By CHARLENE GATT
AT LEAST six independent candidates have formed an alliance to overthrow the Labor Party stronghold at this year’s Maribyrnong City Council election.
Footscray Traders Association president Grant Miles, former Liberal Party member Ken Betts, Ben Coyloe from the Dancing Dog Café, Nick Fahey from the Fair Go For Footscray Rail Residents group, trader Linh Nguyen and Wing La from the Footscray Asian Business Association have put their hands up as candidates.
Mr Miles told Star at least another two independents were considering putting their hats into the ring.
“We’re done a disservice by having a council dominated by Labor and our objective is to get an independent majority onto the council,” Mr Miles said.
“We’ve got a Labor council, a Labor State MP and a Labor Federal MP, and they’ll never do anything to offend each other, and we think that’s a very bad situation for Maribyrnong and it has been for a hundred years.”
The Footscray Traders Association and the Footscray Asian Business Association first announced their intentions to find a range of independent candidates to run in each ward in an exclusive Star report at the end of 2010.
This year Maribyrnong will go from seven single-councillor wards to three multi-councillor wards after a Victorian Electoral Commission review last year.
Mr Miles said the proportional system of voting and the swing against the Labor Party at the 2010 State election boded well for the independents.
“We do have different opinions on different subjects, and that’s the whole point of not being tied into a political party,” he said.
“Obviously we have some similarities – one is that we’re absolutely strict and staunch about being independent and remaining independent and not like councillors we’ve seen in the past who’ve ran as independents in the electorate and have won and in a couple of months join the Labor Party.
“It’s absolutely urgent that we do something about the trucks in the streets of Yarraville and Footscray. That’s one of our really big agendas.
“The other big thing is the lack of vision we see in the council.
“There are no ideas, there doesn’t seem to be any grand schemes coming out about where Footscray’s going in the future. We saw the Footscray Masterplan; but that’s just Footscray – we’re talking about the whole of Maribyrnong.”
By CHARLENE GATT