The women of Gympie Regional Council, Dolly Jensen and Jess Milne, outside Gympie Town Hall yesterday.
The women of Gympie Regional Council, Dolly Jensen and Jess Milne, outside Gympie Town Hall yesterday.

New female councillors go it alone in executive roles

THE first women to be part of Gympie Regional Council in four years yesterday took on big new responsibilities.

And yesterday’s first post-election council meeting was told they would be flying solo.

Dolly Jensen will be responsible for the Community Development portfolio, with Tourism, Environment and Special Projects going to Jess Milne.

Cr Jensen comfortably won her Division 2 seat at council, while Cr Milne, in the electoral division next door, was involved in one the tightest contests of the election.

She took the Cooloola Coast division from incumbent Mark McDonald with a win on preferences of 1425 to Mr McDonald’s 1410, a margin of only 15 votes after a recount.

Yesterday’s meeting appointed multiple councillors to other portfolios, with the exception of Mayor Hartwig, who will be responsible for the Disaster Management portfolio.

But Mr Hartwig assured the two women they would have plenty of informal support and advice if they wanted it.

Mr Hartwig will also sit on the multi-member Planning and Economic Development portfolio, along with deputy mayor Hilary Smerdon, who topped the poll to win Division 6, and new Division 3 councillor Shane Waldock.

Finance will be administered by returned incumbent for Division 5, Dan Stewart and Mr Waldock.

Former council engineer and returned Division 8 representative Bob Fredman will share Infrastructure Services with Miss Milne and winner of the other closely contested seat, Warren Polley in Division 7. Mr Polley defeated incumbent deputy mayor Bob Leitch by only 24 votes, 1542 to 1518.

Arts, Culture and Open Space, Business Activities and Sport will be the responsibility of Mr Stewart, Mr Waldock and Miss Milne.

Mr Smerdon and Mr Polley will be in charge of Water and Sewerage, and Waste Management.

Mr Fredman and Mr Devereaux share Governance and Information Communication Technology.

On external committees the council will be represented by Mr Waldock and Mr Devereaux on the Gympie Cemetery Trust; the mayor and deputy mayor will be council representatives on the Local Disaster Management Group; Mr Fredman on the Heritage Sub Committee and Miss Milne on the Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee;

The mayor will share the council’s voice on the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of councils with council CEO, Bernard Smith;

Mr Hartwig will share council representation on the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Road Group with Mr Smerdon and Mr Polley.

On council advisory and working groups, Mr Fredman and Mr Devereaux will be on the Audit and Risk Management Committee; Mrs Jensen and Mr Polley are on the Traffic and Road Safety Committee; Mr Polley and Mr Waldock are on the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy Advisory Committee, with the mayor as an ex-officio member; Mr Smerdon and Mr Waldock are on the Weed and Pest Advisory Committee while Mr Polley and the mayor are on the Water Business Unit.

Gympie Times


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