• Tony Bosworth

Party Focus - Small Business Party – green light for sand mining, slashed rates, roads repaired



Eddie Dogramachi says Hawkesbury Council should be run like an efficient business and he says if it were then rates could be slashed, red tape cut and we’d all benefit from improved council services.



It’s a big platform, but Mr Dogramachi, who heads the Small Business Party believes it’s doable if he and his fellow 5 candidates are elected councillors come December 4.


“We are the only independent party,” he says, “no affiliation with any of the majors. The difference between us and them is that their masters in Macquarie St tell them what to do.”


There are several other independent groups running in this election - People Not Parties, The Alliance, Preeti Karan's group and Les and The Doc - more on those soon...


Meanwhile, the Pitt Town businessman is no stranger to local politics. Back in 2019 he stood as an independent candidate for the Hawkesbury state seat, which was won by Liberal Robyn Preston, and he has also been a member of One Nation for a short time too.


He is not currently a member of any political party aside from the Small Business Party, and neither are any of his candidates.


“I’m not doing this for money,” Mr Dogramachi told the Post. "I want to give back to the community.


“Some of the candidates, they are just carrying on a family enterprise - father or mother, retired politician, or present, they want to carry on that.


“Some of the candidates, and the previous councillors, most of them, and I say this confidently, are unemployable, they cannot get a job anywhere else. Some of the councillors they think that they own the place and they are sitting on those chairs with superglue and they will not let go, and the reason is, they cannot make a cent if they left the council or were no longer councillors.”


He says, his group's run for seats is “a noble cause” because when he first arrived in Australia he had only $489 to his name, and he was given opportunities and now he wants to give back.



He worked hard and became an industrial chemist, set up successful businesses in chemicals and industrial oils, has worked globally, and has lived in the Hawkesbury in Pitt Town for over 30 years.


Perhaps most controversially, he says sand mining in the Hawkesbury should be encouraged.


He sees no problem with sand mining here, and indeed believes it should be green-lit to the ultimate benefit of all residents. He says sand miners should pay a fee – based on a per tonne amount processed – to Council and that would ultimately lead to slashed rates for everyone.

Small Business Party leader - Eddie Dogramachi


“We have 70 metres of silt sitting on this river and Sydney is crying out for sand and we cannot get permission for people to dredge. These people [who object] have no idea about physics or chemistry,” he says.


Mr Dogramachi says the Hawkesbury has some of the best quality sand in the world, and we should be utilising it.


Sand mining in the Hawkesbury is a red hot topic given the recent approval for land-based sand mining at a Freemans Reach turf farm, which effectively opens up the prospect of much more widespread sand mining across the local government area.


The Hawkesbury sits on total estimated reserves of at least 280 million tonnes of sand and gravel, mostly in the Richmond Lowlands.


“There should be more sand mining of the river,” says Mr Dogramachi.


“What’s wrong with more sand mining possibilities? It is the cleanest sand.


“There are those who are objecting to it because they may not get anything in return. He [the sand miner] is going to pay money to the council, is he not? I will make him pay per tonne. I will make sure that any sand miner pays.


“Would they [residents] not love to have their rates cut thanks to the money generated by selling sand?


“My aim is to reduce the rates immediately. Instead of paying $5000 a year in rates you could be paying a thousand dollars.”


His other key issues – he highlights roads and says he would get them sealed and repaired immediately on getting voted in; he’d encourage businesses to set up in the Hawkesbury; and he’d boost tourism.


He says all councillors need to work together and says the public are tired of seeing political infighting.


Clearly he is a man who wants to get on and get things done. He doesn’t have time for budding politicians who spend their time on social media and organising photo opportunities.


“They think this election is a fashion parade, Hollywood smiles, and a popularity contest. If you smile and kiss a couple of babies, they will vote for you – this has to stop.”


He says there needs to be serious investment to get the Hawkesbury’s roads repaired, and he believes he can bring in much of that investment through his business contacts who will help get the roads mended, for example.


