Mark Rodda is a second-term councillor, public servant, and a father of six. The born-and-bred Tamworthian is passionate about infrastructure and services, and is committed to being a devoted “advocate for a better deal for the people of my region”. He has, and probably always will, call our city home. Meet today’s Face of Tamworth.
Family: Tamworth born (Tamworth Base Hospital in June 1968) and bred and am coincidently as old as ABC’s Play School. I attended South Tamworth Primary School in the 1970s and Tamworth High School in the 1980s, and later TAFE New England. Married to wife Julie (April 2000). I am the father of six, that’s right six delightful kids: Claudia (almost 14), Sterling (almost 10), Eliott (8), Ivy (almost 6), Felix (3) and Nelson (3).
When and why did you get involved with council?
For some time prior to the 2012 local government elections I used to lament about the basic responsibilities of council not seeming to get done. I’d write to council about issues like roads, footpaths, parks & gardens, street trees, street lighting etc and would be told “no” and like many fellow ratepayers I would question “what are my rates spent on”?
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I have always been a passionate advocate for a better deal for the people of my region. Prior to the 2012 local government elections I feared that the average ratepayer didn't have a voice, that they were forgotten or ignored. I felt that I had something to offer the community because I consider myself just an average person but with 6 kids and healthy mortgage, I understand the cost of living pressures faced by my fellow ratepayers and I wanted to do what I could to assist them by being their voice on issues and matters of concern and not imposing any major financial pain like a large special rate variation or increase.
With six kids and sadly three with special needs I understand the need for the very best infrastructure and facilities that will cater for a more inclusive community for them and many others in our community that grapple with disabilities and medical conditions.
While I have been part of a Council team that has seen many things done over the last 5 years, I am always mindful that there is more to do. We certainly could increase the roads budget, footpaths, parks and gardens. I am pleased that our Council is actively seeking job opportunities which are vital for the future of our region.
What did you do before council and what do you do now (occupation if still working)?
I am a full-time servant of the fine people of NSW, an employee of the NSW Government, a role I take seriously. Prior to becoming a Councillor in 2012 I also worked for Coles as a casual night-filler, packing shelves to supplement my day-time income. Plenty of mouths to feed at my home.
What are the top three local issues you’re passionate about?
- Ensuring our ratepayers get the very best infrastructure and services;
- Seeing that we get the best outcomes from the other two tiers of government in terms of grant funding etc to ensure our region, city, towns and villages remain viable into the future;
- Our road infrastructure, sporting and park facilities and amenities, street trees, more job opportunities for our residents and kids.
How long have you lived in Tamworth?
Almost half a century except for a small hiatus in 1994, when I dabbled in part of a politics degree at Nathan, Griffith University.
Why did you decide to make a life here?
Tamworth is home and I love rural NSW. Tamworth and our region including the smaller centres have plenty to offer its residents, country town charm, a clean and relatively safe place to raise a family. As a father of six young kids I can say confidently there probably isn’t a better place to raise kids.
What do you love most about Tamworth?
I love the country charm of Tamworth but has virtually every service our residents would need to enjoy a long and prosperous future here. Tamworth has plenty of services to offer and I love the fact you can generally cross from one side of the city to the other measured in minutes rather than hours. The Regional Playground and our sporting facilities are fantastic. My ancestors spirits are here.
You know you’re from Tamworth when…
You know how to pronounce Goonoo Goonoo – “Gunna Gunoo”.