Greater Bendigo Magazine, December 2015
It is a privilege to serve the community as Councillor for the City of Greater Bendigo. As I enter my final year as a Councillor, I will step down at next year’s Council elections, I would like to reflect on the remarkable opportunity I have had.
As a Councillor I have strived to ensure the needs of the community are met. I will soon participate in my last budget process, but I am proud to have continually championed the importance of investing in core services that residents value. When funding is allocated to build new footpaths, operate our swimming pools, install drainage or deliver Maternal and Child Health services it is the community that benefits. That said, there is more to Local Government than the three ‘Rs’ – roads, rates and rubbish.
People expect more and in recent years the Council has been able to progress a number of major projects that will enhance our overall liveability by partnering with other levels of government and the community.
The new Bendigo Airport runway, Greater Bendigo Indoor Aquatic Leisure and Wellbeing Centre, Canterbury Park redevelopment, the Ulumbarra Theatre, the Bendigo Art Gallery extension, the expanded Bendigo Stadium and much more will be or have been a welcome addition to our cultural, sporting or business landscape. Although, I am most proud of the Council’s investment in the Bendigo Botanic Gardens – Garden for the Future project. I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition and having the Gardens expanded to provide a place for recreation activities, educational programs and horticultural research.
The Council is also charged with the responsibility of planning many years into the future. I have been delighted to support the Waste and Resource Management Strategy, the Rosalind Park Master Plan and Hospital Precinct Structure Plan, all of which will help prepare our city for the forecast growth it is set to experience.
In 2012-2013 I was Mayor of the City. This was a great honour. I was especially proud of my open door policy and welcomed the opportunity to meet with residents. Throughout this time I was also invited to many varied community events. It is wonderful to be amongst constituents and these events were a chance to hear what residents valued and what they needed more of.
When I was Mayor the main political leadership roles locally were filled by women – the Member for Bendigo East, Member for Bendigo West and the Federal Member for Bendigo. I am passionate about progressing the role of women in society and ensuring that they are able to make a positive contribution to where they live – whether that is being a leader at their school, sitting on a sporting committee or running as a candidate in a government election process.
This is why I developed the Women Showing the Way event to encourage and inspire young female students to get involved in the life of their community. There have been five Women Showing the Way events featuring local politicians, sportswomen, celebrities and female leaders in our community.
I am thankful for the opportunity to be a Councillor and I hope I have been able to inspire the next generation of women (and even some of the current generation!) to consider putting their hand up and have a go.
Front: Bendigo Botanic Gardens Curator Brad Creme, Cr Lisa Ruffell and Millie Daunt.
Back: Friends of Bendigo Botanic Gardens Melinda Daunt, Jane Cleary, Eric Wilkinson,
Jan Orr, Elva Ritchie and Judy Milner.