Candidate looks at ten core council promises

Clockwise top left: Augusta Margaret River Shire councillors Tracey Muir, Paula Cristoffanini, Ian Earl, Kylie Kennaugh, Bryan Daniel, Julia Meldrum, David Binks. Photo: AMRS
Clockwise top left: Augusta Margaret River Shire councillors Tracey Muir, Paula Cristoffanini, Ian Earl, Kylie Kennaugh, Bryan Daniel, Julia Meldrum, David Binks. Photo: AMRS

A new look Augusta Margaret River Shire Council took part in a Special Meeting last week, where Cr Paula Cristoffanini was elected Shire President.

Successful candidates in this month's local government election, Tracey Muir, Julia Meldrum, David Binks, and Ian Earl were sworn in as councillors.

They joined mid-term councillors Brian Daniel, Kylie Kennaugh and Cr Cristoffanini to form the full Council for the Shire of Augusta Margaret River for the next two years. Cr Meldrum was elected Deputy Shire President.

Cr Cristoffanini said she was honoured to be elected to lead the Council.

"I firstly extend my congratulations to the newly elected and re-elected members of Council," she said.

"Together we bring a wealth of different skills and experiences but share a commitment to working for our community with their best interests at heart."

She acknowledged retiring councillors Naomi Godden and Pauline McLeod, recognising their hard work serving the local community during their time on council.

"I am humbled and honoured to be elected as the Shire's President and congratulate councillor Julia Meldrum on her election as Deputy Shire President.

"I very much look forward to working alongside Shire CEO Stephanie Addison-Brown and the administration to achieve the outcomes that make Augusta Margaret River a safe, engaged, vibrant and sustainable place to live, work and play."

Cr Cristoffanini said her first priority would be to settle into the role and to offer support to the newly elected councillors as they do the same.

She said her focus would be on a "place-based" approach to the region.

"I am very excited to be moving to a placed based approach which recognises the particular character of the different localities in our shire and look forward to meeting their various stakeholders," she said.

"Being an inclusive community is important to me and I would like to continue our work in celebrating diversity and reconciliation with the traditional owners of the land we live in."

"I also look forward to our Council and Shire continuing to value and support the great work of our volunteers as well as supporting our industries that range across tourism, business, agriculture, and the arts," Cr Cristoffanini said.

"We are privileged to live in a beautiful place in which the environment is central to our future, our well-being, and our livelihood.

"We need to ensure that we do everything we can to look after it and enhance it."

Shire of Augusta Margaret River chief executive officer Stephanie Addison Brown congratulated the new council members.

"I look forward to working with the new Council to deliver outcomes for the whole community," she said.

"Thank you to Zac Webb from the Undalup Association for his Welcome to Country at the meeting - it was an honour and a privilege to have the new Council welcomed by a local traditional owner and custodian."

"Thank you also to departing Councillors Naomi Godden and Pauline McLeod for their service to the Shire over the past four years."

Candidate looks at ten core council promises

Election candidate Richard Moroney, who narrowly missed a spot on the council by just 32 votes, said he looked forward to seeing promises made during the election campaign come to fruition.

"Firstly congratulations to our new councillors and the return of our familiar faces and an especially warm hearted thanks to all those who voted," he said.

"It was great to see an uplift in votes as various community groups rallied around their candidates to keep furthering community agendas, 38 percent though is still not a broad enough representation of our total community especially when we look at the median age groups that are represented in the vote.

"So now more than ever it is important that we all hold this new Council to account each and every day, and do not let the promises made to secure votes become a forgotten memory."

Mr Moroney said it was important to hold Council accountable, as years ahead will prove challenging for the region.

"We will be trying to balance development, population increase, environment and the major capital works that will need to be provided to replace our aquatic centre facilities," he said.

"We are a progressive community that deserves our elected officials to stop whispering what we want to hear and start working with us to solve our challenges."

Mr Moroney said he believed voters had elected the new council around ten core "promises" - Stopping the resort development at Gnarabup; Addressing and fixing the lack of housing and it's affordability; Reducing Rates; The reintroduction of the ward system; Fixing the roads; An external audit of the Shire and its activities; Reducing red tape; Supporting local business and agriculture; Preserving the environment and; Becoming carbon neutral.

"I, like many, want to know how these promises will be delivered and when," he said.