5 July 2024

Koschel and Henderson join forces on a new ticket for Wagga Council elections

| Chris Roe
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Cr Mick Henderson, Allana Condron and Cr Tim Koschel are all hoping to secure a spot on council in the September election.

Cr Mick Henderson, Allana Condron and Cr Tim Koschel are all hoping to secure a spot on council in the September election. Photo: Chris Roe.

Serving Wagga councillors Tim Koschel and Mick Henderson have decided to collaborate on a ticket for the upcoming NSW local government elections on 14 September.

Cr Koschel will be vying for a third term while Cr Henderson is hoping for a second stint in local government.

The big surprise on the five-person ticket is that Cr Henderson has been listed in third spot behind Cr Koschel and newcomer Allana Condron with Chris Ingram and Jacinta Evans rounding out the five.

Cr Koschel said the aim was to see at least three members elected and Cr Henderson was most likely to attract enough individual votes to secure his return.

“The reason for Mick sitting at number three and myself in number one is, Mick actually got the most votes last time and they were below the line,” he said.

“It should pull more votes to the group having it structured that way.”

READ ALSO Deputy Mayor unveils ‘Labor for Wagga’ ticket for September’s local government elections

Cr Henderson said he felt “lucky” to be running third on the ticket and said the group had a lot of community support.

“I do believe with the three of us candidates, the whole three of us will get in with the community support, and I think we will work well together with the other councillors that are elected,” he said, conceding there was some risk that he would not make the cut.

“As everyone knows, if we don’t make it, I’ll be very vocal on the outside,” he declared.

“Sometimes my hands are tied with the council and some of the decisions, so I certainly won’t be backing off if I’m unfortunate enough not to be elected.”

It will be the first time the two councillors have run together and Cr Koschel said that while the group shared strong community values, there was no intention to vote as a block.

He said forming a ticket was a requirement to ensure that a candidate was listed both above and below the line.

“I would rather it be everyone independently on their own, but unfortunately the system won’t let you work that way,” he said.

“If you actually do want to make a difference, and you do want to get on, you actually have to run that ticket.”

First-time contender Allana Condron currently works in HR with agricultural machinery dealer Hutcheon & Pearce and said she looked forward to speaking to community members about what they want from council.

“I’m really excited to contribute to something bigger,” she said.

“I used to work for the council so I have a genuine interest in the community and contributing to the community.”

Cr Koschel said Ms Condron’s experience and commitment to the region would be a great asset to the Wagga local government area.

“Her passion and integrity is something that you can’t fault,” he said.

“The more diversity we can get in there, the more youth we can get in there and people from different mindsets, from all different businesses makes a big difference to who sits around the table and the decisions that are made.”

READ ALSO Wagga Wagga Greens announce full ticket for local government elections

Reflecting on his two terms sitting at that table, Cr Koschel said balancing the budget and funding basic services were ongoing focuses.

“You hear about roads, rates and rubbish all the time, but we don’t have any funds to do it,” he said, pointing to a $200 million backlog on road maintenance.

“We can’t afford the infrastructure we’ve got to maintain, let alone fix the back issues at the moment, so making sure our finances are in order is a really big part that I’m working with at the moment.”

Cr Henderson is also the Commodore of the Wagga Boat Club and said that restoring the health of Lake Albert and completing the pipeline project remain fundamental objectives.

“It’s not completed, so that’s why I made the decision to see that through for the whole community, and that’s one of the big challenges,” he said, adding that there were several initiatives underway to combat the blue-green algae problem, including an experimental enzyme treatment.

“The algae’s come back into the lake, so we’re looking at that. We’ve trialled it. We’ve got to start somewhere which is a positive. We had no positive outcomes before these; we’ve assessed it; we’re moving forward and we’re looking at other avenues as well.

“So that is my passion – the lake – as well as the city of Wagga and surrounds.”

The local government elections in NSW will be held on Saturday 14 September.

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