The State Member for Blacktown Stephen Bali has stepped down from the position of Blacktown City Mayor after 5 years in the role.
Under the Local Government Act, Mayors and Councillors can only continue in the office for 2 years after being elected to the NSW Parliament.
Mayor Bali was elected to Parliament at the 14 October 2017 by-election for the seat of Blacktown triggered by the resignation of former NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson.
Mayor Bali stepped down from office at an Extraordinary Meeting of Blacktown City Council on Wednesday (9 October). His resignation from Council will take effect from Monday (14 October).
Deputy Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM was elected Mayor unopposed and Councillor Julie Griffiths was elected Deputy Mayor, also unopposed.
Councillor Stephen Bali was first elected to Blacktown City Council in March 2004. He was Deputy Mayor from 2009 to 2010 and was elected Mayor in September 2015.
“It has been an absolute honour and privilege to represent the people of Blacktown as a Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor.
“I thank my Council colleagues, Council’s staff and most importantly the people of Blacktown for their support and belief in our City and for giving so much of their time and effort in seeking to make a difference,” Cr Bali said.
Councillor Bali paid tribute to those on Council who paved the way for him including former Mayors the Hon. John Aquilina, the late Jim Lynch, the late Leo Kelly and his late father and former Deputy Mayor, Charlie Bali.
Councillor Bali said working with the community had been the most fulfilling aspect of his time on Council.
“We campaigned against the negative stereotyping portrayed in the SBS Struggle Street program, we restored pensioner rates discounts and reopened Mt Druitt Swimming Centre. We fought the world’s largest incinerator and saved hectares of precious Cumberland Plain Woodland.”
As Mayor, Stephen Bali has led Council’s transformational projects including the redevelopment of the Warrick Lane precinct in the Blacktown CBD, the establishment of Australian Catholic University’s Blacktown Campus and the planned International Centre of Training Excellence at the Blacktown International Sportspark.
In his acceptance speech, Mayor Tony Bleasdale said he was deeply honoured to be elected Mayor of Blacktown City.
“I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of the historic term of our colleague and great friend Stephen Bali.
“Under his 5 years of leadership, a valuable legacy has been established for Blacktown City, a legacy of stability and clarity of vision and respect for all our communities.
“Mayor Bali’s leadership has resulted in collaboration on Council which underpins the dynamic transformative program that will establish Blacktown as a city of talent, diversity and sustainable growth and development.
“I know that any history of our city will hold Councillor Stephen Bali in the highest regard for the many achievements and landmark moments under his leadership.
“Under my leadership we will complete the transformational projects that Stephen Bali and Council started.
“Blacktown City Council must continue the fight for Indigenous recognition, we must continue to lead and advocate for our community, we must continue to engage with our communities and we will continue to build on the excellent work going on in the economic development in our city,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths was first elected to Council in 2008 and is now serving in her second term.
Councillor Griffiths has been a long time member of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association NSW Branch including terms as President and City Vice President. She is currently a Councillor on the Hawkesbury River County Council and on the Board of LG NSW.
“It is an honour and privilege to serve the Blacktown City Community and I look forward to joining with Tony and my fellow Councillors in ensuring Blacktown City continues its journey of sustainable growth and development while celebrating diversity and multiculturalism,” Deputy Mayor Griffiths said.
“I am committed to fostering Blacktown City’s infrastructure and providing good quality child care and further developing services for our youth through local apprenticeships and traineeships.”
Council will seek the Minister for Local Government’s approval not to hold a by-election to replace Councillor Bali. Ward 4 would then be served by 2 Councillors for the remainder of this Council term which concludes in September 2020.