What you need to know
Cr Jim Cusack
The Myrnong ward is a special part of Moonee Valley and the larger Melbourne community and I appreciate how fortunate I am to be elected to represent residents’ interests on this council.
It’s true I am over sixty but I am an energetic community campaigner. I am married and have twin sons, live in Ascot Vale and share my house with two cats. My working includes stints as a geologist’s field assistant, an employment counsellor in youth justice and prisons, management roles in delivering employment services, policy development to establish the national vocational training system, services to assist problem gamblers, victims of violent crime and reduce crime in our suburbs. I am currently employed by the State Government. I presented the Connolly Association Radio Show for 17 years on 3CR and have held various positions on community organisations like the Celtic Club and The John Pierce Centre (supporting deaf and hearing impaired people).
I enjoy reading and current affairs, listen to a wide range of music, dabble in sketching, playing bowls, performing on stage and I have produced several plays. I hold a Masters in Education (Leadership and Change).
What five words best describe you?
What do you hope to achieve in your term as Councillor?
While all Councillors work within a four year plan there are several high level issues that I want to see this Council address.
Incorporate more detail and evidence in our planning scheme so Council can robustly defend our neighbourhoods against inappropriate development while encouraging good design solutions in developments.
Formulate an integrated plan that responds to the high levels of disadvantage in the Flemington and Ascot Vale areas and a separate "lifestyle" plan for people with disabilities and mental health concerns, their families and carers.
Open up Council planning and decision-making to more community input on strategies for change in our neighbourhoods and environment. Ensure all our advocacy plans are informed by health promotion principles. Develop a twofold plan to participate in major and regional arts and cultural events and create similar events in our own right.
Revise Council's approach in its support local business, the retail strips, social enterprises and start-ups.
What do you think are Moonee Valley's greatest strengths?
Moonee Valley’s greatest asset is its people, their energy, their many cultural backgrounds and diversity of our neighbourhoods. We are the gateway to Melbourne’s northwest but Moonee Valley is markedly different from our neighbours.
When travelling around our city it is obvious that we enjoy many advantages over other parts of Melbourne due to our proximity to the CBD, the airport, the sporting landmarks of the racecourses and Windy Hill, retail strips that survive as well as our natural resources like the Maribyrnong River, parks and recreation reserves which create a unique place to live.
Taken together these are the ingredients that go to making our community an energetic one, that is caring, values the contribution of others, is flexible and adaptable and in many ways is beautiful.