Well-known Aboriginal to stand for city council

TONY Scholes hopes he can win a seat on Coffs Harbour City Council to continue his strident advocacy for young people.

The 47-year-old will stand as an independent at the September 13 local government elections, and he's finalising his ticket which will have four other candidates.

“If I am elected, I will be the first indigenous Coffs Harbour City councillor. It's a real call for reconciliation,” Mr Scholes said.

He is a practising Christian and owns a business which places young Aboriginal children from disadvantaged backgrounds into secure family environments.

“Because, as a child, I was removed from my biological mother, I have a certain empathy with kids that are born into difficult circumstances,” he said.

“And I know through my own experiences how difficult it can be without the building blocks to adulthood that strong family units provide.

“It is disappointing to see so many young people, both indigenous and non-indigenous, failing to reach their full potential due to social factors that are beyond their control.”

Mr Scholes said one of his priorities as a councillor would be to set up a youth advisory committee, which would be under the umbrella of the city council and involve the Department of Education.

“I want to support the community in general and youth in particular.

“There are a lot of divisions between youth and older people, and I feel the mutual respect needs to be revived.”

Mr Scholes is into his second year as chairman of the Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Interagency, and is formerly an Aboriginal community liaison officer.

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