Until Wednesday afternoon, the only female mayor elected to Bega Valley Shire was Edna Duncanson, who was mayor from 1989 to 1992.
Now that has changed as a packed public gallery witnessed the election of the all female team of Kristy McBain as mayor and Liz Seckold as deputy mayor.
Councillors McBain and Tony Allen were both nominated for mayor with Cr McBain receiving six votes to Cr Allen’s three. Cr Seckold was unopposed as deputy mayor.
In speaking prior to the election which was by open vote at the suggestion of Cr Russell Fitzpatrick, Cr McBain said that gender didn’t matter.
We are on the cusp of big changes here. I will be the can-do mayor.Kristy McBain, mayor
“We need to diversify and we need to grow and develop the shire.”
Cr McBain said there was a need to develop recreational facilities and offer more in the way of tertiary education so that young people did not have to leave the shire to receive tertiary education.
The comment was a reference to the potential tertiary education plans for the Bega Hospital building where council has already placed an expression of interest with the state government.
“I don’t expect we will always agree but expect every councillor will have a role to play,” Cr McBain said.
She promised to work with the community and said it was council’s job to provide vision and strategic direction.
Cr Allen spoke about his experience on council and the support he had received from the electorate for the third time running.
“The role has nothing to do with age or gender but public support and experience. The election clearly outlined the views of the public,” Cr Allen said.
Cr Seckold reiterated her support for the financial position taken by the previous council saying the election had been difficult as a group of eight candidates “ran a campaign accusing the previous council of fiscal ineptitude”. But, Cr Seckold reminded everyone, council had been deemed Fit for the Future by IPART.
Votes for Cr McBain: Crs McBain, Tapscott, Nadin, Seckold, Griff, Dodds. Votes for Cr Allen: Crs Allen, Fitzpatrick, Bain.