Mayor reflects on year of change

Cr Lucina Congreve.

By Tate Papworth

Councillor Lucinda Congreve isn’t one for the pomp and ceremony that comes with being mayor, but she says there’s a sense of sadness about vacating the chair.

Brimbank council will elect a new mayor on Wednesday night, bringing a close to Cr Congreve’s term.

“I’ve had the time of my life, this is the best job in the world,” Cr Congreve said.

“It is such a privilege to be able to stand up and represent your community and lead the council.”

She said a change in the council’s approach to advocacy was one of her main accomplishments in the top job.

“I didn’t want to be a ceremonial mayor … I’ve been out there and done a lot of community engagement, but I think the value I’ve brought to the role is behind closed doors,” she said.

“For me, advocacy was my big issue. We hadn’t had a lot of success in that area and I thought we could change the way that we did things.

“It was more about changing it from going out and asking cap in hand for things, to really making a strategic approach focusing on how we advocate, why are we advocating and who are we going to, then tailoring the message to that person.”

The removal of the notorious Deer Park level crossings, the Save Stony Creek campaign and the designation of Sunshine as a priority precinct were key advocacy achievements Cr Congreve said she was most proud of.

While her time as mayor is coming to an end, she says she’s looking forward to finding her voice again during debate.

“For me, as mayor, one of the most frustrating things is that I’m not allowed to participate in debate at the council meetings … for me, I lost a bit of my voice in that regard,” she said.

“I can’t wait to get back and to be able to participate in debate because for me there’s lots I’d like to say.

“That’s really the worst thing about being in the chair, not being able to put your opinion forward.”