Locals front and centre in election pledge

Locals front and centre in election pledge

By David Schout

Docklands resident Dr Janette Corcoran will lead a “Residents First” ticket into this month’s City of Melbourne election, looking to instil a balance between the needs of both locals and business.

A first-time council candidate, she will be joined by West Melbourne resident Mary Masters and Southbank resident Samantha Tran on her councillor ticket.

Heading towards election day on October 24, Residents First boasts a three-pillared manifesto focusing on liveability, sustainability and employment within the city.

“The name gives you a clue what we’re about,” Dr Corcoran told Docklands News.

“But really it’s more an approach to local government. It’s about placing people at the centre. It’s not an oppositional thing, it’s not “people over this”. But it’s a way of looking at priorities.”

A Victoria Point resident who chairs her owners’ corporation (OC), Dr Corcoran’s qualifications include a PhD in Knowledge Economics from Monash University.

She also spearheads regular Docklands litter cleanups and has been a longtime contributor to this publication with her SKYPAD Living column.

She said the notion of putting “residents first” was something that needed to be lived out.

“Residents in the city are really committed to wellbeing and liveability. And they have a 24/7 perspective. They live here, oftentimes they work here; so, they’re interested in wellbeing and liveability in their apartments or houses, in their spaces around them, and also for work.”

Having contemplated running for some time, Dr Corcoran has pushed hard to improve the wellbeing and liveability of high-rise living and believed the time was right to enter local politics.

“I’ve been doing that, but I feel like I’ve done as much as I can from the outside. I feel now I need to progress this and have a more influential role. It’s really specifically about improving liveability for residents, and I believe this is a way that I will be able to do that more effectively.”

So, did she think they were a chance later this month?

“I think it’s possible, yes I do. That’s what we’re all working very hard towards. I think this is the right time.”

She said that while a key issue heading into this election was understandably post-COVID business recovery, that issue should not come at the expense of locals.

“Not a lot of the other parties are focusing on residents and because of COVID there of course is a big push for business recovery. But we’re about getting equity and balance, and if you focus too much on one you miss what’s really the best way forward.”

Speaking to Docklands News shortly after a busy period conversing with other candidates as part of the preferencing process, Dr Corcoran said, to date, it had been an “eye opening” exercise.

“Whether you’re new to it or an old hand, apparently everyone finds it equally challenging. It’s just one of those processes you need to go through. Looking at the positives of it, it does mean all the candidates speak to each other and find out what others are standing for.”

Of the other members on the Residents First ticket, Ms Masters is a 13-year West Melbourne resident with two small children who will commence at Docklands Primary School next year, while Southbank local Ms Tran is part of the “younger demographic with a different perspective”.

“We have that holistic perspective of the lived experience here,” she said •

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