Local through and through

Jason Shepherd runs for council - and Hume too?

A group, partially comprising Labor Party members, is considering running a ticket at the upcoming council election.

But one of its members, Jason Shepherd, who’s also not ruling out a tilt at Hume, insists they’ll be independent.

He and two other possible candidates, former Labor candidate for Hume Robin Saville and cellist Laszlo Strasser, distributed leaflets at last Saturday’s markets.

“We’re considering running for Goulburn Mulwaree Shire (sic) Council and we want to hear from locals what is important to you,” the pamphlet stated.

All three men attended the most recent council meeting. Mr Strasser has twice stood unsuccessfully for Goulburn Mulwaree.

But Mr Shepherd, who’s been a member of the Labor Party for 18 years, told the Post a group ticket was far from assured. If it eventuated, it would include a broad base of community members.

“I really think Council doesn’t need the drama of state and federal politics,” he said.

“It is about getting things done rather than being associated with that drama.”

Mr Shepherd said he hadn’t made up his mind about standing for Hume.

Meantime, the Crookwell product is focusing on his independent campaign for the September 8 elections.

He described himself as a “local boy through and through”.

Mr Shepherd was born in Crookwell, grew up in Binda and has worked as a mechanical engineer and project manager in southeast Asia and many other parts of the world. These days he’s employed with Northrop Consulting Engineers in Canberra, commuting from his Goulburn home, but also regularly working from home.

If elected to Council he would scale back his commitments.

“I’ve always wanted to run for Council. It is about giving back to the community,” Mr Shepherd said.

“When I left school I had to leave town to get an education and afterwards, there weren’t too many jobs in mechanical engineering.

“But about three years ago I looked for the opportunity to come back to Goulburn.”

Now the 41-year-old, wife Nina and two young children are firmly ensconced in the city.

The candidate lists jobs, opportunity and community as his main priorities. Mr Shepherd advocates a balance between development and ensuring adequate services and amenities for residents.

“We need to make it easier for those who have left to come back and work in their chosen fields,” Mr Shepherd said.

“Development, heritage and sustainability can be achieved hand in hand within a budget that doesn’t push struggling families even further to the kerb.

“I know because I do this sort of work everyday and when done right, the community is the winner.”

A decision on the Marketplace redevelopment will fall on the new council.

Mr Shepherd said he wasn’t privy to all information but he’d like to explore options to keep Verner St open rather than jeopardise heritage and the city’s unique street grid pattern.

Uniting community through the monthly markets and a neighbourhood centre acting as a one-stop-shop for groups, information and volunteers are also on his agenda.

He’s keen to snare more specialist doctors here, saving the elderly the expense and stress of travelling to Canberra.

“There is (also) a need to provide a permanent Life Long Learning Centre for older people that will empower them to keep active, out of care and in the community,” Mr Shepherd said.

“There are thousands of over 80s and baby boomers in our community; we need to make sure we care for those valuable and experienced resources.”

He nominated the Sydney Rd intersection near the Masonic Lodge for treatment, ensuring safe passage for the elderly. He supports the wetlands project, native tree planting and solar initiatives.

Mr Shepherd’s promising a fresh set of eyes and the experience of living and working around the world. He says if the ticket eventuates, there are advantages in having “like-minded” individuals on Council.

“It’s easier to have a voice and to get things done if the need arises but that doesn’t mean we will always vote the same way.”

Nominations for the elections open on July 30 and close on August 8.

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