Back to the polls for some Wattle Range Council voters

YOUNG AND EAGER: Joel McClure says despite being young he is eager to see how council works. Picture: SUPPLIED

Charlotte Varcoe

FOLLOWING the resignation of Wattle Range Councillor Moira Neagle a supplementary election will be held.

Four local residents have officially put their hands up to fill the vacancy including John Shelton, Joel McClure, Penelope Henley and Shaun Taliana.

SA Today contacted all candidates about their reason for running for the position.


Mr McClure said he has a growing interest in how governments have good policies to further improve people’s lives.

“This was a good opportunity to get experience in that area but also to serve the community and help improve local issues,” Mr McClure said.

“Wattle Range Council has a good reputation as being a good job and I would love to be a part of continuing that and fixing issues which are in the area and keeping things up to scratch.”

He said some of the issues which had been discussed by community members at local council meetings and other political meetings.

“These include roads but also the biggest issue I have had raised is the quality of healthcare,” Mr McClure said.

“There are also a lot of concerns about lack of access to general practitioners or triage with the hospital and as a reasonably young counselor I want to gain experience and see things from the council books and see exactly what the state of affairs is.”

He said he believed there was a need in the region for improvement including access for people who were about to get their licence and being able to travel to Mount Gambier/Berrin for medical services.

“I also think that ensuring council is spending money wisely and projects are going to be sensible and good for the local community is important,” he said.


The future of the Millicent Swimming Lake and Millicent Saleyards are top of Mr Shelton’s list alongside listening to residents and ratepayers.

“In the past I have always been really happy with Wattle Range Council and just over the last year or two there seems to have been some policy decisions which have not sat well with me,” Mr Shelton said.

“I have picked up others are feeling similar and I thought there was no point in running around complaining and moaning, so I put my hat in the ring so I could see what was really going on.”

He said one of the things he was most concerned about was the future of the Millicent Swimming Lake.

“When there was talk about it possibly not being open for summer it was one of the things that got me interested as well as what was happening with the saleyards,” he said.

“I am still interested in what the potential future could be for other activities that occur with the saleyards besides just the sale of livestock.”

Mr Shelton said he was also interested in tourism and what the potential was there.

“I am just not convinced at the moment we are putting as much energy and effort into tourism through the visitor and information centre as we could,” he said.

“I am interested in that and finding out more about what we are doing to attract tourism.

“I also think we could have better consultation and listen to what residents and ratepayers’ views are.”

Mr Shelton said he understood it was difficult to get a “true representative” democracy yet said listening more to people and businesses could assist in the future needs a directions council could go.


Ms Henley said she decided to enroll to fill the position after moving to Millicent about two years ago.

“I have an interest in local government and I have a business career in farming and the practicalities there,” Ms Henley said.

“I am very hands on at 67 years old and still use a chainsaw.

“I do have very conservative views but I am not a member of any political party.”

She said since moving to the area she “absolutely loved” Millicent and wanted to contribute to the community.

“I want to give back to the community I have come to love in such a short time,” Ms Henley said.

“I do not really have any concerns as such, I just think we should keep an eye on the management and check any developments that occur which keeps in line with the mood of the town.”

She said she believed Millicent was “very well supplied” with community facilities for the size of the council.

“It is a real gem,” Ms Henley said.

“I researched the area before I moved here and it has incredible soil and water and it is not far away from South Australia’s second biggest city.”

She said Millicent was a “great community” and she loved the area where the “people are friendly”.

Speaking on what she could bring to council, Ms Henley said she had a history of running a business which were skills she could bring to council.

She said she also went to council events and meetings, stating it was interesting to see what it was involved in.

Shaun Taliana was contact for comment yet did not response prior to print deadline.