Yarraman Ward: Know your candidates

Jet Saliu

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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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YARRAMAN WARD

Suburbs: Noble Park, Dandenong West (bounded by Princes Hwy, Robinson St, Potter St, Railway Parade and Bowmore Rd)

Sitting councillor: None

Candidates: Jonathan Ichim, Ahmed Shukri, Cam Dang, Gul Rahman Taniwal, Jet Saliu, Eden Foster, Ravi Shankar and Hengshan Chen

No survey responses: Dang, Taniwal, Shankar

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JET SALIU

Suburb of residence:

Dandenong

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

30 years

Occupation:

Self Employed

Business/employer name:

Property interests:

I own my home in Dandenong

Business interests:

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?

NO

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

No

What is your campaign budget?

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

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

Who will you direct your preferences to?

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

I have always supported local small business because it supports our local economy. Many of my achievements have resulted from assisting businesses to start their journeys.

The community needs representation from someone who listens, understands, and can make the right contributions at council level.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

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

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

The social, economic and employment effects of Covid-19 on the local community.

Requirement of further safety and security measures around the local communal and recreational areas, including Hemmings Park.

A strong look at the accessibility and availability of basic amenity.

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

Incentives to stimulate small business would be a fantastic way to spark more life into the local economy. We must also look at support towards residents through rate relief and through an increase in efficiency at a council level to assist with a speedy economic recovery out of Covid-19.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

Spending more time in the backyard doing gardening has been great, especially since the weather has gotten a little nicer.

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EDEN FOSTER

Suburb of residence:

Noble Park

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

38 years

Occupation:

Secondary School Psychologist

Business/employer name:

St Aloysius College

Property interests:

none

Business interests:

none

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

No

Political party:

Recently joined the Labor Party Noble Park Branch as I was brought up by my mum with Labor values. Not part of any faction. Running independently.

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

Former Mayor and Councillor Roz Blades AM has given me advice and encouragement.

Campaign budget:

I’m self-funded (approx. $1500)

Campaign donors:

No donors.

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

Don’t have any

Who will you direct your preferences to?

Ahmed Shukri

Involvement in the local community:

My mum raised me locally on her own. I went to school in Noble Park and worked in Dandenong. I helped set up “Young Vinnies” volunteer charity group in Noble Park in 2013 and was President. I’m determined that young people have the same opportunities I had growing up here.

‘Inappropriate development’ in your ward:

The extensive development of townhouses and units in small streets such as French St Noble Park, resulting in traffic congestion and parking problems for local residents.

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

I support protecting our community’s green spaces. I don’t support extensive housing development in the green wedges and would consider any new planning proposals on their merits.

Three most important issues for your ward:

Youth services need to be improved to help keep young people engaged, creating greater opportunities.

Seniors need to be better supported, especially those living alone.

Improved community safety and public spaces in our area is vital, including traffic and roads, parklands, better street lighting and cooperation with Victoria Police.

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

Greater support services for people who are isolated and living alone.

Checking in on elderly residents regarding their safety and linking them in with relevant supports to keep them connected.

More support for local business to create jobs for local residents once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

Reading, card making and jigsaw puzzles!

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JONATHAN ICHIM

Suburb of residence:

City of Greater Dandenong

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

All my life.

Occupation:

Business/employer name:

Property interests:

Business interests:

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

No

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

I am not a member of any political party.

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

None

What is your campaign budget?

Completely Self-Funded

Who are your campaign donors?

None

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

None

Who will you direct your preferences to?

Unsure, still getting to know all the candidates

Describe your involvement in the local community:

I have been involved in the local soccer club which has given me the drive to represent my community in a different way. Its important to have good representation that has a passion for helping people.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

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

Three most important issues for your ward:

1. Crime is out of control in the Dandenong west area. It’s important to have residents feel safe in our community.

2. An upgrade to existing parks ad reserves

3. Getting through covid-19 for residents and businesses

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

Extra grants to support community organisations to be covid ready, but also support businesses and residents through rate relief

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

Along with keeping fit and doing exercise, I have started cooking more, which is great fun.

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AHMED SHUKRI

Suburb of residence:

Noble Park North

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

26 years

Occupation:

Small Business Operator

Business/employer name:

Blue Rock Consulting PL

Property interests: none

Business interests: none

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

Never been a candidate of any sort, first time running.

