Cleeland Ward: Know your candidates

Reza Andesha

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Want to know more about the candidates standing for Greater Dandenong Council?

And what the questions are that these aspiring councillors don’t want to answer?

Apart from deciding how your hard-earned rates are spent, these are the people who make the big decisions about property development in your neighbourhood.

The Star Journal emailed all 67 candidates with questions on their occupations, as well as their business and property interests.

The survey also probed for their political allegiances, campaign donors and their attitudes to property development.

Most were candid but, as the survey responses below show, several candidates took side-steps.

Others did not respond before the 10am deadline on 25 September.

Candidate surveys returned after this date will be added to the Star Journal website at dandenong.starcommunity.com.au

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CLEELAND WARD

Suburbs: Dandenong, Dandenong North (bounded by Sylvia St, Hillside Ave, Heatherton Rd, Clow St, Princes Hwy, Heatherton Rd and Gladstone Rd)

Sitting councillor: Angela Long

Other candidates: Dalibor Saula, Solange Ardiles, Lidia Paul, Hayat Rahimi, Reza Andesha and Madhu Warnakulasuriya

No survey response: Long

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REZA ANDESHA

Suburb of residence:

Dandenong

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

More than 10 years with my wife, Farida and our daughter, Shamim.

Occupation:

Director and owner of Monash painting and renovation services

Director and owner of Shamim Fashion

Chairperson and co-founder of Afghan-Australian Civil Society Organisation (AACSO)

Working with community south link to advocate against family violence.

Business/employer name:

Director and owner of Monash painting and renovation services

Director and owner of Shamim Fashion

Property interests:

N/A

Business interests:

Director and owner of Monash painting and renovation services

Director and owner of Shamim Fashion

Have you run for council/ been a councillor before, or run for any other level of

government? If so, please list details (where, when, length of time, etc).

No.

Are you/have you been a member of a political party? If yes, which party and what faction? If no, what party do you most identify with?

Australian Labor Party.

What councillors, ex-councillors, MPs or ex-MPs have assisted or advised your campaign?

I have engaged with a number of current and former MPs over the past 12 months in the lead up to the election in the south east, to better understand the needs of our community.

What is your campaign budget?

Still to be determined, but am self-funded.

Who are your campaign donors? How much have each contributed?

Self-funded.

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

None.

Who will you direct your preferences to?

Candidates that have the best interests of our community at heart and share my passion and vision for Greater Dandenong.

Describe your involvement in the local community (in 50 words or less):

I’ve had the honour of organising community and sporting events that have brought people together and delivered positive outcomes.

A recent highlight and important cause was raising funds to support our local emergency services, who bravely fought the 2020 Victorian bushfires, where we raised $18,000 with the local Afghan community.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

I want to ensure we have appropriate development and relevant open space for our residents. I share the concerns of our local community about boarding houses.

What type of new development would you support in Greater Dandenong’s Green Wedge (Housing/commercial/recreational/industrial/none)?

I believe we need to protect Greater Dandenong’s Green Wedge land and ensure there is a buffer between housing, commercial and other uses. If there are opportunities in the Green Wedge to provide greater recreation and sporting outcomes, which do not take away from the natural environment and protections, then I am open to this being explored.

Three most important issues for your ward (in 50 words or less)?

1. Supporting our residents, local businesses and communities to come back stronger than ever after the impacts of COVID-19.

2. Build the new Oasis Aquatic Centre to provide first class recreational facilities for Dandenong residents.

3. Build the new Dandenong Community Hub, which will be a home of a range of community, health and recreational activities.

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

I will be strongly advocating for greater council rates relief for our residents, after the impacts of COVID-19. So many residents have been doing it tough and we need to consider ways to take the pressure off them at this critical time. I also want to see more housing, migrant and refugee services and mental health and wellbeing, to ensure we can get people back on track in the near future.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

Spending more time with my daughter Shamim

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SOLANGE ARDILES

Suburb of residence:

Noble Park North

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

2 years.

Occupation:

Not for Profit State Manager

Business/employer name:

GIVIT Listed Ltd

Property interests:

I own property in Noble Park North and have no additional property interests in the area.

Business interests:

I work to support all business growth but have no ties to any specific businesses in the area other than my own consultancy.

Have you run for council/ been a councillor before, or run for any other level of government?

N/A

Are you/have you been a member of a political party?

N/A

What councillors, ex-councillors, MPs or ex-MPs have assisted or advised your campaign?

N/A

What is your campaign budget?

$2000

Who are your campaign donors? How much have each contributed?

