Sharples to make a stand

TERRY Sharples, the man who brought down Pauline Hanson's One Nation and who is currently suing Tweed Shire Council, has stuck up his hand to run as an%independent candidate in the September local government elections.

The Tweed Heads accountant is personally pursuing council in the Land and Environment Court, questioning the validity of its controversial seven-year rate plan, and says he will further put his reputation on the line to fight for the future of the Tweed.

But the grandfather says he will only run for council if he can find a group of like-minded candidates to run on the same ticket.

"If I can't find a group to run with me I won't run at all," Mr Sharples said.

"We need new blood to come in and generate new ideas and re-create trust within the community, and I don't think that can be achieved with the same old faces running again for council."

After blowing the whistle on the One Nation Party and giving up information that lead to the deregistration of the party in 2003, and having run under the pseudonym of Ned Kelly as the Fishing Party candidate for the seat of Tweed in the NSW election earlier that same year, Mr Sharples said he has "had enough of politics", but believes a new vision is needed for the Tweed.

"I am well over politics, but what has made me stick my hand up as a candidate is the fact that I think council is in just as much trouble now as it was a decade ago," Mr Sharples said.

"I'm not power hungry. I don't even want to lead the group if that is not what they want.

"In my opinion if we don't work now and better plan for the future we will be in a bigger mess than what we already are.

"I want to see honesty return to the Tweed Shire Council."

Mr Sharples said he believed Tweed residents were weary of the power of local government to make positive changes in the community, after the full council was sacked by the state government and replaced by administrators in May 2005.

"Council needs to be more active and transparent," Mr Sharples said, adding that instead of paying expensive fees to outside consultants to review council plans, the money could be better spent and would achieve better outcomes if the community had more involvement in decision-making.

"A third of Australia's population will soon live between Coffs Harbour and Noosa, so if we don't seize our democratic right and vote for the future we want to see on the Tweed now, we'll be stuffed."

Mr Sharples said if elected he would seek to repeal parts of the seven-year rate plan, conduct a review of the rates mix and how it is spent by council, as well as more regular community consultation.

"I would also seek legal advice as to whether the state government is liable to replace the money its administrators have spent on the Tweed that, in my opinion, was on things that they did not want."

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