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 Matthew Fossy, Candidate for Southern Vales Ward
- Where do you live? What attracted you to where you live?
I live in Onkaparinga Hills, in the foothills of the National Park. My wife and I were attracted to the location as we have a park opposite us, parks surrounding us, and we are very close to the National Park. We like being connected to environment.
- What’s your political background?
I am not a member of a political party.
- To which community groups or associations do you belong?
I am a volunteer with St Vincent de Paul and I am a member of Friends of Onkaparinga Park Inc
- If elected, what will be your priorities?
My priority is on reducing spending so we can reduce the City of Onkaparinga’s debt and do whatever is possible to minimise rate rises and provide additional rate relief for those in need.
Sustainability and preserving our biodiversity are important to me and something that should be weighted heavily in all decision making.
- What are your policies regarding the environment and biodiversity?
As mentioned, the environment is very important. The City of Onkaparinga is full of natural beauty, the Council must do what they can to preserve it and enhance it wherever possible.
- Do you think the City of Onkaparinga should re-visit declaring a Climate Emergency?
I will not be raising a motion to declare a Climate Emergency, though if one is raised, I will support it. I accept the status has value but I believe the City of Onkaparinga should just factor in environmental impact into all decision making wherever relevant, and so in that way they act on the principles of sustainability and preserving our biodiversity.
- How can Council accelerate decarbonisation within the community?
Seek involvement from members of the City of Onkaparinga who have expertise in these areas (like members of the groups reading this post) and identify opportunities through community engagement and implement the ideas.
Some ideas that come to mind are focusing on reducing waste, particularly landfill, using our waste bins more effectively, and explore community gardens and working with conservation focused not-for-profits then we can make some progress towards decarbonisation in the community. But as I’ve stated in the first paragraph, my approach would be to speak with those in the community more experienced than me on this topic.
- How would you make Onkaparinga a better place to live with less resource consumption?
Helping community with the change. I suspect food packaging would be a big source of waste, so I think we need to continue the advice, assistance and education on what’s possible without packaging, and how easy it can be to prepare nude food.
Also, focus on some community reuse opportunities. I’ve always had Jack Johnson’s song in my mind on this topic – reduce, reuse, recycle – in that order. It’s a change process, but we all need to focus on reduce, then reuse. Recycle is the last option.
- How would you aim to influence Elected Members to be effective decision makers?
I am not running for Mayor, but as an elected member I can influence the other elected members through my own actions and decisions and critical analysis of the information available to Councillors.
- Do you have ideas for championing improvements in the energy efficiency and lower resource footprints of new and retrofit development, both domestic and commercial?
This is a question I would defer to others with more experience. I am part of a Facebook group about building homes with Hemp, which seems like a great option. I’ve also seen and read about demolitions where the materials are preserved so they can be reused.
Importantly, I will support improvements in energy efficiency and lower resource footprints, I think it is a great cause. I’m just not flushed with ideas on how to do it.