Winds of change at council
City of Busselton electors voted for sweeping change at the weekend’s local government election, endorsing four new councillors to represent them.
Fourteen candidates contested six positions as the trend of dwindling voter enthusiasm in local government polls continued.
Despite lacklustre voting numbers, which decreased by 3.6 per cent from the last election, the voices of those who did vote were heard loud and clear. Only two of five renominating councillors retained their seats, while the newcomers polled strongly.
Phil Cronin won 9.37 per cent of the vote ahead of Sue Riccelli (8.46 per cent) and Kate Cox (8.41 per cent). Crs Ross Paine and Paul Carter were voted back in for a second term on the council with 8.23 per cent and 7.85 per cent of the vote respectively.
Jo Barrett-Lennard received 7.79 per cent of the votes and just pipped former Deputy Mayor John McCallum and councillor Rob Reekie. Mr McCallum and Mr Reekie had served two terms on the council, as had Coralie Tarbotton, who also missed out on a spot at the 2019 council table.
Ms Barrett-Lennard takes on a two-year position made vacant by Rob Bennett, who resigned from the role earlier in the year due to ill health. The councillors will serve alongside Mayor Grant Henley, Cr Lyndon Miles and Cr Kelly Hick, who were not up for re-election in 2019. Cr Henley was voted in unopposed to retain his role as mayor.
Cr Kelly Hick was named deputy mayor, earning six votes from her council colleagues ahead of Cr Ross Paine on two. It will be Cr Henley’s third term as mayor.
He has served since 2009.
Cr Henley thanked the council for their support and paid tribute to the outgoing councillors.
“It’s a great endorsement of their trust and faith in me,” he said. “This is a responsibility I take very seriously and it’s certainly not a role that can be done without the backing and support of a dedicated team.
“I extend my sincerest gratitude to John McCallum, Coralie Tarbotton and Rob Reekie. These three individuals have made a great contribution to their community.”
Cr Henley indicated the fresh council ushered in a new era of “more listening and less talking”, while Cr Hick said she believed the new cohort would “represent the community appropriately and justly.”
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