The new-look Latrobe City Council has been announced after the recent Local Government elections across Victoria.
The new Councillors are:
- West Ward: Sharon Gibson, Brad Law
- Central Ward: Graeme Middlemiss, Tracie Lund
- South Ward: Melissa Ferguson
- East Ward: Kellie O’Callaghan, Dan Clancey, Darren Howe, Dale Harriman
The nine Councillors will work with the community to set the direction of Council over the next four years and join with Council staff to advance our regional city, Latrobe City.
The new Councillors’ aspirations range from helping the community recover from the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 to expanding industry, creating job opportunities and continuing to strengthen the community.
“The new Councillors will bring a mix of experience and new energy to the Council Chamber and I, together with Council’s Executive Team and staff, look forward to working with them for the betterment of the municipality,” Latrobe City Council Chief Executive Officer Steven Piasente said.
“I would like to acknowledge the achievements of outgoing councillors Darrell White and Alan McFarlane who were not re-elected to Council, and who gave dedicated service to their former respective wards of South and Central.
“Mr McFarlane served a four-year term with Council, while Mr White has had a long and distinguished career in local government, joining Latrobe City Council in 1997 and serving as mayor three times. On behalf of Council, staff and the community, I wish them well in their future endeavours.”
Sharon Gibson returns as a West Ward Councillor, after first being elected to Council in 2008. She promises to listen to constituents and advocate for their needs, and cites among her proudest moments as the opening of a new netball complex at Newborough and the Gippsland Regional Cricket Centre of Excellence at Moe.
Cr Gibson is looking forward to the construction of a mountain bike park on Haunted Hills Road and the prospect of a motorsports complex. She also wishes to pursue improved footpaths, and lighting at Lake Narracan and the Moe-Yallourn Rail Trail.
Returning West Ward Councillor Brad Law will advocate for a unified Council, the completion of the next stage of the Moe CBD redevelopment and skate park project, and the Waterloo railway level crossing upgrade.
A community volunteer of more than 30 years in racing, football and cricket clubs, the businessman recognises the importance of stability for good performance.
Cr Graeme Middlemiss returns as Central Ward Councillor, proud of his involvement in such projects as achieving cycling and walking paths linking City towns, and pledging to advocate for projects yet to be funded.
His first priority is creating jobs for those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and to support existing major employers and attract more. He favours a hydrogen plant proposed for the City and more service-related jobs.
His vision is for Morwell and Latrobe City to be prosperous, with an economy that provides interesting and well-paid employment, and a community that provides all levels of education and career paths for our young people, along with a welcoming, caring and safe community, an attractive town and recreation activities for all.
Central Ward Councillor Tracie Lund has managed Morwell Neighbourhood House since 2012 and wants to support the growth of the region and a sustainable future. She prioritises investment in the health, wellbeing, resilience and employment opportunities for the community, and believes the needs of local business, community and the environment are vital to the City recovering from COVID-19.
Cr Kellie O’Callaghan has represented East Ward since 2008 and returns to Council, proud of advocacy work that resulted in investment in major projects across the City.
She wants Council to continue to maintain its strong partnership with the community and focus on a shared commitment to health, wellbeing, economic growth and educational excellence.
Cr Dan Clancey, a former mayor, has been re-elected to represent East Ward. He desires a Latrobe City that is a connected and vibrant regional city that provides high level facilities, efficient services and cost effective council operations.
He desires to create a place that people want to live and invest in because of the superior health, education and lifestyle opportunities available, and wishes to continue to pursue government funding and partnerships.
Cr Darren Howe has been re-elected to represent East Ward, having been elected to Council in 2016. He is proud of lighting upgrades, new sporting and community facilities, arts projects and the proposal for more car parking.
He desires for the community to be proud of Latrobe City and to want live and invest here. He is seeking growth through strong planning principles and community involvement.
First elected in 2012 and returned in 2016, Cr Dale Harriman is back and brings with him more than 30 years’ experience in serving the community. He is a supporter of industry, lower rates and sporting clubs, and has worked with community groups to help achieve major projects such as an indoor sports stadium at Traralgon.
As president of the National Timber Council Association, he believes in sustainable timber and paper industries.
Cr Melissa Ferguson, South Ward, comes to Council with experience in the mental health sector and founding a charity to provide emergency relief for drought-stricken farmers.
She is concerned about services for young people, the impacts of wind turbines, and will lobby for improved community buildings in South Ward. Cr Ferguson has a vision of fairness in the allocation of funding and resources across wards.
Council will meet on Friday 20 November to elect a mayor and deputy mayor.