Good for balance

September 17, 2017

Women make up a third of the new Edward River Council, which elected councillor and former Deniliquin Council mayor Pat Fogarty says is important for the community.

Cr Fogarty, who polled the second highest primary votes, says she is sure council newcomers Marg Bull and Peta Betts will offer some new perspectives and thinking.

While not a record number of female representatives for the local area — with Cr Fogarty, Marg Conallin, Kathy Simpson and Sue Taylor all serving on Deniliquin Council together at one stage — Cr Fogarty says to have three on the new council was a good result.

‘‘We (women) make up 52 per cent of this community, so having females on the council is good for balanced representation,’’ she said.

‘‘There is a lot of evidence surrounding the fact that men and women think differently and their perspective is different.

‘‘Councils are all about debating a variety of aspects, and this balance will allow us to achieve it.

‘‘It will also be important in helping the promotion of women, and opportunities for women in our communities and board rooms.’’

Cr Fogarty served as a chair of the council’s Local Representation Committee advising the administrator during the merger process and said she was ‘‘stoked’’ to have been re-elected to the new council.

But she said she was under no illusion it would be an easy job.

‘‘I think we have a lot of work to do to build a strong community from what was two councils,’’ she said.

‘‘Labor (state government) is talking about de-amalgamation if it is elected, but I think it would be a tragedy to disable what we’ve done so far.

‘‘The staff have gone through a major upheaval already, and we now have some good leadership and a focus on putting the whole region on the map.

‘‘I think the election results send a clear message that people want to see the merger continue on a successful path — we would not have the result we do if that was not the case.’’

Cr Bull was forced to resign from a tourism officer role at Edward River Council’s visitor information centre to stand in the council election, with the result justifying her decision.

‘‘I am delighted and honoured to be given the opportunity to work with the community as part of the inaugural Edward River Council team.

‘‘We, the council and the community, have a very exciting and positive future together.

‘‘I am looking forward to working with all members of the newly elected council to achieve some great outcomes.’’

Cr Betts said she was both ‘‘excited and overwhelmed’’ at being elected to the council.

‘‘I think the council is a good mix, and I am looking forward to seeing what all these great minds can do once we all come together,’’ she said.

‘‘I do have a lot of learning to do as a newcomer, and to begin with I will be taking on board how all the processes work.

‘‘At this stage I am reluctant to share my vision for the council until I know what is required of me.

‘‘I don’t want to be making any rash statements, or making promises I cannot keep, but I am excited about what lies ahead.’’

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