The Greens Teams - Illawarra Greens

The Greens Teams

Meet the full team of Greens candidates in the Wollongong Council Election.

Ward 1

Mithra Cox, Bronwyn Batten, Jeremy Park, Nicole Watts

 

Mithra Cox

I am the Greens lead candidate in Ward 1, and also the Greens mayoral candidate. I was first elected as a councillor for Ward 1 in 2017, and I am proud of how much we have been able to achieve since then: more footpaths, more shade trees, and local solutions to climate change. I want to see a vibrant and sustainable city, where everyone feels welcome.

I am a musician and environmental educator with a passion for environment and community. I have nearly 20 years experience managing innovative sustainability projects and working in public administration, including in local government and the NSW Parliament.

I play the banjo with The Lurkers, which has taken me from busking on the streets, to playing at national and international music festivals.

I grew up on the south coast, attending Bomaderry High School and Wollongong University. I now live with my family in Corrimal and am a mum of two young kids.

Bronwyn Batten

For the bulk of my career I have worked for the NSW Government. Currently I’m a Senior Policy Officer for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, working on projects like climate change adaptation for National Parks and cultural fire management. I am a qualified secondary teacher and have a PhD in Indigenous Studies.

Since moving with my family to Thirroul in 2017, I have been a fierce advocate for quality public transport for the Illawarra. In 2017 I established “Illawarra Rail Fail” which campaigns to get more carriages, more services and faster travel times on the South Coast Line.

Climate change is a real threat to our quality of life. Wollongong will be impacted by higher temperatures, sea level rise, more frequent and severe bushfires and storm events. In 2019 Greens councillors were influential in Wollongong Council declaring a climate emergency and committing to net zero emissions by 2030. Our next council will be crucial to establishing local solutions to reduce our emissions and adapt to a harsher climate.

Jeremy Park

I live with my family in Thirroul and have run my own business as a freelance photographer for 20 years. I felt now was the time to stand up in my community and promote values that I believe in. Originally I signed up with the Greens concerned about global warming. But over time, volunteering with the Greens, I realised that widespread corruption is the root cause of most of our political problems. Corrupted decision making has helped deliver the climate crisis we are now in. We need to change the political system to a fairer, more equitable system for everyone. The Greens offer solutions through evidence based policy and an ethical commitment to work hard for our community. Wollongong’s Greens councillors have shown that Greens are reliable and get things done.

Nicole Watts

I live in Austinmer with my husband and young son. I care about our community and am driven by a passion for ensuring our planet is able to remain home for us and for our abundance of wildlife. I am a successful management executive with over twenty years leadership experience. I was awarded a Public Service Medal in the Queens Birthdays Honours list in 2016 for outstanding public service through the development and implementation of innovative customer service systems in NSW. I hold a graduate certificate in Public Policy. I am committed to making Wollongong a great place to live, work and play for future generations and feel compelled to stand up for what matters. Local government is a fantastic platform to make a difference and the place where we can get local solutions for our local community.

 

Ward 2

Cath Blakey, Harris Cheung, Callum Franciskovic, Toby Thompson

 

Cath Blakey

I have been a councillor for Ward 2 since 2017 and am the Greens lead candidate in Ward 2 in 2020. I had all my education in Wollongong. I have a degree in Environmental Science and have worked in nature conservation, local government, and co-operative business. I live in Coniston with my family and am the mother of a toddler.

I had a experience in getting things done at a community level and in the last 3 years I have been pleased at how much we can achieve on council with the goodwill and cooperation of council as a whole.

I initiated the trialling of a FOGO scheme, collecting food waste from homes to be used as compost – soon we should see that rolled out across Wollongong. Another thing to work for is a major recycling facility in Wollongong – good for the environment and the economy.

It was wonderful to see the support on council for declaring a climate emergency, and for setting emissions targets. We have passed a great plan for Lake Illawarra – the next thing to do is get the funding to implement the plan.

Harris Cheung

In 1996, I arrived in Sydney from Hong Kong. After a degree in Arts, I got a job in customer service, and looked forward to a fulfilling life. I was deeply disinterested in politics.

Something changed in early 2000 that made me question my life choices – perhaps it was the fact that I was not feeling fulfilled.

It became clear to me that a loving, caring, tolerant and nurturing society is the basis for its people to flourish. A good way to start is to look after the environment and embrace diversity. Those we elect to political office play a major part in achieving this – what councillors do can help.

Having studied economic theories, I see op portunities for improving economic well-being while we look after the environment. We can have both, if we choose to be kind.