Espressito Coffee

The Hour Group

The Sweet Event Cupcakes

These businesses provided support by donating goods for fundraising activities and printing costs.

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

N/A

Who will you direct your preferences to?

Independent candidates

Describe your involvement in the local community:

I have been fortunate enough to work across multiple community networks as a connector and mentor. I believe in solidarity and conversation so have done my best to be involved to support initiatives that encourage access, fairness and progress in our community.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

N/A

What type of new development would you support in Greater Dandenong’s Green Wedge (Housing/commercial/recreational/industrial/none)?

None. I believe its important for the area to remain untouched and only plans for walking, bike and equestrian trails to be encouraged.

Three most important issues for your ward:

The Cleeland Ward needs investment towards safer community spaces, social services and community integration programs. There are multiple concerns regarding antisocial behaviour however I am a firm believer in the need for better access to support services rather than the mentality of deterrence.

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

The economic impact has exacerbated hardship so I support a rates relief initiative for the area. In addition, access to communication is pivotal. Community connections via the internet are instrumental to support connectedness and mental health during this period of isolation and recovery.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

Worm Farming, Campaigning and Knitting.

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DALIBOR SAULA

Suburb of residence:

Dandenong North

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

20 years.

Occupation:

Team leader of an Information Technology team

Business owner at 6AMFilms.com

Business/employer name:

Prominent Cervical and Covid19 Screening Laboratory and Population Health Organisation

6AMfilms.com

Property interests:

Own our family home in Dandenong.

Purchased land in Geelong (not within this municipality).

Business interests:

Business owner of 6amfilms.com which provides services for local businesses to advertise online through video.

Have you run for council/ been a councillor before, or run for any other level of government?

I ran in 2008 and in 2012 for Red Gum Ward, Dandenong when I was much younger.

Are you/have you been a member of a political party?

I’m not a member of a political party. I have however, years ago, been a member of the Labor Party.

What councillors, ex-councillors, MPs or ex-MPs have assisted or advised your campaign?

I have not received any help.

What is your campaign budget?

$4,000

Who are your campaign donors? How much have each contributed?

No donations so far.

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

I don’t have any running mates.

Who will you direct your preferences to?

I am preferencing Madhu WARNAKULASURIYA and Solange ARDILES. I would like to support gender equality in local government.

Describe your involvement in the local community:

Mentoring youth in Information Technology, film and business. I believe in supporting youth to reach their potential and stand on their own feet. I’m committed to keeping our area clean and presentable. I’ve started a gardening youtube channel that promotes growing and understanding food and in particular healthy eating.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

Building medium density apartments outside the immediate CBD area of Dandenong. If we are to protect the green wedge and become a second city then we will at some stage have a more dense population. however, it’s important to build sensibly and plan ahead. Such as parking, traffic flow, services and other considerations need to be made carefully.

What type of new development would you support in Greater Dandenong’s Green Wedge (Housing/commercial/recreational/industrial/none)?

I support the green wedge and open spaces and would not want to see housing on the green wedge areas. However, based on merits I would consider other developments.

Three most important issues for your ward:

The Annual Report states that 40% of people feel safe at night. We need to do more.

Enhance the image and bring Dandenong out of a second class city into a second city.

Upgrade the parks, buildings and sporting facilities so bring it up to standard with other councils.

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

Family income and other stress means business investment, social work and support will be vital. Listening to community needs will be just as vital to make sure we repair what’s actually broken.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

I spend a lot more time with my children and time in the garden.

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MADHU WARNAKULASURIYA

Suburb of residence:

Dandenong

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

13 Years

Occupation:

Solicitor and Barrister

Business/employer name:

Warna Legal

Property interests:

Business interests:

Legal

Have you run for council/ been a councillor before, or run for any other level of government?

NIL

Are you/have you been a member of a political party? If yes, which party and what faction? If no, what party do you most identify with?

NIL

What councillors, ex-councillors, MPs or ex-MPs have assisted or advised your campaign?

NIL

What is your campaign budget?

$5,000.00

Who are your campaign donors? How much have each contributed?

NIL

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

NIL

Who will you direct your preferences to?

NIL

Describe your involvement in the local community:

Running Legal Firm and working very closely with the local residents, having clear understanding about their real needs.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

Non- friendly

What type of new development would you support in Greater Dandenong’s Green Wedge (Housing/commercial/recreational/industrial/none)?

Housing

Three most important issues for your ward?

Immigrant needs, Parking issues, Security

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

Reduce depression of elderly and children

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

Reading and Gardening

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LIDIA PAUL

Suburb of residence:

Dandenong

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

My whole life.

