The decisive result was once again a clear indication that this council is heading in the right direction, with Councilors Jon Strachan, Ingrid Waltham and myself all getting over 50% of the vote. It was a tighter contest in Beaconsfield with Cr Hume being returned with 40%.
Sadly, Councilor Fittock lost in North Ward. I have enjoyed working with Rob, particularly as his deputy on Planning Committee, and I wish him well in the future. I don’t know his replacement Bryn Jones, but I look forward to working with him and getting to know him over the next four years.
I also welcome Jeff McDonald to the Council for Hilton. I like him a lot already and think he’ll make an excellent contribution. It’s a shame we couldn’t also have Sam Donovan on the council who would have also done a great job.
While voter turn out was typically low, it suggests that most people are either content enough, don’t care, or don’t think it makes a difference. But I know when people want change, they vote for it and with the exception of North Ward, in this election they didn’t.
So after a long and sometimes nasty campaign, it is a relief to know that the majority of City Ward voters feel I am doing a good job. I thank everyone who put their faith in me once more and I will continue to work hard and serve you the best I can.
What I learned from voters
Having spoken to hundreds of voters while knocking on every door in the ward, I’ve heard a lot of feedback on local matters of interest. This includes revitalisation of the CBD, addressing anti-social behavior, planting more trees and addressing a variety of parking concerns – all of which I will follow up.
I also heard that there is a desire for more regular communication from Councillors, so I will use this blog and my facebook page to share updates on Council matters more often. I’ve also heard that people want councillors to send a newsletter to residents occasionally, which I will do. I also hope that FICRA and Freo Residents and Ratepayers Association will engage more with councillors in order to have a constructive dialogue with Council, something I have been trying to do for years. I will also ensure the Fremantle Network continues to have regular discussions on issues of interest, in a forum where people can gather to discuss ideas without a specific agenda.
I think it is also important that we keep more non-resident voters (business and property owners) on the local electoral roll. Businesses contribute 47% of rates but only a tiny fraction of the votes because they must re-enrol to vote every couple of years. This does not make sense and is not good for Freo’s democracy, so I plan work with the Chamber of Commerce to simplify the process and keep more businesses enrolled to have their say.
Last week, people rightly said that the election result would be a test of council – showing if we are adequately representing constituents and steering the City in the right direction. The people have spoken with clarity that we are.
I’m not so arrogant to think this implies everyone agrees with everything or that Council does everything right, but I am grateful to have a clear mandate to continue my work on the Council for the next four years (2019 seems so far away!!!).
Thanks to everyone who helped me along this journey and to everyone who took the time to have their say. I am humbled and grateful and looking forward to another four years hard work for our city!