Andrew Tsounis is a first Generation Greek Australian running as an independent candidate for his community, which he has been resident of for almost 20 years. He says he stands for putting community values first and addressing issues of importance to his neighbourhood home.
Tsounis daughter Adriana says, “when my dad asked me if he should attempt to run as an independent, which is no easy task, I told him yes, because I have grown up seeing how much he loves to help those in the community and how passionate he is about local issues. He always goes above and beyond to address concerns and is involved in so many community and environmental committees that I don’t doubt for a second that he would be more committed to meeting the needs of the individuals in our community than others that do it for self-interested purposes – something I saw a lot as a youth councillor on the former Rockdale City Council whilst in High School.”
GCT was able to speak with Andrew Tsounis ahead of the election on Saturday to ask him a few questions about his candidacy.
Why did you choose to run as an independent candidate for Rockdale Ward, Bayside Council?
I chose to run as an independent candidate for Rockdale Ward as I believe there a number of significant concerns facing the community that must be actively addressed by Council. These include the issues of overdevelopment, green spaces and parking amongst other things. I also believe that running as an independent will allow me to pursue the community’s interests without the burden of being restricted to the policies of a specific party. Being a part of a great number of community groups and being a resident of Bayside Council myself for almost 20 years I am aware of the concerns individuals have at a grass-roots level and the ways in which the community desires to engage in projects undertaken by the Council.
What issues need to be addressed in your ward?
The issues of proposed Priority Precincts in Bardwell Park, Bardwell Valley and Turrella where the State Government is considering significantly overdeveloping the area. This will include apartment blocks up to 20 storeys, which does not only suit the topography of the area, but will place a greater strain on the public transport systems already in place, local schools, hospitals, business and so on. In addition we have the challenge of retaining passive and active green space, traffic concerns, community safety as well as the accessibility of Councillors, in that they should be available more often for individuals in the community to discuss concerns with.
Is this your first time being involved with politics?
No, I previously served four years as a Councillor with Rockdale Council in the previous First Ward prior to the amalgamation of Rockdale and Botany Bay Councils.
Who is on your team and why do you think you will all “put the community values first”?
Carla Cascio, who is a local high school teacher as well as Joe Russo who is also a high school teacher in the area. They too are passionate about improving the amenity and safety of our community.
Community values come first by engaging the community on a regular basis and ensuring that outcomes on a Council level are based on the needs of the community as a whole. It is about making the processes of the Council more transparent and ensuring that anyone and everyone has the ability to raise their concerns to a local Councillor and that these concerns are addressed not simply neglected.
Running as an independent, have you had a lot of support?
I have a level of profile in the area as I am involved in a number of community groups including being President of the Ramsgate Life Saving Club, Chairman of the Botany Bay Rate Payers Association, Patron of the Australian Air League Rockdale Squadron and the Director of St George Children with Disabilities Fund just to name a few. I am also heavily involved, as I have been for a number of years with the Mytilenean Brotherhood, Hellenic Council of Australia, Pan Lesvian Federation. Being involved in these organisations has also allowed me to develop close ties with the Greek Consulate General in Sydney and other Hellenic based organisations such as the Friends In Need Association, AHEPA, Kytherian Association, Kalymnian Association and Illion Association which are all situated in the Bayside Council area.
Election Day is fast approaching, how can the public support you?
Don’t forget to also say hello to our wonderful volunteers on the day, who will be wearing bright orange t-shirts. If you would like to show your support by helping on the day at one of the local polling booths, you can contact me via email or on my mobile.
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Phone number: 0401 268 888