WILLOUGHBY, Australia—Lifelong Willoughby resident, accountant and human rights lobbyist, Vache Kahramanian has announced that he will contest the vacant Willoughby City Council seat in the electorate’s Sailors Bay ward.
Kahramanian, 28, aims to bring “fiscal professionalism” and “youthful dynamism” to Willoughby City Council if elected on Saturday, 14th June 2014. The election is a by-election for the sole available seat on Council, which opened up when Councilor Gail Giles-Gidney was elected Mayor to replace the late Pat Riley.
The Sailors Bay ward encompasses Castlecrag, Northbridge and South Willoughby; all areas well known to Kahramanian, who said: “Willoughby is the only City I’ve known. I was a Willoughby son, a Willoughby student, a Willoughby professional, and now a Willoughby husband, a Willoughby ratepayer, a Willoughby shopper and a Willoughby diner.”
Kahramanian is a certified practicing accountant (CPA), who has worked for global firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers and CoverMore Travel Insurance.
“We have all read about the concerns Willoughby residents have about the state of the City’s finances, especially since the development of The Concourse,” he said. “I, for one, will feel a lot more comfortable if at least one of my Councilors was an accountant. I intend to be your fiscal professional in Council.”
Kahramanian, who also holds a Graduate Diploma in International Law and International Relations from the University of New South Wales, currently heads the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia); an advocacy group that lobbies all levels of government for its community’s local, national and international interests.
“I know how politics works,” Kahramanian continued. “I know my way around the Parliament Houses in Canberra and on Macquarie Street. I have legislative runs on the board, having led the passage of multiple motions in the NSW and South Australian governments, among others.”
On local issues, Kahramanian said he intends to be a politician in the word’s “purest definition”, explaining: “If elected as councilor, I will always default to what the majority of my constituents demand, while always trying to represent and incorporate the minority view.”
He did outline his positions on key local issues, though.
On rate increases, Kahramanian says: “At my core, I am against increasing rates, or increases on any types of taxes for that matter. That is the easy way out. It should always be the very last resort, and even then, it should be taken to an election.”
On traffic congestion and overdevelopment, he says: “Overdevelopment is unacceptable to me. Willoughby needs to remain pure and only grow to the extent that its roads and infrastructure allows.”
On the Willoughby Leisure Centre, Kahramanian says: “The Willoughby Leisure Centre is where I learned to swim, and watched many games of basketball. It is tired and needs to be redeveloped in one swoop, as quickly as possible.”
On the divisive issues surrounding Northbridge Plaza, he says: “The Northbridge Plaza expansion-slash-carpark situation is problematic. I understand the corporate realities of operating a mall, while I also realise that expansion could mean hell for traffic, and hell for other smaller shopping villages and businesses. The end resolution must be to the benefit of the community.”
And on the unique Haven Amphitheatre, he states: “The Haven Amphitheatre is an area close to my heart, having performed on that stage as a student at Willoughby Public School. I’ll work with all stakeholders to find the best solution to ensure that the amphitheatre is reopened so that generations to come can enjoy this unique space.”
Kahramanian also plans to ensure that more of the local community is able to make use of The Concourse, which is a world class entertainment venue developed by Council and managed by a private firm.
Kahramanian said: “The Concourse is the greatest infrastructure project in our great City’s recent history, but unfortunately many groups have been priced out of using this venue. I’ll fight to ensure fairer use of The Concourse for all.”
Vache Kahramanian has taken leave from his duties as the Executive Director of ANC Australia while he runs his Willoughby City Council campaign.