They’re mates. With a scruffy respect for each other. And both are running for mayor in the council elections on December 4.
Current Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow and councillor Robert Hayes have worked together in council for nine years.
While Mr Hayes knows he has a minimal chance of being elected as mayor, he is fine with that.
He was hoping a few others would put their hands up to run, they didn’t and here he is.
“I have nominated because it has been over five years since the community has had a chance to elect a community leader,” Mr Hayes said.
“A mayor needs to be elected in a democratic way by the people on election day.”
Being a mayoral candidate will lift the profile of his team, he said. He is in Group D which includes current councillor Daniel Simpson and Louise Wicks.
Mr Hayes has been a councillor for nine years. He was born and bred in Kyogle and left when he was 17 to start a builder’s apprenticeship around Old Bonalbo where he built rotary dairies. His apprenticeship took him to Moree and then he returned to Kyogle for a few years.
In 1991, he moved to Evans Head and loves living and working there.
“I have built and designed 120 houses units across Evans Head,” he said.
Most of the small-time development I did is now being used for low-cost housing.
He is a building consultant and designer and bases his work around family life and working from home.
Evans Head has changed, he said,
“I have three kids and all have had to leave town because of property prices,” he said.
Two live in Woodburn and one lives in Lismore.
“There’s no quick fix to the housing shortage, the state and federal governments need to address the issue.”
Mr Hayes said he wasn’t like other candidates who say they’ll fix the problem, if he can’t.
He is a strong advocate of young mothers staying at home with the children and believes the government should make that possible with funding.
If he was elected mayor Mr Hayes said he’d want the council to keep progressing like it has in the past five years.
“The success of the council is that we all work together,” he said.
Mr Mustow agrees with working together.