Wollongong, a place which I have called home for the past 6 years, with its talented people, and resourceful communities, can develop local actions to become a world class city – clean, vibrant, sustainable, forward-thinking and full of love.

Callum Franciskovic

Born and raised in the Illawarra, I live in central Wollongong and am a youth worker and project manager. I want to give back to my home, which has given me so much. Council can provide solutions to problems at the local level.

Working with young people, I connect with the disadvantaged of our society and also see how much potential the youth of today has to offer our community. We can make our home a better place. To do that we need to fight harder for those who struggle.

My background in mental health and social welfare has shown me that we need a holistic approach towards our local issues to improve the lives of everyone.

IThe Greens want to provide a better, more sustainable world for us all to live in, and that is what the people of Wollongong want too. Young people especially understand that there is a Climate Emergency and that we need to act at all levels of government.

Toby Thompson

Wollongong is my home town. This year I am taking a year off from my studies at the University of Wollongong to train at TAFE as an arborist. I have been a lead organiser in Global Climate Strikes and am a part of various environmentalist groups across Wollongong.

In September of 2019, I joined the Greens. Non-violent direct action and mass civil disobedience is needed to bring about change, but I realised that we also need to fight for policies from within our existing democratic and political structures. The Greens is the only political party with the values needed to address the Climate Emergency.

Councils can develop solutions to combat the climate crisis, and help create a uture of jobs and sustainable living. I want Wollongong to be a creative and vibrant city, with a healthy youth culture and safe an accessible for all ages.

 

Ward 3

Jess Whittaker, Rachel Bolton, Frances Cairns, Malika Elizabeth Reece

 

Jess Whittaker

I work as a paramedic with the NSW Ambulance Service, mostly around Dapto. Being a parent and working in front-line health for 11 years has shown me the importance of a strong community and inspired me to help make a difference.

I grew up in Bulli and got a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Wollongong. I now live in Port Kembla, where I regularly advocate for environmental issues in our area.

I have organised beach clean ups and tree planting days, established a walking school bus, am an active member of the school P&C, and I spent 3 years facilitating the primary ethics program at Port Kembla Public school.

I've watched the Ward 1 and Ward 2 Greens Councillors achieve amazing progress while on council – with leadership in urban greening, safe footpaths and cycle routes, the FOGO trial, and local solutions to the climate emergency. Ward 3 would also benefit from a Greens councillor. who could represent the interests of the community and the environment.

 

Rachel Bolton

Originally from Canberra, I came to Wollongong in 1999 to study law and sociology. In 2011 my husband and I moved to Port Kembla. We fell in love with Port Kembla for its welcoming and vibrant community, laneway gardens and beautiful beaches. I have two sons, who attend a public primary school, where I am an active member of the P&C.

I recently submitted my PhD, which examines the history of tree protection laws in New South Wales.

Working for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Vanuatu, I oversaw a program which funded small-scale infrastructure projects, such as new water-tanks, solar panels and class-room buildings. This experience taught me the value of supporting communities to develop their own solutions.

I am running as a Greens candidate to help find local solutions to complex environmental and social challenges. From waste management to footpaths, from libraries and parks to affordable public housing, I am passionate about finding the practical ways in which the local council can address big issues such as climate change and social and economic inequality.

Frances Cairns

I am a certified bookkeeper, looking after the accounting of small businesses for the past 30 years. I also hold a Graduate Certificate in Family and Community History and have a family history research business servicing clients across Australia and overseas. I understand the needs of small business operators.

I love living in Dapto and being a member of Dapto Chamber of Commerce keeps me in touch with local business. As a mother and grandmother, I know the complexities and pressures facing families. With my mother surviving to the age of 96, I also understand the needs of elderly people and the services they require.

I was a mature age student and gained a degree in Sociology and Philosophy. University opened my eyes to the history of Australia, the appalling treatment of Aboriginal people and the diversity of opinion.

I am running as a Greens candidate for Ward 3, because my life experience has taught me what is important to people.

Malika Elizabeth Reese

I came to the Illawarra to study at Wollongong University in 1990 and have lived here ever since. I live in Port Kembla and deeply love the suburb and the community. I think Wollongong is one of the best places on the planet.

I have been an active member of the Wollongong Arts community for decades. I am a preschool music teacher, a funeral celebrant, a choir leader, an event organiser, a musician, a writer and a mother.

I have lived in five countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. I have lived in big cities, rural country towns and the suburbs, and have friends from many backgrounds. I welcome diversity.

We need a healthy and thriving city that supports all and gives our children a good future.

I would like to see small businesses flourish. I am also particularly interested in helping the vulnerable members of our community so that they feel supported and worthy.