I have lived in Greater Dandenong throughout my entire life and currently reside in Dandenong with my husband and our four children. I have taught mathematics, physics, chemistry and science at various schools including Killester College, Nazareth College, St John’s Regional College, Dandenong High School. I have managed my own migration company since 2009 in Keysborough.

Occupation:

I am a Teacher, Migration Agent, Mechanical Engineer and owner of my own migration agent business.

Business/employer name:

AIMC AUSTRALIAN VISAS

Property interests:

No Property Interests

Business interests:

No Business interests

Have you run for council/ been a councillor before, or run for any other level of government?

Contested last council Elections on 2016 for Red Gum Ward. Did not win

Are you/have you been a member of a political party?

Yes Australian Labor Party

What councillors, ex-councillors, MPs or ex-MPs have assisted or advised your campaign?. No one

What is your campaign budget?

My budget is $7,000 – Self-funded

Who are your campaign donors? How much have each contributed?

My campaign is self-funded and therefore I am paying for all my expenses out of my own pocket. I believe this helps me to connect better with residents on financial issues that they face.

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

no running mates

Who will you direct your preferences to?

At this stage I have still not selected my preferences.

Describe your involvement in the local community (in 50 words or less):

I am currently the president of Lions Club of Dandenong City. I have been involved in the packaging and delivery of food hampers to Cornerstone, Hannover, Bob’s Place, Dandenong High School, Tom Houlahan Centre, Anglicare, Springvale Benevolent Society, and ASRC. During the last 11 years I have organised free dinner meals for Cornerstone and Hanover for local homeless and disadvantaged people. For the last 10 years I have planted trees at Tatterson Park, Tirhatuan Park, Greaves Reserve and Falkiner Reserve.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

Mass medium density housing with poor supportive infrastructure

What type of new development would you support in Greater Dandenong’s Green Wedge (Housing/commercial/recreational/industrial/none)?

I don’t support any housing, commercial, recreational or industrial development within the Green Wedge.

Three most important issues for your ward (in 50 words or less)?

Unemployment is the biggest issue facing Greater Dandenong with the Covid-19 Pandemic. , Parking Spaces, Crime and lack of public transport

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

Cap Council rates- During this difficult time, It is hard for the families to afford higher rates.

More local jobs- should prioritse local residents when hiring for the local jobs whenever it is possible & should invest in local entrepreneurs as they create more employment opportunities

Better Community Service – There is a need for investing in our growing suburbs, and develops the infrastructure including new sporting facilities as it will create more jobs for the locals

Extra funding to direct Community support agencies to assist with food, and shelter, and support for domestic violence agencies. Also, local business stimulus and financial counselling.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

Gardening, going for walks with my two beautiful dogs and spending time with my family.

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HAYAT RAHIMI

Suburb of residence:

Dandenong

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

14 years

Occupation:

Social Worker, Case Manager, refugee rights advocate

Business/employer name:

Self Employed

Property interests:

Own my own house but no other property interests

Business interests:

I am self-employed since 2018.

Have you run for council/ been a councillor before, or run for any other level of government?

I have run for Council in 2016 in Dandenong Council elections.

Are you/have you been a member of a political party?

I am a member of the Australia Labor Party.

What councillors, ex-councillors, MPs or ex-MPs have assisted or advised your campaign?

NA

What is your campaign budget?

My total budget is $5,000.

Who are your campaign donors? How much have each contributed?

No one. I do not accept developer or corporate donations, only donations from community supporters.

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

I have no ‘running mates’.

Who will you direct your preferences to?

I have prepared my how to vote card and I trust voters to make that decision themselves.

Describe your involvement in the local community:

I have been involved with local community groups for 14 years. I have advocated for the community, especially for vulnerable groups such as refugees, new arrivals, survivors of domestic violence, homelessness, sports, and education pathway.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

There are some buildings that have been built with lack of infrastructure support. These buildings have spoiled the look of the city, increased traffic and caused to have less parking spots.

What type of new development would you support in Greater Dandenong’s Green Wedge (Housing/commercial/recreational/industrial/none)?

I support none of the above. Because we must protect the Green Wedge as it plays an important role to protect the environment.

Three most important issues for your ward?

• We need to have more car park spots and FREE CAR PARKS in Dandenong.

• Safer suburbs through better lighting and more CCTV Cameras.

• Equal investment in upgrading and building new community facilities.

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

I will be advocating for state and local grants for small businesses.

Also, I will be advocating for rate relief for those individuals who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

I have had the opportunity to spend more meaningful time with my wife and 3 children. Walking an hour a day, exercising, reading book and watching movies were my other part of the hobbies during the Covid-19 lockdown.

 

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