Getting to know Patrick Deegan

Richmond Valley Council, Patrick Deegan, Casino, Labor

Tell us about where you live and your family.
I have lived in Casino for most of my life, spent much of my childhood in Coraki and I spend a lot of time in Evans Head. This gives me a strong understanding of the issues facing communities right across the Richmond Valley.
My wife Gail and I have chosen to raise our family here because of our great local of communities and relaxed lifestyle. We have four children, two who attend school locally and two are in the workforce.
Gail is a local small business operator employing locals. This gives me a strong understanding of the challenges small businesses face.


Patrick has not been a councillor before.


What do you bring to the role of councillor this election?
I will be a voice for the community on council. A number of people have said to me that often it appears that councillors are a voice for the council in the community, but they want councillors who are a voice for the community on council.
It is vital that there are a range of voices on council representing a variety of views.
It’s important that the council is united and councillors work together, but what we don’t want is a council where different views are not represented.
I and my fellow Labor candidates are proud to be open and transparent on the ballot paper that we are running as Labor candidates.
The reality is there is a current councillor who is a member of the National Party along with another candidate who is also a member of the Nationals. Both disclosed this on their candidate registration form that is publicly available, but they are not being transparent on the ballot paper.
We will never vote along party lines, but the public will know that we will bring the values of fairness and equality to every decision we make.


What brings you joy in life?
The simple things in life, like spending time with my family, taking the dogs for a walk on the beach in Evans Head.
I also enjoy making a difference to the lives of others in my job as a social worker.
What difficulties does your community face?
The Richmond Valley has faced significant challenges in recent years, such as the devastating drought, unprecedented bushfires, floods and the covid pandemic.
It has been one thing after another and families, workers, farmers, small businesses and pensioners are struggling to make ends meet.
This financial year the council imposed a 5.5% rate rise on residents and businesses, and there have been similar rate rises for a number of years. Given the community has faced crisis after crisis, this needs to stop. My team and I will oppose any further rates rises above the state wide rate peg currently about 2%.


What is your job? What do you like/dislike about it?
I currently have two jobs, I’m a social worker and the coordinator of the Casino Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I really enjoy both jobs, I get to make a difference in the lives of individuals and I get to support businesses in the local community.


Dare to dream – what is your vision for your region?
We already live in the best part of Australia with a great quality of life. We need to ensure that any future growth is sustainable, that we attract new businesses to the area to create new jobs and opportunities particularly young people, so they don’t have to leave the area to pursue opportunities.
With all of the challenges we have faced in recent years it is vital that we have a strong sense of community. Research shows that when people are facing stress, if they have strong sense of community and people are connected, they do alright in the end.
One way to do this is to ensure each neighbourhood has a connection point such as a park with appropriate equipment to bring people together and build connections. We also need to address the housing crisis with a council wide housing plan that focuses on residents over developers to help make housing more affordable for renters and those entering the housing market.

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