Richmond Valley Council, Daniel Simpson, New Italy, Independent
Tell us about where you live and your family.
I have lived in the area for the past 15 years having initially lived in Woodburn for three years, New Italy for eight years and now Evans Head for the past four years. I feel that I have a fairly unique set of skills and viewpoints to the Council.
I have a young family, my children are 13, 10, and 8.
If you’ve been a councillor – what are you most proud of in your previous term?
I am very proud of what the council has achieved over the past five years. Whilst being presented with some significant challenges in the form of bushfires and covid, the council stepped up to the challenge.
We were one of the only councils in the state to not stand down a single employee during covid, keeping many of our services open when other councils were not.
We also had some great success advocating for State and Federal funding for our area, which has seen projects completed across most of our towns and villages. One of the highlights for me was the inclusion of the Richmond Valley as a NSW regional Jobs Precinct.
This coupled with the future industrial land expansion opportunities in the Casino Industrial Precinct help provide the Richmond Valley with a stronger economic future.
What do you bring to the role of councillor this election?
I’ve been fortunate to have access to education and have completed a management degree and a Master’s in Business Administration. I enjoy bringing my business sense, financial management skills, and family values to the table. To my knowledge, I am the only candidate that currently owns and operates a business in the Valley that employs staff. To this end, I seek to ensure the council is business-friendly and is doing what it can to support and encourage small businesses.
What brings you joy in life?
First and foremost, spending time with those I love.
As an employer I really enjoy seeing my staff grow and develop, in hospitality, we employ a lot of younger staff, often still at school.
I love watching them come out of their shell, improve their skills, and help them move on to bigger and better things with the knowledge we played a small part in their future success.
What difficulties does your community face?
Our roads need attention! Our businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find staff and as a result of covid. We are seeing a real desire from people living in cities to move into rural areas like our own, which will further strain our already stretched infrastructure. Not to mention the very real existential threat that climate change poses.
For our children’s sake, it’s important the valley maintains and improves our way of life and our natural assets whilst attracting economic development and manage our council’s financial prosperity.
What is your job? What do you like/dislike about it?
As a business owner, much of my role is around setting direction and then providing the support and resources my workforce needs to achieve our goals.
I both enjoy and dislike managing certain aspects of the workforce, it can be both very rewarding and very frustrating at the same time.
Dare to dream – what is your vision for your region?
As a businessperson, I subscribe to the philosophy of Economy and Environment, not economy OR environment which I think is where our country has been stuck for far too long.
In business circles there has been a stigma about being green and being labelled a greenie for a long time, it is starting to change but there is still a lot that needs to be done in this space.
It also frustrates me that state and federal elections seem to be run and lost based on the economy and not much else.
It seems to me that people want to be climate aware but when it comes to voting, vote more based upon the financial impacts to them. Perhaps this is because none of the major parties have managed to get the balance right.
My vision for the Valley finds this elusive right balance. A place that values, maintains and enhances its environment and its natural assets whilst attracting economic development and supporting small businesses.
A place where our lifestyle is revered and our kids don’t have to leave to pursue meaningful careers if they don’t want to.