Home ContentMeet Mark Gibson: candidate for Perth Lord Mayor

Meet Mark Gibson: candidate for Perth Lord Mayor

Published : August 08, 2020

Seasoned journalist Mark Gibson tells Flourish Magazine why he is the champion Perth needs and why the time is right...now!

by P.A. Sinclair.

 

Restoring governance and confidence in the City of Perth is no mean feat with the City currently without a Lord Mayor and recent history that has cast the capital under a cloud.

However, long-term resident Mark Gibson is putting his back into a rescue mission like no other.

One of six candidates now running, Mark lives in the City and wants to be a full-time Lord Mayor.

“I love the City and just want to make it better,” he says.

Mark believes there are three tiers of people that need to be looked after in the City: residents; workers; and visitors. He wants to encourage more residents by providing better facilities - shopping centers, schools, universities - and to make access into the City for commuters and visitors more affordable and user friendly. Turning the City into a car-free zone on weekends and encouraging commuters to use public transport are just some of the ways Mark plans to invigorate a City that has been left for dead.

“I am a champion for Perth. I love it already and just want to make it better. Turn Murray and Hay Street Malls into alfresco dining areas with street performers. Look at all the talent we have in Perth, let’s pay them to entertain its people with performances, artists. Look at WAAPA! There is so much talent in Perth, the City can show it off. Musicians, dancers, painters. The City is the heart of a community. We need to be able to welcome and accommodate everyone, every day, for every reason. Closing off the city on weekends for pedestrians only and filling that space with all this activity is something I would love to see come to fruition.”

What of the business closures and empty offices?

“I will do whatever I can to make is easier for business. Cutting red tape, speeding up approval processes. If they want alfresco dining, give it to them, don’t make business owners go through hoops.”

Some of these hoops are essential for safety and structural integrity of course. For example, filling up Hay Street and Murray Street Malls every weekend could put extra pressure on Police services as crowd control issues need to be addressed. All this alfresco dining sounds marvelous but is the infrastructure there to support it?

More residence, better facilities - supermarkets, schools, universities. Mark wants to bring a vibrancy into the city, to activate it.

Promoting cultural awareness and advocating for the homeless are also big on Mark’s agenda and one of his priorities is to find an empty building that can be used to house the City’s current homeless community.

“There is currently a makeshift homeless shelter on a puddle riddled bitumen backwater which wouldn’t need a lot of funding to provide comfort and shelter to just make it a bit nicer,” Mark says.

While Common Ground, one of the State’s homeless projects announced recently, is great news, it won’t be operating for another three years.

“That doesn’t help those currently living on the streets,” Mark says.

While reading all 600 pages of the Local Government Act may not make Mark all knowing of the myriad issues facing councils, it’s certainly an indication of his commitment, capacity and focus. Some suggest a candidate for Lord Mayor should at least have councillor experience, though how many councillors have put their hand up to run in the City’s history?

A prestigious position that comes with a lot of responsibility, what makes this 48-year old think he’s got what it takes to be the champion this City needs?

“I live here, I love it, life skills and 30 years as a journalist you learn things so quickly all the time on a whole range of topics. As a senior member of a team for many years managing people, egos, situations, legal issues, understanding economics has been my profession. I have lived in the City for 20 years and have been championing its cause all along. I live and breathe the City and will be a full-time Mayor which is what this City needs. Someone with focus, commitment and passion.”

There are eight councillors and Mark says he will work with whomever is voted and will not have Council positions filled by his mates.

“I don’t have the backing of big business nor the massive media profile, I just want to improve my local community and improve the City and to make the decisions that are right for the community,” he says.

The boy from Greenwood has been rolling up his sleeves since a young tack whose focus was Wimbledon. A tennis scholarship to the University of San Diego in 1989 and acceptance into the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts became Mark’s first crossroads, the first big decision of his life.

“I had more prospects as a journalist than a tennis player,” the first successful decision of many.

After graduating from WAAPA in 1991 Mark carved a career in journalism in Perth and Sydney and currently fills-in as an announcer on 6PR. Mark is the National Ambassador for Dementia Australia and Inaugural Ambassador for Open House Perth. His philanthropic portfolio includes hosting and fundraising for Telethon, Lifeline WA, Youth Focus, Love Angels Foundation and Alzheimer’s WA, amongst others.  

A natural communicator, fit, enthusiastic and respected, Mark believes running as an independent is crucial to cleaning up the place.

“It was a case of living in the city for so long, I would love to make a difference to the city at some point if the time was right. I’d thought about it. I got support from listeners and thought what am I waiting for? The time is actually right… now! So yes, the time is right to give it a crack.”

The field just got larger and the competition is heating up. With ten weeks to go before the election the next Perth Lord Mayor needs to be a person the public can respect and trust.

Voting: 17th October 2020.




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