An international alpaca shearer will be one of the Greens’ three lead candidates at the upcoming Wollongong City Council elections.
However, Koonawarra man Jamie Dixon – who will run in Wollongong’s southern suburbs – was unable to attend his party’s campaign launch on Thursday due to his overseas shearing duties.
Returning home in July, he will join Illawarra Greens co-conveners, Mithra Cox (Ward 1) and Cath Blakey (Ward 2), at the top of the party’s candidate list across the city’s three wards.
Ms Cox, a musician and environmentalist living in Corrimal, will also run as the Greens Lord Mayoral candidate.
The three new faces will lead 12 Greens candidates across the three wards at the September 9 poll.
The two existing Greens councillors George Takacs and Jill Merrin – who were the first Greens members to gain a position on Wollongong council in 2011 – will not be on the ticket.
Cr Takacs has chosen not to contend the election due to other commitments, and Cr Merrin was not preselected to be the Ward 1 candidate.
Cr Merrin told the Mercury last week she had been asked to stand as the party’s Ward 2 contender and mayoral candidate, but had declined as she lives in the northern suburbs.
Asked about the party’s chances of being re-elected, Ms Cox said she thought the Greens would attract people involved in Wollongong’s “strong progressive movements”.
“There’s such a strong sense of people working together towards a bigger and more progressive vision [in Wollongong] and that used to be the home of the Labor Party, but they have been disappointing over a long time,” she said. “And I think people don’t want to go to the Liberal Party because they don’t trust them, they’re ungenerous and they cut funding to community centres and activities.”
Ms Blakey and Ms Cox named investment in active transport and the arts, as well as environmental issues like flooding and coastal erosion as their election priorities.