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After a lifetime in Parramatta, I feel I have a lifetime to give,” said Paul Garrard who will run for Cumberland Council while daughter Michelle will “continue Paul’s legacy” and run in neighbouring Parramatta. Photo: Sebastian Giunta. After a lifetime in Parramatta, I feel I have a lifetime to give,” said Paul Garrard who will run for Cumberland Council while daughter Michelle will “continue Paul’s legacy” and run in neighbouring Parramatta. Photo: Sebastian Giunta. Featured
03 August 2017 Posted by 

THE GARRARD POLITICAL LEGACY

Father and daughter contest elections
ILIANA STILLITANO
WESTERN Sydney residents will head to the polls next month for the first council election since amalgamation.
Campaigning will heat up this month ahead of the September 9 local council election.
 
The first of the candidates have been revealed with a complete list to be unveiled when nominations close on August 4.
 
The council areas of Cumberland and Parramatta are shaping up to be a family affair with the Garrard family announcing patriarch and former Parramatta Lord Mayor Paul Garrard will lead the Our Local Community (OLC) candidates in the seat of Cumberland and daughter Michelle will throw her hat in the ring in neighbouring Parramatta.
 
“This election is one of the most important ones,” Ms Garrard said. “People need to get out there and vote because they have not been represented in the last 15 months while there has been an administrator in the seat.
 
“The community needs to vote for who they want to represent their area.” Or as Mr Garrard put it: “Put community back into council.”
 
After more than 40 years serving Parramatta, Mr Garrard will shift his focus to the new Cumberland Council which was formed last May from parts of Auburn, Holroyd and Parramatta councils under the state government’s forced amalgamations.
 
His former Woodville ward is now part of Cumberland Council and he conceded that ditching his focus on an area that has been in his blood since 1974 will “undoubtedly” be hard.
 
“Cumberland was created in rather extraordinary circumstances,” he said. “I felt sorry for my area when they announced the mergers.
 
“There was pressure on me to stay in Parramatta but I wrote to every resident in the area and said I would be going to Cumberland.
 
“After 42 years the people know who you are, I can’t move away from that but I will use that as a strength to address the issues in Cumberland.”
 
Fifteen councillors will be elected to represent Cumberland’s five wards – Granville, Greystanes, Regents Park, South Granville and Wentworthville. Mr Garrard will seek to be one of three councillors in South Granville which he described as “very multicultural with a strong Islamic presence.”
 
“It’s half the area I used to represent, the other half is in Auburn. I took the hard choice and I’m no shoo-in but I wouldn’t expect anyone else (from the OLC party) to do it.”
 
As for whether he would nominate himself for mayor – a role he filled five times previously in Parramatta – Mr Garrard said: “I don’t count myself elected until the votes are in. I never, ever consider mayorship until being elected.”
 
Until then his focus will be on issues like introducing “best practice” to Cumberland, managing the area’s increasing high rise neighbourhoods and “making the council more accessible and indirectly more accountable”.
 
It will also be on mentoring other OLC candidates including daughter Michelle who will run in the Dundas ward of Parramatta Council. Voters will elect three councillors in each of the five wards: Dundas, Epping, North Rocks, Parramatta and Rosehill.
 
“I was looking forward to being the apprentice to Paul and working side-by-side but that’s not the case anymore,” she said of her father’s decision not to run for Parramatta Council.
 
“But he has provided so much for the community in the last 42 years, my drive is to continue that.”
 
Ms Garrard missed out on a spot at the council table after the 2012 election and shortly after Mr Garrard registered the
 
OLC party which he said puts community needs ahead of party politics. 
 
“I’m one of the very few not to have gone away after not being elected,” Ms Garrard said.
 
“I’ve been serving the community as a resident. That shows I’m serious. I haven’t stopped campaigning since 2012.”
 
She said her focus will be on the state government’s light rail which will run through the ward (“we must keep them honest when it comes to the timescale and budget”), parking in Parramatta (“if elected I will look at more free parking”) and better protecting Parramatta’s heritage (“I will really push its tourism potential”).
 
“It’s important that Parramatta becomes a destination, not a departure lounge,” she said.
 
Other OLC candidates are Wayne Butcher (Parramatta) and former councillor Andrew Wilson (Rosehill). 
 
The Hills Shire remains largely intact except for part of council’s east ward transferring to Parramatta because of amalgamations. Residents will elect 12 councillors in four wards – Central, East, North and West – as well as a mayor after a referendum in 2012 resolved voters directly vote for their mayor.
 
The ALP has endorsed incumbent councillors Tony Hay (central), Ryan Tracey (east), and Raymond Harty (west) as well as Immanuel Selvaraj (north).
 
Other Western Sydney councils including Liverpool, Blacktown, Hawkesbury and Penrith held their elections last year.
 
Polling places will open from 8am-6pm on election day, September 9. Pre-poll opens on August 28. Voting is compulsory.
 
For a list of polling places, visit www.votensw.info
 


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