On the hustings

Perth candidates

SIXTEEN candidates are vying for four vacant seats on Perth council, with voters forced to the ballot box for the second time in just a year to get back into the regular election cycle.

All four incumbents with a shortened one-year term obviously had enough fun to run again. Lord mayor Basil Zempilas still has three years to go before facing a vote, as do top-scoring 2020 winners Sandy Anghie, Di Bain, Catherine Lezer and Rebecca Gordon.

Daniel Ortlepp is an East Perth resident and political staffer who’s worked for Labor’s Anne Aly. He’s keen on addressing the homelessness crisis and cutting the council’s climate impact, wanting the city to get carbon neutral by 2025 and the community output to hit net zero by 2035.

Jeff Broun brings some grassroots credentials as a former chair of the East Perth Community Safety Group. A chartered accountant, he wants to put his finance nous to use on the annual budgets “to avoid unexpected surprises leading to major rate hikes”.

Clyde Bevan was elected in 2020 and is asking for a full term, saying they’ve so far opened two shelters but have more work to do to address homelessness and city safety.

Steve Hasluck is the only councillor from the pre-2020 era to return to stand, having been ruled ineligible due to a fine print technicality at the last election. He wants to tackle the rows of vacant retail tenancies and the homelessness situation.

Kylee Veskovich is a long time city worker in education and arts, and previously ran in the 2021 state election for the Liberals in Perth. Homelessness, violence and antisocial behaviour, and the high commercial vacancy rate are her key issues to make the city safer and bustling.

Michelle Rosenberg lives in the city and manages a family bar and restaurant and says “the city still isn’t what it could be, with high commercial vacancies, it is sad to see so much closed on a Sunday. Planning needs to be considered, so that residents aren’t as impacted by commercial noise and commercial businesses can conduct their business. Landlords, business owners and residents should all be engaging together.”

Andrew Toulalan is a past candidate and asks voters: 

“Do you think the incumbent councillors have done enough? Are you wondering what they’ve actually achieved? Have you noticed any real differences in your neighbourhood?”. He works in tourism and says he knows first hand what visitors and residents want out of a city.

Deni Symonds is another returning past candidate, prompted in part to run by hearing about three billion native animals killed in bushfires while the council made no changes to its “weak” environmental strategy. He’s also fed up with “the despicable things said about the trans and homeless community” and “will continue to be vocally against such comments”. 

Jackie Mckay is a newcomer to the race, a long term resident who wants the basics taken care of like “deteriorated streetscapes, broken and dirty pathways, [and] dimly lit streets and parks” along with increased homelessness and less city visitors.

Viktor Ko is a medical doctor who’s already on council and seeking a full term. He says pieces are in place for the city’s pandemic recovery and now “we should foster our international ties and support the ultimate renewable industry: art/music/culture”. 

Raj Doshi also ran in 2020 and is up for a second try. She’s a city worker and volunteer and helped organise the city music sessions during the first lockdowns.

Liam Gobbert is an incumbent hoping for a full term off the back of his focus on local issues, and his experience as former deputy mayor of Joondalup.

Brent Fleeton is another winner from 2020 who’s hopeful to return, saying he’s brought a high level of transparency as chair of the audit and risk committee. He’s submitted Kirkup-esque numbers of enquiries on behalf of residents and ratepayers, totalling 243 so far. 

Bruce Reynolds is a city businessman who tried for mayor last time round and is aiming for council in 2021, with experience in marketing, design, realty, hospitality and the not-for-profit sector.

Cath Hewitt knows the organisation from the inside having worked for Perth council for five years as a manager, and says “loss of corporate knowledge by the high turnover… is a major concern” and notes “a lack of clear process and organisation wastes much time and energy”. 

Gloria Zhang briefly campaigned alongside lord mayor Basil Zempilas at the 2020 election before her candidacy was barred due to her name not being on the lease of a city property. She’s back now and wants to put her project management experience to use rebuilding the economy and advocating for inter-community dialogues. 

Vincent candidates

IT’S a big field in both of Vincent’s wards with a mix of familiar contenders and new faces. There are three vacancies in North Ward as councillor Sally Smith is retiring two years into 

a four-year term, and two vacancies in South Ward. One of the long term South Ward councillors, Joshua Topelberg, is calling it a day after 12 years and hasn’t re-nominated. 

NORTH WARD

Joanne Fotakis, elected 2017, is aiming to return, looking for more inclusive decision-making (especially with developments) and she notes she’s been a strong voice for sustainability motions like the incoming FOGO three bin system, more parks, and the zero-emissions by 2030 plan.

Adina Lieblich is back after running at the last election in a strong showing that was just a few per cent off a seat. An engineering project manager, she wants to prioritise maintenance “over new projects we don’t need”, bring in recycled materials to city construction, involve residents earlier in decisions, and stop privatisation of public spaces.

Suzanne Worner is GM of Revelation Perth International Film Festival and works at UpBeat Events, working on many festivities in Vincent over the years. She previously worked in media at the ABC and says “I value good communication, integrity and transparency”.

Bonnie Knott works locally while studying law and social justice, is in a bunch of community groups, and often seen out with her dog Teddie in local parks and cafes. She wants a diverse and inclusive community.

Ron Alexander is a former footballer who was CEO of the WA sport and recreation department for 18 years. Politically unaligned, his focus is on safety, noise, parking, seniors, childcare, recreation, arts, and maintaining flora and fauna in parks, having previously led a delegation of residents requesting council return Hyde Park’s greenery after recent gravel incursion. 

Alex Castle was elected 2017 and is back for another run. She has a legal background, is a small business owner and she says she’s worked to improve greening and safety in neighbourhoods, investment in town centres, parks and sports facilities. 

SOUTH WARD

Jonathan Hallett, councillor since 2017, is a public health academic and Greens Party member and is making a 

tilt to return on the back of his motions reducing single use plastics, starting up the workforce gender equity reporting, and his public health initiatives.

Ben Swanson says he was motivated to run out of his respect for hardworking families, business owners and community organisers, and says he’ll “instil financial discipline, improve services” and look after cultural, sport and community groups.

Ross Ioppolo has a background in finance and wants the council to better represent resident voices, after his experiences with the current system saw months of delay as he tried to get a simple traffic safety matter fixed (Voice, September 4, 2021).

Amanda Madden has a background in academics and business, has lived in the area with her family for 25 years, wants sustainable and efficient growth, and previously ran for the Liberal party in the 2017 state election for the Maylands seat.

Trent Durward works in planning and development, Leederville local, and former chair of Leederville Connect, and is keen on more green spaces, sensible design, activated laneways, and looking after town centres.

Joshua O’Keefe ran at the last election and is giving it another go. With 15 years’ experience on the staff side of local government (including at Vincent), he wants to see more events to generate economic growth and has called for the return of the Beaufort Street Festival, along with the basics like more street cleaning and maintenance to attract investment and compete with other shopping strips. 

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