New Southern Downs Councillors get to work

03 Apr 2024 |
3 April 2024

Newly elected Southern Downs Regional Councillors today officially declared office and convened for the inaugural Post-Election Council Meeting, marking the beginning of their four-year term in representing the community.

Following confirmation of the 2024 Local Government Election results, the new line-up includes Mayor Melissa Hamilton and Councillors Ross Bartley, Sarah Deane, Morwenna Harslett, Cynthia McDonald, Carla Pidgeon, Joel Richters, Russell Wantling and Sheryl Windle.

Council’s Chief Executive Officer Dave Burges extended a warm welcome to the incoming Councillors and said he looked forward to working collaboratively with them to create a solid foundation for effective governance and community representation.

“Being a member of Council is both rewarding and demanding, and I wish the incoming Councillors all the best for their term, especially those who are new to local government,” Mr Burges said.

“The efforts of Councillors are vital in shaping the future of our region, addressing local issues and advocating for the interests of residents.

“On behalf of the organisation, we look forward to working with you all for the betterment of the Southern Downs.”

In her opening address, Mayor Melissa Hamilton promised to foster a team environment with the new Council for the benefit of the region.

“The recent election has delivered a Council with a wonderful blend of both youth and experience,” Mayor Hamilton said.

“Congratulations to our five new Councillors, Carla Pidgeon, Joel Richters, Sarah Deane, Morwenna Harslett and Russell Wantling. This is an exciting and memorable day for you and I look forward to your energy and enthusiasm bringing fresh ideas into the Council Chamber.

“Congratulations also to our returning Councillors, Sheryl Windle, Cynthia McDonald and Ross Bartley. I look to you to help me provide the leadership and guidance that is needed to create a cohesive Council.

“To all our Councillors, I ask that we commit ourselves to work as a team for the benefit of the people of the Southern Downs whom we have the privilege to represent. They gave us a clear message that they wanted a Council that would listen to them and work together respectfully.

“To our staff, I look forward to working with you and benefiting from your experience and advise in providing a transparent Council with well-informed decisions.

“To the press. Not many places in regional Australia have managed to maintain local press. I hope our newspapers and radio stations continue to thrive and provide the accountability that we as a chamber benefit from as well as our democracy generally.

“Councillors, I wish you all the best for the next four years and look forward to leading the Southern Downs Regional Council with you. Let’s get to work.”

In accordance with section 175 of the Local Government Act 2009 and Section 5.2 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice Policy, the Deputy Mayor was elected at the first statutory meeting.

In accepting the role of Deputy Mayor, Councillor Windle said she looked forward to a productive term and working with the Councillors to contribute to the region’s growth and well-being.

“I am happy to fulfil the role to the best of my ability. I think this team can deliver. We have a very positive team around the table and I look forward to working with you all,” Councillor Windle said.

During the meeting, Councillor McDonald was appointed Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group and Mayor Hamilton and Councillor Richters joint Deputy Chairs of the Local Disaster Management Group.

Last edited date 13 May 2024