Geelong council election 2017: George Ballas declares as a candidate
George Ballas, who received an Order of Australia Medal in 1995 for his services to the community, has confirmed his intentions to stand at the historic October poll.
THE first debutant candidate for the forthcoming Geelong council election has a wealth of local experience to draw on.
Mr Ballas is the first resident outside of four ex-councillors — Tony Ansett, John Irvine, Petter Murrihy and Ron Nelson — to publicly throw their hat in the ring for the next Geelong council.
With no political party ties and no interest in using local council as a platform to higher office, Mr Ballas said he would bring a true independence to City Hall.
“My heart is with the community,” he said.
“My point of difference would be that I would represent the people without fear or favour.”
A co-founder and former chair of the Geelong Multicultural Aged Care Service, Mr Ballas has also played a key role in the development of the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council.
He served as chairman of Pako Festa for about a decade, and has worked with Barwon Health and the old Geelong West council on other projects.
However he has never previously stood for council.
Mr Ballas said he can thought Geelong was in the process of a major transition from a manufacturing base to a tourism and education hub.
“I believe I can contribute because of my vast experience and knowledge of community in Geelong.
“I’m not saying I can change the world, but I can bring some sense and sensibility, some rationale and logic.”
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Mr Ballas, who lived interstate for about 11 years before returning to Geelong two years ago, said he was comfortable with the new structure of the council.
Voters will elect 11 Councillors, selected from 4 separate wards.
Councillors would then choose the mayor and deputy mayor, who would serve two-year terms.