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

ALP

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

Spoken to majority of the incumbent councillors prior to nominations

What is your campaign budget?

I am trusting on my existing relationships with the local community. $2,500

Who are your campaign donors?

I am not accepting outside donations from corporations, real estate developers, businesses, and any donations with a conflict of interest, thus only took donations from family and friends only.

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

Independent candidate, no running mates.

Who will you direct your preferences to?

I’ll allow the voters to make their own informed decisions based on candidate policies.

Describe your involvement in the local community:

I have been an active volunteer and community mobiliser since 2006. I am the founding director at Victorian Youth Support Services Association (VYSSA) an outreach mentoring & support focused youth organization for disadvantaged youth and South Eastern United Soccer (popularly known as South Eastern Panthers FC). Launched the first African Australian Students Learning Support Pilot Program with Lyndale Secondary College. Executive member African Australian Leadership Forum and ordinary member of SMRC.

www.facebook.com/vyssainc

www.facebook.com/southeasternunitedsc

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

High density housing developments in Noble Park, leading to insufficient parking space, traffic issues, safety for local children

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

The Green Wedge should be a protected space for the residents of Keysborough and City of Greater Dandenong. The residents of Keysborough deserve their voices to be heard and should be consulted.

Three most important issues for your ward?

1. Improved council services for families, youth, aged and all abilities

2. Infrastructure and facilities upgrade to our precincts (Hemmings St) open spaces and parks.

3. Continued support during and post COVID for the vulnerable, rate payers and small business.

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

1. Small Business Assistance packages

2. Rates and Rent Relief

3. Access to mainstream services for the CALD communities.

4. Access to Quick Response Grants to our community groups in supporting vulnerable residents.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

Walks at the park and shooting hoops at the local basketball facility.

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HENGSHAN (ERIC) CHEN

Suburb of residence:

Dandenong West

How long have you lived in Greater Dandenong?

3 years since June 2017

Occupation:

Migration Agent

Business/employer name:

Self Employed

Property interests:

Owner Occupier

Business interests:

N/A

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

First time candidate, Fresh ideas

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

No, I am an Independent Candidate.

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

Mathew Kirwan advices me on how to register on the VEC candidate.

What is your campaign budget?

$500~$1000

Who are your campaign donors?

Self funded, no campaign donors.

Which candidates are your ‘running mates’?

I have not chosen a running mates yet but will decide soon after talking to other candidate with similar visions.

Who will you direct your preferences to?

I will preference another candidate after they become my running mate. The most important is to choose another candidate with a similar vision for Yarraman ward.

Describe your involvement in the local community:

Most of my neighbours on the street are migrants like myself. They work hard to give their families a better life in Australia. But they could not read and write in English.

I took their blessing and submitted our opinions on Dandenong Council’s C213 Planning amendment hearing. We have seen the red tape and a bureaucracy who does not want to listen to migrants from a non-English speaking background.

I also invite the council to add new street lighting at our end of the street. This is the kind of attention only given by the owner occupiers, not the renters.

Example of ‘inappropriate development’ in your ward?

Over-crowded rooming houses has caused significant safety problems in Dandenong West. Families are moving out because of fear. Although it is a State-controlled policy, Yarraman residents need a stronger voice to lobby both the state and local council. Otherwise no one else will care Yarraman. I would kindly urge resident to vote for me to lobby the state and local government. In Australia, it is policy-driven governance.

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

I would support a mixture of new development of Housing/Recreational and Industrial zone in Greater Dandenong’s Green Wedge zone. Because Industrial zone bring more jobs and new housing can keep workers living locally, with more time for family life and spending locally. That makes a balanced eco-system for a progressive Greater Dandenong. Recreational needs must be included to prevent over-development.

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

• Cap the rooming houses in Yarraman ward

• Keep the working families living locally by building more townhouses

• Better planning policy to align private investment to the local demographic changes, just putting in more cameras and calling the police would not have the same results.

What extra Covid-19 relief does your community need?

Mental health problems need more attention in post Covid-19. Keeping busy and having a schedule are important. Locking down people in their houses is not the best policy however we should support the government’s efforts as Victorians.

Your Covid-19 lockdown hobby?

During the lockdown, I enjoy daily walks at Eastlink trails and parks. I also spent time sitting for the Migration Agent Capstone test. Australia need more migrants and I can be a bridge from Australia to China and the rest of the world.

 

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