Voters of the Bega Valley Shire have ushered in a new-look council that includes a strong female voice.
Newly-elected councillors Jo Dodds, Robyn Bain, Cathy Griff and Mitchell Nadin will join Liz Seckold, Kristy McBain, Sharon Tapscott, Tony Allen and Russell Fitzpatrick in the council chambers following a nine-day wait for results.
This year’s local government election saw a tightly contested campaign with a number of candidates vying for the last few positions and only Cobargo’s Mr Allen reaching a quota of votes on first preferences.
“We have a real blend of youth and new councillors,” Mr Allen said.
The closeness of the count was reflected in a social media post by Ms Dodds following the announcement of results on Tuesday.
“Cathy [Griff] did a good job to maintain a seat despite changing of the guard and a big choice of new candidates,” she posted.
“Many of those who have not been successful fought hard to represent their communities. It's the bravest thing, to fight and lose.”
The new councillors bring with them experiences from a range of fields to local government.
Ms Dodds and Mr Nadin are both former journalists; Ms Dodds with ABC Radio South East and Mr Nadin with The Australian newspaper.
Newly-elected Ms Bain ran for the Senate in 2004 with The Nationals, was a loggers and woodchipping industry lobbyist in the 1990s, worked alongside former deputy prime ministers John Anderson and Mark Vaille and is a former CEO of the Cement Industry Federation.
“The community is telling us they are not happy; two former mayors have not been re-elected,” Ms Bain said.
Ms Griff, a former policy manager at Screen Australia and visiting research scholar at the University of British Columbia in Canada, said she was looking forward to building stronger relationships with nearby councils and was excited by the election of what she described as “new people on the block”.
“I’m used to consultation, which was a word bandied around a lot in the campaign, but it’s not a solution because you have to have something to consult on and I think people are looking for ideas and vision,” she said.
An induction day will be on September 26 with the first council meeting on September 28 at which the mayor and deputy mayor will be elected.