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Thursday, December 14, 2017, 8:58 PM

Cathedral Ward Councillor McAulay’s first year on Council


What do you enjoy most about your role as a Councillor?

First and foremost I love working with like-minded people (both from within the Council and the wider community) who just want to get on with the job of advocating for our wonderful vibrant Shire.  There are so many enthusiastic and positive community members who work tirelessly to get events (of a huge variety) happening as well as maintain so many wonderful built and natural assets in the Shire.

Secondly I am so proud to be in a role that enables me to be directly accessible to the individual residents in my ward, who just want to ask a question and are not sure who to ask.  I often respond that I don’t know myself but in the process of finding out this increases my own knowledge. This is after all why I stood for Council – to work directly with the residents.

What surprised you most about your role as Councillor? Or has your view of the role of Councillor changed much in the last year?

I am constantly surprised by the number of community members that want to work collaboratively with the Council to strengthen our communities both as volunteers and as members of various organisations.  I believe that there is a strong connection between the community and the Council but we (that is Council) still have a lot of work to do to ensure that the community understands the full capacity as well as the limitations of Council.  This is going to be best achieved by keeping the two way conversation going.

What have you learnt about the Shire that you didn’t know before?

Phew – I am still learning new things!!!!

Seriously though, as a very small business operator in the Shire, I was aware of much of what we as a Shire have to offer visitors and residents.  But since being on Council, I am in awe of what amazing assets we have all within an hour or so of Melbourne.  I think we are all very wise people in Murrindindi Shire because we have chosen to live in one of the most amazing parts of Victoria.

What three words best describe the Shire, having had a year in the job with the current Council (and explain why)?

Volunteerism – again I acknowledge the valuable contribution that volunteers make to our Shire.  We depend so much on the volunteers that run so many of our events such as the Marysville Jazz and Blues (I know another plug for Marysville!). As well as the incredible dedication that so many people have, that enables our emergency service response to be as successful as it is.

Beautiful – it is no secret that I often describe Murrindindi Shire as the jewel in Victoria’s crown – actually, I normally say that the Cathedral Ward is the jewel in Murrindindi’s crown, but you know I love the whole Shire equally!  The Shire is so full of beautiful natural assets that people travel from wide and far to visit.

Diversity – we have so many natural assets and can offer such a variety of activities that range from snow activities in winter to water activities in summer.  We have lakes and mountains as well as sporting opportunities. We also offer locally grown and produced wine and food.  If that isn’t enough, we are also able offer arts and culture opportunities. The list goes on!!!!

What have you learnt from the Council Plan community engagement process?

Having said above that I believe that diversity is a word that describes the Shire, I believe that one of the strongest messages that came out of the engagement process is the cohesiveness of the views of the community members.  We all want to work to strengthen our communities.  We want to have a say in what happens in our Shire and we all want to engage in an ongoing discussion about the Shire and its management.

Have your motivations for the next three years as a Councillor changed? What are they?

Not at all – if anything I am more determined to celebrate and continue to develop the strengths of our communities.  I want to maintain the great conversation between the Council (including the valuable staff members) and community that we are participating in. As councillors and staff we are all focusing on customer service – that to me means listening not just talking!!!

I want to remain accessible to community members particularly in the Cathedral Ward – I want to strengthen connections in Narbethong and Granton and that is going to be my aim for this year.  I welcome anyone, particularly in those communities, to contact me – I look forward to invitations to any community gatherings where we can have an informal chat.

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