Greens candidate Katrina Willis is having a run at election for the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council

Katrina Willis hopes to see change in the first ever Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council. Photo: Elliot Williams
Katrina Willis hopes to see change in the first ever Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council. Photo: Elliot Williams

Katrina Willis, Greens candidate in the upcoming Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council election, will be hoping it’s a case of third time lucky when polls open on September 9.

Unsuccessful election campaigns for Queanbeyan in 2008 and 2012 have not diminished her determination to elicit change in local government.

This election, being the first after the council merger, will bring “lots of unknowns” according to Ms Willis.

While this has caused concern among some in the community, Ms Willis said it was an opportunity to bring people together while respecting differences across the region.

“It’s really important whatever arrangement we come to that people don’t feel like it’s us and them,” she said.

It is in this new environment that the former public servant and journalist said there was real need for a culture shift within council.

“It’s about how we do the business of local government,” she said.

“There is a lot wanting in the way this council conducts community consultation.

“At the end of the day we elect council for the community. They must be accountable and not just election to election.”

Increasing accountability and transparency would be key goals for Ms Willis if elected.

Another goal is to continue the Greens’ well-known opposition to the Ellerton Drive extension.

Other issues integral to her efforts as a councillor, if elected, would be a fair – not necessarily low – rates and revenue policy, protecting town character and ensuring Queanbeyan-Palerang is contributing to reversing climate change.

“The environment is always seen as expendable if there’s development opportunities available,” she said.

“We need to rethink what we mean by prosperity.”

In many ways Ms Willis reflected the qualities of the Greens as a political party, providing an alternative to the establishment and not a quiet one; hardly surprising given she spent five years as an advisor to Bob Brown, Christine Milne and other Federal Greens.

Ms Willis wants to see change in the council, she wants to be someone that instigates that change but she knows that in local government that all comes down to one group.

“It’s the sphere of government that is closest to the people that elect you,” she said.