The first hundred days is a benchmark that has been used to measure the early success of U.S. Presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1933. I can’t imagine there’s many similarities between being the leader of the free world, and being a councillor for a local government in Western Australia, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use the same benchmark to measure our own success.
I passed my 100 day mark just recently and began to reflect on what I’ve achieved so far, and more importantly, what I plan to achieve before the end of the year.
Launching This Website
Launching andynburns.com is something that I’ve had in the pipeline for a little while. A way to pull together the various aspects of my professional life in one spot. The Rockingham Council component of the website will be the first part to be fleshed out properly, but the other parts will follow soon.
Moving forward, I’ll use this website to pass on important information to the people of Rockingham, and I’ll use it as a way of asking for your feedback and opinions on things that matter most. One of the most common complaints I heard from people when I’m out and about is that the Councillors for the City of Rockingham aren’t accessible. There’s a public perception that Rockingham Councillors all sit at the top of the bell tower like Quasimodo, hiding from rate-payers. I can’t speak for any of my colleagues, but that’s not the image I want to promote.
I’m reasonably active on social media although not anywhere near the same level as some – I’m looking at you Matt Whitfield – I get out and about in the community as much as I can, and I don’t try to hide my phone number. It’s 0467 511 867 in case you were wondering.
In my opinion, Councillors are elected to represent you, the residents and ratepayers of the City of Rockingham. We can’t really represent the views of the community if we’re not part of it, so please pick up the phone, send an email, connect on social or leave a comment below. Just do something to let me know you’re out there, and what your views are.
Committees, Committees, Committees, and More Committees
A big part of the role of a Councillor is to be a valuable member of the various panels and advisory committees that form part of the decision making process. Once I learnt how the council and committee system works I suddenly realised why the wheels of local government move so slowly. It’s an interesting process, and one that deserves it’s own article at a later time. For now, let’s just say that I agree it would be nice if things happened faster, and I’m sure there’s ways we can make that happen, but I can see why things are done the way they are…… for now.
These are the committees I’m part of. I’ve included the ‘Terms of Reference’ for each, which basically sets out the purpose of the committee. If any of these committees cover an area in which you have a particular interest or expertise, please get in touch.
Corporate and Community Development Committee
Areas of Consideration: Financial Services, Information Systems, Customer and Corporate Support, Waste Services, Human Resource Development, Investment Attraction, Strategy and Corporate Communications, Governance and Councillor Support, Legal Services and General Counsel, Community Capacity Building, Community Infrastructure Planning, Community Support and Safety, Community and Leisure Facilities, Library Services.
Australia Day Awards Selection Panel
To select persons for Australia Day Awards from Nominations received.
Bush Fire Advisory Committee
To advise Council on all matters relating to bush fire control including the management of bush fire brigades and coordination of prevention, preparation and response strategies.
Christmas Festival Occasional Committee
To provide advice on an expansion of the Christmas Lights program and to conduct an annual Christmas Festival at the Rockingham Foreshore.
Community Grants Program Committee
To consider and make recommendations to Council regarding Major Grant, Major Event Sponsorship, and Infrastructure and Planning Development Grant applications, and to provide feedback to staff on the Community Grants Program implementation.
Customer Service Review Committee
To implement the service complaints policy.
Global friendship Committee
Promoting awareness of the social and economic importance of the Global Friendships program to the community. Planning and arranging visits to and from global affiliates. Measuring the performance and effectiveness of individual Global Friendships in terms of community and economic development benefit. New Global Friendship proposals. Reviewing the performance and effectiveness of each Global Friendship every four years to assess the degree of activity, value to Council and associated benefits for the City of Rockingham.
Raising awareness of Council’s role in the community and enabling young people to present issues to Council from a youth (Grade 6) perspective.
Neighbours Unite Advisory Committee
To provide strategic advice to Council on supporting safe, secure and confident neighbourhoods across the City of Rockingham.
Seniors Advisory Committee
To provide information, advice and guidance to Council on matters pertaining to seniors within the City of Rockingham.
Local Government Association – South Metro Zone
Provide Council input on Local Government Issues at a Regional level.
Main Roads Regional Grants Committee
To review the Road Funding Grant applications made by Metropolitan Councils and make recommendations to the State Road Funds to Local Advisory Committee.
Point Peron Rehabilitation Committee
To rehabilitate and preserve the history and infrastructure of the Point Peron gun emplacements and batteries.
Rockingham Lakes Regional Parks Advisory Committee
The Committee’s main task is the future and ongoing management of the Park. Members of the Committee have been drawn from a wide range of park users and community interest groups, including local government, volunteers, conservation and recreation groups and local business.
I’ve also joined the board of a number of local primary schools, and I’m becoming more and more involved with the Rockingham P.C.Y.C.
Meeting With Residents
Whilst being part of all those committees is great, I didn’t become a councillor just so I could sit in bureaucratic meetings. I love getting out and meeting people. I’ve met plenty of concerned residents, community groups, business leaders and educators. Each with their own views and opinions about what works, what doesn’t, what the City should be doing, and what should be scrapped. Not everyone has had nice things to say, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of these conversations and I’m looking forward to having even more of them in the future.
Pushing For Change
I wish I could stand up and say I’ve already got runs on the board, that I’ve single-handedly changed Rockingham for the better, but I can’t.
Not only does local government not work that way – individual Councillors have no power to make decisions on their own. All decisions are made by the Council as a whole. – but as mentioned earlier, change happens slowly.
That said, there’s been a number of issues that have come before Council in the past 100 days, I’ve listened to those who take the time to reach out to me, and I’ve voiced my concerns.
- I was a strong advocate for blocking a proposal to build a mobile phone tower next to a primary school in Secret Harbour.
- I supported Cr Downham’s push for more transparency surrounding councillor attendance rates at council meetings, committee meetings, civic engagements, and other important events.
Moving forward, some of the issues I’ll be pushing in the coming months include
- More transparency around Council, including a push to have all Council meetings recorded and made available online.
- A stronger, more proactive focus on promoting Rockingham as a tourist destination. We have the best beaches in the metro area, we have restaurants, cafes and accommodation that could all use a few more customers. We as the Council should be doing more to help.
- The much needed second entrance into Woodbridge Estate.
- Turning the development focus back to something a little more fair for everyone. Unless you live on the foreshore, in Baldivis or south of Port Kennedy Drive, it’s fairly safe to say your area has been overlooked for a long time. I’m not saying we should stop building new facilities in the new parts of Rockingham. What I’m saying is we need to stop ignoring the older parts. With what feels like 1000’s of people moving to Baldivis every minute of the day, we do need to provide more footpaths, skate parks, and community centres but not at the expense of the existing areas been ignored.
Can You Help Me, Help Everyone?
We’ve barely scratched the surface of the first hundred days. There was a delegation visit from Ako, Japan. There were events covering everything from volunteering and disability inclusion, bush fire awareness, and celebrating arts and culture, to citizenship ceremonies, Australian of the Year awards, half a dozen school graduation ceremonies, training at the WA Local Government Association, and even 20 minutes sitting next to the Premier of WA.
I’m proud of my first hundred days as a Councillor, but I really feel like I’ve barely started. I have big plans for the future and I want your help, every resident of Cooloongup, Hillman, Rockingham, and Waikiki, to make sure the change I’m pushing to create, is the change you want to see.
After all, it’s your City.