Gayle Nicholas has lived in Glen Waverley for 30+ years and previously resided in Clayton and Hughesdale. With her husband she has raised two children who attended schools and participated in community groups, including Scouts and baseball, in Glen Waverley. Playgroups, hearing Preps read, cooking sausages or selling goods to raise funds, being a Safety House, exercise classes at MARC, Tai Chi and other local activities have been part of her community life. She has been a committee member at Highvale Pre-school, President of the Parents’ Committee at Camelot Rise Primary School and on Neighbourhood Watch and the Waverley Historical Society Committees. She has been employed in the Monash municipality as a secondary teacher in Mulgrave and as an administrator and project manager at Monash University.
Her passion for good governance in local government began in 2013 when Monash Council proposed selling an aged care residence her parents lived in. She was greatly perturbed by the way the Council was informing stakeholders of their decision. Her genuine friendships with many of the residents and her sense of justice spurred her forward to work with others to ensure the aged care residents and others had a voice in decisions that would affect the quality of their life.
Throughout the aged care sale process the community members complained the Council was not transparent or consultative. Much seemed to happen behind closed doors at the Council offices or at in camera meetings. Decisions appeared to have been made before the first consultation with the community took place. The local community came out in large numbers to insist the elderly were important members of the community and needed the very best in aged care. Gayle felt proud to be part of a community valuing its aged citizens so highly. The Council continued on its path to sell despite community outrage. The community achieved a greater consideration by Council on issues such as the need to keep the aged care residences in the same locations, to keep on current staff and to have meals freshly cooked on the premises, but Council sold the aged care residences.
Jan 2014 Gayle discusses the aged care protest with Jenny Mikakos MP and Dr Chan Cheah
Empowering Monash and YOU (EM&U) was established by Gayle and a colleague in 2014 to give people in the community a voice and to provide information. Community members are given the opportunity to express their concerns with local governance in Monash by posting on the web site or joining the EM&U Facebook page. Gayle has suspended her role with EM&U while standing for Council.
Feb 2014 The aged care residences had been sold. A disillusioned community group met at the Mulgrave Country Club. Gayle asked: ‘Will we move on together?’ YES!
Gayle continues to advocate for community involvement in decision making and for Monash Council local laws and practices to be equal to the best in local government in Victoria. She sees local government as being for the local people and wants to see the people involved in providing feedback at the very early stages of project development. The community should be involved in decision making. She wants sustainability and environment to have a higher priority in Monash. Above all she wants to see the people of Glen Waverley actively represented on Monash Council.