need to create a sustainable future. If elected, my priorities will be: adequate access to community health programs, particularly youth support programs to help young people overcome challenges relating to mental health, education, family and peer relationships; environmental sustainability through renewable energy projects and careful land management that protects biodiversity in our coast, wetlands and reserves; innovative urban design to increase walking and bike paths and improve public spaces. Vote [1] Cory Wolverton for a strong voice for community wellbeing and our environment.

Trent Sullivan

Bellarine residents deserve more services and infrastructure. As your representative, I’ve delivered funding for a new pool, childcare centres, sporting reserves, community hubs, school safety upgrades, senior citizen centres, new playgrounds, streetscapes and I will keep fighting for more. I locked in our town boundaries to preserve our Green Breaks to stop suburb sprawl and keep the Bellarine beautiful. Bellarine ratepayers deserve as much return on their hard-earned dollars as inner-city Geelong residents receive. If re-elected I promise to fight for a greater share of funding for the Bellarine. We need better roads and more footpaths and I will advocate strongly for safer road shoulders and maintenance. We need to be clever and creative about our future. We all live on the Bellarine for what it has to offer. We can increase opportunities and support right here without sacrificing what we already have. I will protect our environment and promote sustainability.

Elise Wilkinson

I am a social worker, mother of two teenage children and have lived with my partner in Barwon Heads for the last 19 years. Population growth, development and the impacts of climate change are significant issues facing the Bellarine. The council has declared a climate emergency. If elected I would say no to behaviours, projects, industries and business as usual and yes to smart urban and rural design for buildings, businesses and communities, focused on water, energy, food, transport, waste and consumption, that creates jobs, regenerates nature and enriches lives. I stand for social justice, equality and accountability in government. Climate crisis is a health and social justice issue and I stand to give voice to those who are impacted but not old enough to vote. This is my first time standing as an independent for Bellarine ward.

Naomi Adams

I have lived in Ocean Grove for 13 years and love the community atmosphere and beautiful environment. I am a psychologist with over 20 years experience in a range of services, including serving Bellarine residents for nine years, and representing my team as a union delegate. Prior to this career, I worked in sales and hospitality sectors. As a wildlife rescue volunteer, I would like to see the Lake Connewarre wetlands become family-friendly, safe, ecotourism locations. I will contribute to the Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) to address backyard breeding, assist with affordable de-sexing, registration and microchipping, and instant re-unification. Council must assist local businesses with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, protect green spaces and wildlife corridors, improve public transport and bicycle tracks, and support environmental projects that address the climate crisis. I will advocate for the well-being of all residents of the Bellarine community, animals and humans alike. Proudly endorsed by the Animal Justice Party, whose values are kindness, equality, rationality and non-violence.

Tom Harrison

I have nominated as a candidate for the Bellarine ward, as I seek to make a positive contribution to our community. I’m running as an independent and will seek to act in accordance with the best interests of all people on the Bellarine. I seek to help support the regional economy, promote sustainable development – ensuring appropriate infrastructure while protecting the natural environment – and ensure maximum value for ratepayers.

Tom O’Connor

I’m running for council to help create a healthy and safe environment for all; to embrace new ideas and better ways to work and to make people the centre of our business. As co-founder of the Bellarine Community Council in 2018, I initiated and coordinated the Plan Bellarine project to help local and state governments to better understand our local issues through community engagement.

I have continued working with community leaders, investor groups and council and government representatives on various projects.

These include the repurposing of the Drysdale Waste facility, recycled water, increased employment opportunities within our tourism industry and support for those less fortunate.

Steve Simmonds

I’m running to stop council waste, return free parking everywhere and secure free hard waste collection. We need more libraries and parks for families to enjoy; you shouldn’t have to drive for a decent playground. Keep boat ramps free and promote our glorious waterways for all uses including water skiing and more. We need to significantly slow down development until adequate provision of infrastructure is made. The current system is failing with ever-increasing traffic problems and the only solution seems to be a speed hump here, a traffic light there and parking meters everywhere. I want accountability returned to public office. We need more off-leash dog areas and dedicated motocross tracks to return.