Businessman Russell Poliwka to run for Mayor of Joondalup

Prominent businessman Russell Poliwka has thrown his hat into the ring for Mayor of Joondalup. Picture: Martin Kennealey d472558
Prominent businessman Russell Poliwka has thrown his hat into the ring for Mayor of Joondalup. Picture: Martin Kennealey d472558

REAL estate principal and prominent businessman Russell Poliwka will join this year’s Joondalup mayoral race for a fourth time.

Mr Poliwka, who is a current Central ward councillor – his term expires in 2019 – and ran for mayor in 2003, 2006 and 2009, said it was time to put ratepayers first.

“I’ve been there (on council) for two years now and I’ve seen some behaviour that I’ve found unacceptable towards ratepayers,” he told the Weekender.

“I think with some of the big-ticket items, we could be more rational in our decision making.”

He said this included the proposed $100 million performing arts centre, which “is not feasible and should never have gone as far as it did” and Boas Place “which could be a significant money maker”.

“I’m a successful businessman. I’m an accountant so I have a bit of a feel for dollars,” the Joondalup Business Association stalwart said.

“I think the administration we’ve got are top notch but I think we need to put in there a culture of looking at how we go about our budgeting processes – is it core business?

“We need to be ratepayer-driven rather than ideology.”

Mr Poliwka, who is managing director of First Western Realty, said he thought it was also time to look at differential rates, which he believed penalised commercial, industrial and vacant landholders.

He said the City was also “not doing enough for small business”.

“Opportunity needs to be given to local suppliers and local small businesses wherever possible,” he said.

Other things he said he wanted to see were horses back on the beach and a “proper NPL-standard soccer stadium”.

He said he was also “not a great believer of putting high rise on the coast” or of “large mass buildings in suburbia”.

He added that if elected, people “wouldn’t see as much of me as you’ve seen of the previous (mayor)”.

“I’m going to be delegating a lot of the day-to-day stuff to the deputy and also to the ward members,” he said.

“I’m not going to turn up at every ward event. That’s something I think the ward members need exposure on so they can get closer to their ratepayers.

“I’ll go to the significant ones.”

He said the ratepayers would “benefit from having another option”.

“I’m not a member of any political party. I’m not going to be instructed by this faction or that faction,” he said.

“I’ve got no ambition to be a politician.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be endorsed by several of my fellow council members to run.

“We just want to have a peaceful, commonsense, rational debate in the chamber.

“Everybody should be respected… not just ratepayers but also elected members.

“I’ve got a strong belief that the role is one which encourages everyone to participate and facilitate debate.”

He said if they could “tick off the three Rs” – ratepayers and capping rate increases, respect and rational decision-making – then “we’re halfway home to a fairly cohesive and productive council”.