Michelle Tormey, community worker and the mother of one, has been selected as the Greens candidate for North Ward in the upcoming Local Council elections.
Michelle, who was born and raised in Nepean, has a strong commitment to helping Penrith grow and become a better community for all of its residents – particularly its young people. She believes that there needs to be more activities that engage with young people and that their interests should be taken into consideration when planning for Penrith’s future.
Michelle believes that some of the issues that Penrith’s young adults face arise because Council is disconnected from those that represent the area’s future. If elected, she insists that she will “bring a fresh point of view to Council – one that focusses on a young person’s experience of living, working and raising a family in this area.”
In particular, Michelle believes that more work needs to be done to engage young women in decision-making processes.
“I want to be seen as a role model for young women and to encourage them to get involved in representing their community. They need to know that they can have their voices heard.”
As well as wanting to bring more diversity to Council, Michelle believes that we need to do more to protect our local environment.
“We have so many beautiful public spaces and we need to maintain them. I want to see Werrington Lake cleared of garbage and dangerous materials. I will also seek to protect local bushlands and the large areas of Cumberland Plain woodlands in this electorate.”
However, she will not only focus on better protecting and preserving our natural heritage, but will also push for initiatives that are aimed at cleaning up our streets.
“I love this area, but I also recognise that there are some places that require more maintenance than others. I think that Council should be looking to identify these hotspots and allocating more resources to making sure that our streets are clean. When I’m walking around with my daughter, I want to see my love and respect for this area reflected back at me.”
Michelle strongly believes that there are a number of initiatives that can be taken up by Council in order to further develop a sense of pride in the area’s residents.
“We should have an Arts Precinct and more cultural events, to foster a sense of belonging. We should be promoting active transport, such as walking and cycling, while improving our access to public transport. We should be actively working towards making sure that Penrith is a home and not just a dormitory town.
“And where some might see graffiti as a problem that needs to be met with harsher punishment, I think that we should be looking to the Blue Mountains Street Art Collaborative, or the Marist Youth Care’s mural in Blacktown, as examples of how something assumed to be a negative can actually be turned into a positive.”
Michelle realises that some may want to dismiss her in favour of more seasoned candidates, but she would urge them to think carefully before making any final decisions.
“Experience is important, but we need to make sure that it doesn’t become stagnation. And while youth is often assumed to be a sign of inexperience, it can also mean innovation and passion.
“I, like so many other young people, just need the opportunity to show that I have what it takes.”