Shire of Broome election: Mark Harris (Sharky)

Written on the 18 October 2017

Shire of Broome election: Mark Harris (Sharky)

Broome Chamber of Commerce & Industry

2017 Shire Election Candidate Questionnaire

Name: Mark Harris - Sharky

Q. Describe in your own words the core function of the Shire of Broome?

In a Broader context, as one of Australia's three spheres of government is Local Government and is the sphere that most closely affects the daily lives of citizens.
One of the strengths of Local Government is its diversity. In Western Australia the population and geographic size of Councils differ greatly. For example the largest council by area in the whole of Australia is the Shire of East Pilbara, covering 372,000 square kilometres.
The work of Local Government is varied, but it touches almost all areas of our day to day life as citizens whether we live in cities, towns or country areas.
The Shire of Broome is one of the most important first steps to starting a business, or moving to the area, in terms of information dissemination and access to the resources you need to enhance your lifestyle.  All of the infrastructure and service needs of the community are monitored by local Government and as the first of the three tiers of government, it is the one which is perceived to be the closest to the grass roots community.

Q. Describe in your own words the core function of a Shire Councillor?

In Broome there are 9 shire council positions and the shire president and deputy shire president are elected by the nine standing councillors. The role of a single council member is to bring with them skills, knowledge and passion to the table.  The position needs to be unbiased, open and accountable to the local community.  The Council elected makes all of the major decisions that affect the community's growth and prosperity.

Q. In the Chamber's recent business survey, 53% of respondents said they do not believe that the Shire is small business friendly.  What do you think the Shire of Broome can do to improve conditions and support for local businesses?

I totally agree, as a small business owner, I was of the opinion then and now that the Shire is not business savvy nor, are the services provided directed at being helpful to initiating the catalyst to growth and small business development.  It is common knowledge that the biggest employer network in Australian is made up of small business.
My solution is simply to engage the front counter staff, and they should be trained to provide a helpful service, which includes start to finish advice on how to get your business up and running, with support through the maze that is the bureaucratic red tape that stifles the development of small businesses.

Q.  It is expected that capital works on the Chinatown Revitalisation will be happening for a large part of 2018, what would you do to ensure that the local retailers are not adversely affected by the disruption in the peak trading periods?

The contractors who are successful in their tender for the works will be required to provide access in a staggered and strategic manner, this means that there will be access to the shops in general and during peak sessions.  The traffic management plans will encompass access to walkways and entry ways to the shops and there will need to be better use of public transport

Q.  What's your thoughts on the sealing of Cape Leveque Rd, and do you believe this will change the dynamics of business in Broome and the Dampier Peninsula?

Yes. there will be an impact on the dynamics of the businesses on the Peninsula, and it will need to be monitored in the best interest of the community and its residents.  I support development of environmental impact assessment, social impact assessment and a Management Plans.  As long as the Traditional Owners of the land are in control of all aspects of access and environmental monitoring, through their prospective Ranger programs it is also important to note that there have been previous assessment and social impact studies, the most comprehensive being the report compiled by Sharon Griffith.  The impact on Broome town site will be different than that of those people who live on the Peninsula.

Q. With regard to Cape Leveque Road, what efforts would you like to see in working with Traditional Owners and alleviating red tape - having foresight to put measures in place to help fast track approvals when needed and creating more self-sustainable communities?

See above

Q. Where do you sit in regards to mining and tourism - How do you perceive the balance of these two industries; 50/50, 70/30, 80/20 etc?
It is my simple view that both are essential to the growth and development of the Shire of Broome and the broader Kimberley Community.  Tourism is one of the most dynamic and changing sectors in our community and should be supported by all in Broome, as it offers many and varied opportunities for our children and their future employment.

With regards to the expansion of Mining and Gas it is equally important, and should be supported where it is financially viable, socially accepted and environmentally friendly.    It is essential that these resources companies be responsible.
We also need to ensure that these companies contribute to our community at all levels and that local government should be at the negotiating table to ensure rateability is recognised.

Whereas in all state agreement acts and other vehicles used by state and federal government for development in the region and that the rights and interests of the Broome Shire, be recognised as a key stakeholder and that their rights and interests are upheld.

Q. What's your opinion on economic growth and development of the future of Broome and the Kimberley?
The Shire of Broome should be supporting new businesses, national events and other opportunities for future development.  Streamlining of services and information should be also a high priority for growth and development in Broome.  Local government is best located to assist in the development of projects in the region, and the makeup of the Kimberley Development commission should be used more.

Q. Do you have a plan (or ideas) for lobbying more support from state and federal government?
The creation of a position that can be used for Grants and other forms of funding.  This position would be best placed as a resource to ensure that all funding rounds are highlighted to the Elected Council members to make decisions about where funding can be sourced.

The Shire President is key to accessing and developing the relationships at the state and federal government and working closely with the CEO of the Shire of Broome, should be engaging the Ministers at all levels relevant to the development of the Broome Community. It is essential there is a combined approach and both positions work closely together and travel to meet and attract alternative funding for the region.

Q. On a personal level, why do you live in Broome and what do you love about the Kimberley lifestyle.
I moved to Broome to bring my kids up, and I have remained here because it is one of the most beautiful places in Australia, my businesses have flourished against the odds and I have established myself in Broome as my hometown.

Q. What celebrity do you most identify with, and why?
I identify mostly with Matt Damon, because of his role in "Good Will Hunting"

Thank you.

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