He also says if he gets elected he “will put a lock on the Mayor’s office” and rather than people coming to the Council he will ensure he and his team are out there visiting ratepayers and residents and finding out what the issues are.


He says some councillors wouldn’t even know where areas like Macdonald Valley are.


He has no issues with further development in the Hawkesbury, “providing it is sustainable. Providing you have got the infrastructure, what is the problem with that?”


“My number one priority is rates. I will bring rates down. Everyone is suffering, we have families not able to put a decent meal on the table because they have to save money to pay their rates. And the Council gives $92,000 to WSROC [Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils] when they are crying that they have no money.”

One of his other main aims if he’s elected is to boost tourism and the local hospitality industry. He says the Hawkesbury “will flourish” and believes the heritage aspect is vitally important.


He also wants to home or rehouse what he reckons are at least 95 homeless people in the Hawkesbury who sleep rough every night because they simply don’t have a roof over their heads.


“Councillors are not interested in these poor unfortunate people sleeping along the river banks, as most don’t vote or are not registered,” he says.


“We are not interested in photo sessions with emergency people, residents will not have to come to the council chamber to complain, apply for a permit to chop a branch and pay a fee, we don’t have time for such trivial matters. Practicality is what we are going to offer, and common sense is what we will base our decisions on.


“We are servants of the residents, not the other way around.”


On preference votes during the election, Mr Dogramachi says none of the major parties will get his preferences, they will flow to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party who are running 6 candidates of their own, including one of Mr Dogramachi’s sons, as it happens.


The Small Business Party’s stated top priorities:


Rate Reduction

“Residents in the Hawkesbury deserve immediate rate reductions. Rates should be fair and be calculated from the number of occupants of the land, not from land size.

“This current dysfunctional council system is costing some residents up to 300% more than some others.”


Roads

“Instead of temporarily patching and constantly repairing roads and streets, council should be carrying out quality work to properly seal any new or old road/street. Our rates do not and never have reflected this.”


Employ Local

“Instead of contracting outside companies to perform any council work, local qualified businesses who have a commitment to the Hawkesbury should be receiving priority. Boost the local economy to benefit the residents of the Hawkesbury.”


Save The Outer Suburbs

“Our low populated outer suburbs have been ignored by this council for too long. They deserve the same service as the rest. Garbage collection, road maintenance and easy medical access has been lacking for decades.”


Efficient Planning Administration

“Applying for any type of development application (DA) in the current council carries a waiting period from many months to years. A simpler businesslike approach with no red tape will reduce wait times.”


The Small Business Party team



Eddie Dogramachi is a manufacturer and supplier of consumables to the industrial maintenance industry. He says thanks to his “academic industrial chemistry and textile experience in the UK” he has supported small businesses for 32 years. He says he will “fight and work smart to correct all the wrongs this and previous councils have done to our residents and small businesses”.






Mario Fenech is born and bred in the Hawkesbury, a successful transport company owner and farmer. Mr Dogramachi says, “Mario will do whatever is necessary to stand-by and support the ignored people of Hawkesbury. Mario will work tirelessly until we all get our rates’ worth. No empty promises, just results.”







Esma Celik is says Mr Dogramachi, “an experienced and well credentialed company business growth manager, using her commerce and business degree to expand the family business as well as working with Samsung Electronics overseas. Esma wants to be a voice for small business in local government. Her hands-on experience of over 20 years will be an advantage for small business and council, ensuring better fiscal management and a voice that people can rely on.”






Charlie Saliba has been a local family run small business owner for over 35 years. "He has supported numerous charities over the years to assist local small businesses. Charlie is passionate of a “fair go” for small businesses and will fight to get it right for farmers."





Emilio Hartounian is a local metalworks industry operator, “who strongly believes in assisting local small business,” says Mr Dogramachi.




Stephen Burke has been a small business owner for over 35 years. “As a Horticulturist and a former TAFE teacher, he believes in protecting all aspects of our Australian environment. Stephen is committed to preserving our beautiful and unique heritage while also promoting tourism into the Hawkesbury.”











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