Waverley’s Council’s Labor Party ticket launched their election campaign on Saturday, declaring former Head of SBS Radio Paula Masselos as candidate for Lawson Ward.
The announcement came as Labor revealed their election agenda, focusing on controlling the impact of licensed premises and improving transport accessibility at Rowe St Interchange in Bondi Junction.
The seat of Waverley has traditionally been contested on a knife’s edge, with Council evenly split between two alliances: the Labor-Green candidates and Liberal-independents. Waverley Mayor John Wakefield used Saturday’s Labor function in Bronte to defend his legacy since taking the post from Liberal’s Kerryn Sloan in September 2011.
“Over the space of seven or eight months, I and my colleagues have initiated a series of what we regard as visionary and necessary changes,” Cr Wakefield said. “The visionary ones are those like the opening of the Rowe St Interchange, which is the basis of a future which we hope will give rise to a completely accessible arcade-like structure being built in the side of the Interchange.
Labor view licensed premises as a community issue in need of addressing, especially in relation to the disruptive effect of late night drinking. Opening and closing times of hotels, noise abatement and safety were all labelled as key election priorities.
“All of us like a drink and I don’t think any of us are wowsers,” Cr Wakefield said. “The question is controlling licensed premises and their impact on the community … something the previous Mayoral ticket did not do.
Cr Wakefield pointed to improved disaster recovery processes and pedestrian safety measures as proof of Labor’s success in power.
“In the first week of becoming Mayor we fast tracked close to a $1 million worth of pedestrian safety measures which had been sitting on our books approved, ready to go, but had not been driven by out previous Mayor at all.
Cr Wakefield accused the previous Liberal regime of neglect in the mayoral office.
“When I took over the Mayoralty, I walked into the office and I literally had to clean the dust off the desk,” he said. “There was a report that was three years old sitting front and centre on that desk with dust all on top of it.
“Being the Mayor is not just about going to gigs and having drinks with people, it’s actually about leadership at Council. That had been sorely missing.”
Lawson Labor candidate Ms Masselos has been a resident in the Waverley region for 25 years and was heavily involved in the grass roots campaign to save Tamarama Waterfall.
“This (Bronte) is my home, it’s my sanctuary; it’s a place that brings a lot of joy for me,” Ms Masselos said. “I’ll certainly be working very hard for people to get to know me, get to know who I am and find out what our policies are.”
If elected to Council, Ms Masselos plans to protect and build the diversity of local businesses. She vows to investigate turning parking metres off after 6pm and beautify Waverley Mall.