House debates

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Constituency Statements

Western Australia: Local Government Elections

4:06 pm

Photo of Rick WilsonRick Wilson (O'Connor, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Trade) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to congratulate all mayors, shire presidents and councillors across O'Connor who were elected at last month's WA local government elections. I also thank outgoing council members for the service that they have provided to their communities.

The 1.1-million-square-kilometre division of O'Connor encompasses more local government electorates than any other federal electorate—57 in all. Every one of those LGAs is a rural, regional or remote one, and they differ markedly in area and population, from the verdant valleys of Nannup in WA's south-west to the shire of Ngaanyatjarraku in the desert lands that abut the Northern Territory. I greatly value the contribution of all local governments across O'Connor.

In the electorate's five most populous LGAs—Albany, Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Manjimup and Collie—the recent council elections saw a changing of the guard, from retiring leaders of long standing to a new crop of mayors and shire presidents, who all have experience serving on their councils. In Albany, Mayor Dennis Wellington retired after 12 years at the helm, and Greg Stocks, a former deputy mayor, was elected to succeed him. After eight years as mayor of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, John Bowler retired, and his deputy, Glenn Wilson, was elected to lead that great inland city of gold. In Esperance, Ian Mickel retired after 19 years all up as shire president, and his deputy, Ron Chambers, has been elected to the position.

In Manjimup, shire president Paul Omodei retired after a decade in the job over three separate terms. Between his second and third term, Councillor Omodei had a distinguished political career, including as leader of the Western Australian Liberal Party. Councillor Omodei will serve out his remaining two years as a shire councillor, alongside Donelle Buegge, who has been on the council for the past two years and has been elected to succeed Councillor Omodei as shire president. In Collie, Sarah Stanley retired after six years as shire president. Her deputy, Ian Miffling, has been elected to the shire's top political position.

People say, and I agree, that 'all politics is local'. That being the case, no politics is more local—nor often more vocal—than local council politics. I therefore trust that, after their busy campaigns ahead of the recent local elections, all candidates can find time to relax with their families during the upcoming Christmas break. From Wiluna in the north to Walpole in the south of my electorate, and from Warakurna in the east to Wandering in the west, I wish every one of my constituents a safe and happy Christmas. Finally, with an eye to the new year, I look forward, like the council representatives in your town, shire or city do, to again going in to bat for you in 2024 in the House of Representatives.