Expect the unexpected
Who could have expected the amazing outcome of elections to Knox City Council? Five new councillors, all women, making Knox a national record-breaker.
As I watched the swearing-in ceremony, streamed live on the KCC website, I was encouraged. Each candidate took the oath, moved to a table beside CEO Tony Doyle for joint signatures of their document, and then returned to the microphone to make a statement of intent.
Cr Jude Dwight’s words were striking: ‘we are all human beings; we can all be strong; we can all be kind; we can all listen’. All promised to work collaboratively for the good of the people of Knox. Cr Dwight also noted that in Richmond in 1920 the first woman was elected to a local council in Victoria. One hundred years on and now, in Knox, eight out of the nine elected are women.
The eyes of Victoria will be upon Knox Council as they settle in to learn the complex interlocking of federal, state and local government.
More statements: new councillors for Dobson, Baird and Chandler wards promised to respect the Foothills environment policy. Cr Yvonne Allred stressed the important renewal of the Boronia shopping precinct. Yvonne has been a Council Officer for twelve years, working with community groups. She knows the issues and how Council can support community. Dobson Ward residents will be hoping for similar attention to the range of Station Street shops, purchased years ago for a new community facility.
Darren Pearce, the one man standing, after serving three terms and twice as mayor said this has been his toughest and best win, ‘the people have spoken’. Cr Seymour, second longest serving and mayor in 2020 said, ‘we want our community, our city and our
Council to be the best it can be’.
As well as the experienced former Council Officer, occupations of new councillors include two nurses and two teachers. Most have experience of leading community organisations. The array of professional qualifications across the nine is impressive and includes degrees in Applied Science, Psychology, Business, Financial Management, Education, Occupational Health and Safety, Conservation and Land Management.
The ceremony also thanked all those who nominated, as well as retiring councillors Peter Lockwood, Tony Holland, John Mortimer, Adam Gill and Jake Keogh for their many years of service.
As we come to the end of a momentous year, it is with some relief that we conclude the final issue of Gully News for 2020. We missed the stimulus of weekly meetings where once we challenged each other to come up with ideas and critiqued what was already found. This year has been all Zoom, emails and phone messages; not so creative but good practice in careful choice of words.
Writing this on the first day of release from Melbourne’s ‘ring of steel’, it’s exciting to look ahead. Although some restrictions will remain in place, we will remember what we have learnt, especially the delights of having time to stop and look around us. Stories in this issue share similar experiences.
We hope that, as community groups prepare for their usual activities next year, they will send us their stories. We hope in 2021 to see local renewal but we need to keep in mind the global, the pandemic catastrophe still devastating whole countries.
Thank you to all those, writers, walkers, advertisers, who helped to keep Gully News going. Thanks also to our auspicing body the Mountain District Learning Centre.
We wish everyone a happy Christmas and look forward to continuing support in 2021.