Councillor standing as independent in NSW election
PROMINENT Ballina councillor Jeff Johnson will stand as an independent candidate in Ballina at next month's State election.
In a statement issued this morning, Mr Johnson said he has resigned from Greens party in order to run as an independent.
"It's not a decision that I took lightly but I couldn't remain a member and stand as an independent," he said.
"It's a decision that I've been thinking about for some time."
Mr Johnson decided to stand at the urging of "people from across the political spectrum who say they want a representative who will put the interests of the community first".
Mr Johnson, who stood as a Greens candidate for mayor in the 2012 council election but has not previously stood in state or federal elections on the Northern Rivers, makes no mention of the Greens campaign or of the Ballina Greens candidate Tamara Smith.
Mr Johnson says in the statement he is standing as an independent because it would "increase my effectiveness in getting the best outcomes for Ballina and the wider region".
"It's time for some fresh ideas and a different approach," he says in the statement.
"I have a proven track record representing the community on a variety of issues and I will continue to do that whatever the outcome of this election.
"This election is about who you trust to represent the interests of our community.
"As a long-term resident with a young family I will continue to work to protect our precious natural environment while supporting sustainable growth and prosperity for residents and businesses.
"The Nationals ongoing support for Coal Seam Gas development in the Northern Rivers is unforgiveable. They deserve to be put last on election day.
"I am absolutely committed to protecting the region from coal-seam gas and will work for the declaration of a gassfield-free Northern Rivers."