Councillor profiles - Mayor Danny Goss Baw Baw Shire Council
From the Strzelecki Ranges in the south to the mountain country around Mt Baw Baw in the north, Baw Baw Shire is a very fertile area with high rainfall and some of the best soil quality in Australia. Just an hour and a quarter from Melbourne and less than an hour from the ocean and snow, we are fortunate to live in a special part of Australia.
I didn’t think I would be elected
I was elected four years ago. It was quite a shock when the results came out. I didn’t think I would be elected – but I certainly didn’t want to come last!
I thought I could bring some sensible but pragmatic decision making and provide a rigorous questioning technique to many processes. I think I have achieved that.
I am a CPA and manage my own accounting practice. For over thirty years I have built up a very successful business by putting the customer first and treating them as special.
The accountancy business has given me broad exposure to many successful small businesses, and I have learned a lot from their operations. That broad overview does assist with Council decisions and I can generally see the other side to most arguments.
These days I walk a lot with my dogs, probably around 30km a week. It helps to see all the issues around my immediate neighbourhood as well as stay fit!
I also run dogs in Agility Trials. I have always had Shelties and they love Agility. I don’t have as much time to train them these days, but I have a new pup and I think he will be a star – if I can get him trained up properly.
I am also a big reader. I am across current affairs daily, but I also have an extensive library. At the moment I have 23 books that are unread - I just need the time!
Proud of our council
Baw Baw Shire is one of the fastest growing Local Government Areas in Victoria. We were recently allowed access to the State Government Growing Suburbs Fund to assist fast growing councils.
Council has doubled its Road Maintenance spend – all funded from an efficiency dividend from within the organisation, very prudent management by our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Leadership team has allowed this to happen.
The thing I am proudest of is the way our group of councillors advocate for their communities. They work very hard and none have vested interests. They are there for the right reason – to make the lives of their citizens the best they can through the services and projects Council is involved in.
We now have a long term infrastructure plan in place and the right projects have been selected on merit through rigorous data testing.
The project I would like to see come to fruition is the recent Cycling Study adopted by Council. It’s a $25 million spend if all projects were done and includes a Cycling Centre of Excellence in Warragul (Criterium track, BMX, Cyclocross), the mountain bike course at Erica and the fantastic Rokeby to Noojee Rail trail.
I don’t think that councillors can really take personal credit for specific things. After all, if you can’t convince your fellow councillors you can’t achieve a thing. But I did move the motion to televise all meetings live, to provide a free hard rubbish collection and as mayor I have begun the process of opening up various briefings to the community and press. This was a very secretive council prior to this group.
On being mayor
I just enjoy talking to people and seeing their (often small) issues resolved.
A lady rang me once suggesting a park bench was needed in a park. Our Urban Operations installed two – within a week! She thought I was marvellous. Council officers can really make us look good!
Another night a lady rang me because Council’s bin contractor had left her empty bin lying on the ground – I could have called the contractor but it was easier for me to go and do it – so I did! She had no idea.
So, it’s the words of thanks that mean the most.
The bigger thing is being involved in planning out what your area needs. That’s a lot of fun and I enjoy the big picture stuff.
The worst thing about the job
Reading the Briefing notes – for sure. I’m not fantastic on small detail. We have other councillors who are great at that! But I don’t read like that! I speed read to get the idea.
It’s part of the job – I accept that. But it’s not the most enjoyable.
I would like to stay another term and really leave Council in a fantastic place. I would like to see our financial success continue and see our 10 year Long Term Infrastructure plan (LTIP) strengthened and more certainty given to what is achievable.
I hope that our new Road Maintenance Contract is well and truly embedded and that ratepayers are more satisfied with the roads.
And I want to see the cultural change within the organization continue. And prosper. And that anybody who ever has contact with our organization is treated with the respect and curtesy they deserve. As I do in my business.
And I would like to assist more groups in our community to learn how to lobby Council and get their project into the LTIP or Budget.