Local government plays a huge role in protecting and preserving the environment, and The City of Onkaparinga has a strong tradition of introducing positive measures and initiatives based on environmental and sustainability issues.
For that reason, a number of local environmental and community groups have contacted all the candidates standing for Mayor of Onkaparinga City, as well as those standing in the Southern Vales and South Coast Wards, to offer them the opportunity to introduce themselves to our collective membership, and to let us know where they stand on a number of key environmental issues in the City of Onkaparinga.
Each candidate was given the same ten questions to answer. Here are the responses of Lauren Jew, Candidate for South Coast Ward.
- Where do you live? What attracted you to where you live?
I live in Aldinga Beach, near the Hart Road Wetlands and Aldinga Scrub. I have resided here for 10 years, we initially moved to Aldinga because of the sense of community and local environment.
- What’s your political background?
I am not a member of a political party. From the age of 15 I was selected into leadership programs such as the National Youth Roundtable and Australian Youth Forum. These opportunities at a young age gave me an appreciation of politics and an understanding of the mechanics of Australia’s political system. From this point I felt that it was important to engage in the Australian political system, remain informed and try and positively influence the system that governs us all.
- To which community groups or associations do you belong?
I have been a long-standing member of the Aldinga Sellicks Alliance and a member of the Rotary Club of Seaford since its inception. I am also a Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation. Over the years I have volunteered at tree planting events, story telling activities, fundraising, playgroups, community events and many more.
- If elected, what will be your priorities?
My priorities include inclusion, environment and sustainability, sensible savings and community engagement. I have identified these priorities from consultation and research. I am particularly interested in best practice approaches and people with expert knowledge and those affected by decisions informing plans. I do not have a particular agenda as I feel the role of an Elected Member is to reflect the aspirations, worries and hopes of the community they service. My website provides additional information in relation to the priorities identified www.laurenjewin22.info
- What are your policies regarding the environment and biodiversity?
- Support the restoration of ecosystems through planning, advocacy and action
- Increase the number of staff working in the environment and biodiversity team
- Prioritise natives when planting new trees and plants
- Increase the amount of tree canopy
- Promote the investment of sustainable technologies to increase economic outcomes for the southern region
- Ensure Kaurna people have opportunities to connect to Country and are involved in land restoration and management
- Support food and water security across the ward and more broadly throughout Onkaparinga.
- Do you think the City of Onkaparinga should re-visit declaring a Climate Emergency?
Yes, evidence highlights that climate change is increasing and the impact on our environment is concerning. We need a collaborative approach that is innovative and responsive. We need to plan and more importantly take action for the benefit of the environment, biodiversity and future generations.
- How can Council accelerate decarbonisation within the community?
Many opportunities exist in response to climate change including benefits to the environment, population and economy. Below are seven examples of actions the City of Onkaparinga could take:
- Prioritising the development of a holistic environmental management framework that underpins City of Onkaparinga’s approach to addressing climate change. This could include a specific focus on accelerating decarbonisation
- Encouraging growth in the low carbon businesses and attracting investment would lead to job and training opportunities for residents
- Supporting the restoration of biodiversity across the City of Onkaparinga
- Providing education to households, new home buyers, developers and business
- Transitioning City of Onkaparinga vehicles to electric
- Improving trails and bike tracks
- Strengthening local food systems promoting the consumption local produce
- How would you make Onkaparinga a better place to live with less resource consumption?
One of my strengths is building a shared understanding about difficult problems and developing creative solutions together. My leadership would reflect community values and expectations. I recognise that resources are finite and therefore would promote less resource consumption and sourcing locally. This would benefit the environment, local business, economy and community wellbeing. I would like to be part of a Council that has future generations at the heart of decision making.
- How would you aim to influence Elected Members to be effective decision makers?
I have nominated for the South Coast Ward. I am collaborative, approachable and an affective communicator. I believe these skills will assist me in working closely with other Elected Members and the Mayor. I will utilise research coupled with community perspectives to gain support from Council. I will also encourage community members with expert knowledge to provide deputations to Council to support and inform robust decision making. Remaining transparent and always being driven by community expectations and values will assist me in developing the necessary strategies to build a shared agreement between Elected Members.
- Do you have ideas for championing improvements in the energy efficiency and lower resource footprints of new and retrofit development, both domestic and commercial?
Below are four examples of actions the City of Onkaparinga could take to improve energy efficiency in new and retrofit development, both domestic and commercial?
- Provide feedback to developers in regards to proposed allotment design to incorporate sustainable principles prior to building eg positioning of houses to maximise sunlight
- Develop an advocacy plan to Federal and State Government
- Develop partnerships with multiple stakeholders to integrate innovative technologies into operations and maintenance.
- Develop an award incentive program for businesses that develop and implement energy efficient strategies
I acknowledge that my technical knowledge of improving energy efficiency is limited and therefore would value the expertise and skills of specialists in this area in order to make sound decisions.