Have you had time to reflect on your year as mayor?
I haven’t really had time to look back, but I think it’s been a wonderful year. The re-engagement with the community has been absolutely amazing. The last time I was on council I knew I had a lot of appointments and events to attend, but this time around it’s been more, and also much more diverse than it used to be. We’ve definitely grown as a municipality and the community have re-embraced the council really, really strongly.
You’ve been a highly visible mayor. Was that by design?
Yes. I think the mayor needs to be highly visible. A lot of invitations come through and I think if the mayor is invited, the mayor needs to go. For instance, we’ve had 102nd birthday parties people have wanted the mayor to attend, grand openings – all sorts of things –it’s important for the mayor to accept as many invitations as possible.
It’s your second stint in the role of mayor. What was different this time around?
The fact it was a new council and all of the councillors were eager to learn and come on board with all the things happening in Brimbank, I think it has been much more of a positive. The previous council seemed to be much more settled in their ways.
Were you a better mayor the second time?
I wouldn’t say a better mayor. More experienced – more experienced with life. I had one grandchild when I was mayor previously, now I have eight, so it’s a different slant on my life. I’m a better mayor in the sense that I do things a little bit more down to earth than before. Being older helps.
When you were voted in you said you felt like you had unfinished business. Did you tick those things off?
I think I did. In all of my year, going out into the community I didn’t hear one negative comment. I feel that I engaged with people really well and that people feel they can talk to me. I’ll answer my calls and emails. I’m there for them.
Have you deemed this year a successful one for advocacy, particularly given it’s an election year?
I do. We’ve definitely engaged with the local politicians in the area. All of us are eager to find out what’s happening in the city. We actually held an MPs round table where all the MPs came along or sent a representative which I thought was a very positive outcome.
What are the major things you want to see achieved during the remainder of this council term?
I want to see the St Albans Leisure Centre built. That’ll be one of my dreams. It’s extremely important, as is transport strategy and to get right the airport rail link. That’ll be a major thing for us to work with the airport and state government to see what we can deliver for this area because it will have major repercussions for this area. I mean that in a good way. It’ll be a game changer for Brimbank.
You’ve been mayor twice. Would you go for a third term?
At this election?
Not sure. I’m not sure what’s happening in that area right now. There’ll be a lot of talking going on in the next few days.