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Murrindindi Shire Council has a new mayor

Incoming Mayor & Deputy Mayor (1)

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Nov 23, 2022

ON Wednesday, November 16, Murrindindi Shire Council met to elect a new mayor and deputy mayor for the next 12 months. The roles went to Cr John Walsh and Cr Karine Haslam, respectively.
Cr John Walsh was pleased to be elected as mayor and re-affirmed his commitment to improving Murrindindi Shire.

“I’m very honoured by the trust invested in me by my fellow councillors in electing me as mayor. I’d like to sincerely thank Cr Carpenter for her commitment and work as mayor over the past 12 months,” Cr Walsh said.

“I strongly believe in the role of mayor as being one among equals within a team and should encourage vigorous debate to reach solid decisions.

“We face a period of considerable challenge, recovery from the floods, maintaining roads and other assets in the face of increasing costs, combatting the impacts of climate change, improving the economic prospects of our businesses and ensuring the health and wellbeing of our communities, just to name a few.

“I am confident that the councillors and our council is up to the task. In the past, we have shown that we can meet the greatest of crisis and I’m sure we can do it again. The key is to be focused on the prime objectives and to tap into all resources of council and community, and to work together to achieve common goals.

“I’m particularly impressed by the community planning projects which are underway in a few of our towns. These projects demonstrate that through community commitment to agreed projects, with appropriate council support, great results can be achieved.

“We won’t be able to do everything on our own, we will need support from state and federal governments and from our fellow local councils. I see advocacy as being a major part of my new role. My aim is that Murrindindi Shire becomes front of mind when government departments consider both policy development and financial programs.

“Again, I will be looking for every opportunity to involve relevant community groups in all such advocacy discussions, as the best results are achieved when strong community commitment to issues is clear to all those involved,” Cr Walsh said.

Recently former mayor, Sue Carpenter reflected her time in the role before standing down. She said, “The past year has given me a wonderful opportunity to lead this group of councillors as we conducted ourselves as the elected representatives of Murrindindi Shire. I have strived to be inclusive and conciliatory in all my dealing with fellow councillors and council officers and we have worked to the best of our abilities for the good of our residents and ratepayers. I have many people who have shared their concerns with me.”

She also listed her proudest achievements in the role, including the new Council Plan, the signing of the Refugee Welcome Scroll and the welcoming Ukrainian visitors after being displaced after the Ukrainian invasion. She also spoke about the various community plans, the unveiling of the Gurrong Dharrang Scarred tree in Yea, and meeting with state and federal government ministers to convey council’s advocacy priorities and ask support for our shire and communities.

She added, “Of course, when reviewing this last year, mention must be made to the terrible floods we have encountered recently. The community experienced a state of emergency which has not been seen since the catastrophic fires of 2009. Challenging times ahead and their will be delays and frustrations as we compete for resources with municipalities across the state. There will be periods of heightened stress and anxiety. Our community has survived these challenges before and recently we have seen communities band together and support each other again.”

She thanked Cr Gallagher for his support as deputy mayor, and the CEO, executive directors and council officers for their guidance and support as she worked to the best of her abilities to be your mayor.

At the November 16 meeting, council also resolved to establish the following portfolios and councillor appointments: Corporate and Governance, Cr Damien Gallagher; Circular Economy and Environment, Cr Karine Haslam; Community Assets and Emergency Management, Cr Ilona Gerencser; Planning and Compliance, Cr Eric Lording; Community Engagement and Wellbeing, Cr Sue Carpenter; and Economic Development and Business Support, Cr Sandice McAulay.

Council’s portfolio system is in place to enable councillors to focus and provide input on specific areas of council.

Image: Murrindindi Shire’s new deputy mayor Karine Haslam and mayor John Walsh. 

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