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Having covered the local government elections in our past few editions, we at Mornington Peninsula Magazine thought you’d be interested in the thoughts of the 11 new Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors and their aspirations for the coming term. So we invited them to talk to you – the voters – through our pages. Four responded.

Antonella Celi, Seawinds Ward: “Thank you to the Seawinds Ward community.  I am delighted to return as your councillor to serve another council term along with Cr Kerri McCafferty and Cr Debra Mar. As we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, my priority is to empower recovery and ensure the health and well-being of the community is cared for.  With the MPS economic stimulus package of ‘shovel-ready’ projects ready to go, the Shire will advocate to State and Federal Government for funding support to help restabilise our economy and employment across the region.  I also look forward to working with the newly elected council to develop an informed council plan that will guide priorities and project delivery over the next four years. Here’s to a successful council term that will deliver the best outcomes to the Mornington Peninsula community.  As the festive season draws near, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Kerri McCafferty, Seawinds Ward: “I feel overwhelmingly honoured to be elected by my community to represent them at council. The community spirit here is vibrant and proud and brings with it a sincere sense of belonging. As a lifelong local invested in living here for a long time to come, for me it brings an additional sense of responsibility to ensure that this community thrives. At present, however, we are living through a ‘once in a lifetime’ health and economic crisis that has exacerbated existing social disparities to an unacceptable degree. I am committed to working for these people who have been hit the hardest and are suffering disproportionately to the rest of the community. Critically, we are also facing a climate and ecological crisis that threatens our very existence if we do not join the global community in addressing it. I am committed to pushing for innovative and inclusive policy change that respects science and will see our coastline and bushland managed appropriately.”

Debra Mar, Seawinds Ward: “I am proud to be part of a three-women team in Seawinds Ward. Going forward, we know there are many challenges ahead. We need to think and act on long-term goals that will serve and secure future generations. We must respond immediately to communities less fortunate than us so they prosper and respond to small businesses so they thrive as we use the COVID roadmap to recovery. We must respond to protecting our green wedge, our wildlife, our lifestyles and our well-being. We must respond to climate change. We have an obligation to leave the planet better than we found it – and it starts at the grassroots level. I would also urge my valued community to be the eyes and ears of the Peninsula and share your ideas, concerns and achievements. Engage with your councillors and get to know your council. There is much we can achieve together.”

Sarah Race, Nepean Ward: “I’m excited about the opportunities that lie ahead of the Mornington Peninsula Shire over the next four years. We have the ability to ‘build back better’ from this pandemic – that is my No.1 priority. We need to reunite, listen, and support our community; we need to nurture and encourage our businesses – both established and new – and we need to protect our precious Peninsula’s environment. I will work with the State Government on better public transport links. I will support our arts community to get back on their feet. I would love to see more live music events on the Peninsula. And I will strive to amplify the voices of our young people so they have a real say in how the Peninsula works for them. Our Peninsula has voted for a council that is committed to their communities and this will be reflected in this next term.”

The council will be led by an all-female team, with Cr Race elected deputy mayor and Cr Despi O’Connor winning the mayoralty.

Just up the highway, meanwhile, there are eight new faces on the nine-member Frankston City Council, which will be led by Mayor Kris Bolam and Deputy Mayor Nathan Conroy. The other councillors – elected from a whopping 35 candidates – are David Asker and Suzette Tayler (North-East Ward); Stephen Hughes and Sue Baker (North-West Ward); and Brad Hill, Claire Harvey and Liam Hughes (South Ward). The only survivor from the previous council, Cr Bolam has donned the mayoral robes for the second time after becoming one of Victoria’s youngest mayors in 2011 at the age of 24. 

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