The three Greens candidates running for Maribyrnong City Council at this year’s local government election say protecting the climate and their local environment will be central to their campaign. This year the Greens have pre-selected candidates for each ward, with Bernadette Thomas in Stony Creek Ward, Cr Simon Crawford in Yarraville Ward, and Toa Thredgold in River Ward.
All three are no strangers to local government elections, with Simon an incumbent Councillor and Bernadette and Toa both having stood as candidates in previous years.
The trio are long-term residents and active in their local communities. Both Simon and Bernadette work in local government and Toa currently coordinates the St Vincent de Paul Society soup van program.
They are also passionate volunteers. Bernadette volunteers with Friends of Stony Creek and the Westsider, and supports women as a mentor with Women and Mentoring. Toa has spent time with the Friends of Newell’s Paddock and with the Footscray Soup Van. And Simon, in addition to his four years on Council, has been involved with MazzaBUG and the Friends of Maribyrnong River Valley.
They have a broad policy platform that mirrors the Greens’ principles of ecological sustainability, grassroots democracy, social justice, and peace and non-violence.
Community engagement and participation in Council decision-making will be their highest priority heading into the election. “Our community works best when residents and the organisation work together,” says Toa. “Improving transparency and consulting in a meaningful way with residents, before decisions are made, is key to building trust and making decisions that benefit our community.”
Bernadette adds that the climate emergency and preventing environmental pollution will be a high priority. “Local government is well-placed to lead communities in responding to the climate emergency in ways that reduce emissions, improve lives, and make our economy strong and sustainable” she says.
The three agree that allocating resources to prevent pollution incidents and the impact on the local environment and public health is crucial to maintaining healthy natural and urban environments.
“I was involved in the community activism after the West Footscray fire in 2018,” Bernadette said. “I helped maintain pressure on the state government to ensure a proper clean-up and rehabilitation of the environment.”
Incumbent Councillor, Simon, says he is proud of his work, moving Council’s focus to more sustainable and socially conscious decision-making and policy development. This has included acknowledging the Climate Emergency and developing the Maribyrnong Bike Strategy and the Stony Creek Futures Directions Plan.
“I’m keen to continue this work, so that the Council makes investment and procurement decisions based on ethical, social and environmental factors,” he said.
While there has been much uncertainty around how Council candidates will run a campaign during COVID-19 lockdown, the Greens are excited to be running over 80 candidates statewide in a bid to champion the power Councils have to effect change.
Bernadette, Toa and Simon say they plan to engage with the community as much as they can between now and the October 24 election, listening and learning and offering their support to residents, in the hope that Maribyrnong communities can emerge stronger from this crisis together.
You can stay in touch with each of the candidates via Facebook: