By Kate Taylor
Paul Tatchell has been elected as Mayor of Moorabool Shire, entering a record fourth term in the role.
Cr Tatchell, who represents the Central Ward, served his first term from November 2013 to November 2014, and again from November 2014-2015, with Alan Comrie serving as mayor from 2015-2016, Dave Edwards from 2016-2017, and Cr Tatchell again from 2017-2018.
The process was not, however, a simple one.
Moorabool’s new CEO Derek Madden pointed out during the Monday 26 November meeting, held to appoint the mayor, that councillors have been doing it wrong for years.
The councillors and CEO discussed, with laughs coming from the gallery, whether a councillor could self-nominate or whether they needed a councillor to nominate them and then another to second the nomination before they became a candidate for Mayor.
“It’s the process set out in the local government act,” Mr Madden told surprised councillors.
After an, at times confusing nomination process involving several nominations without seconders, Woodlands Ward Councillor Pat Toohey nominated Cr Tom Sullivan (West) and East Ward Councillor Dave Edwards nominated Cr Tatchell; East Ward Councillor Jarrod Bingham seconded the nomination and the vote (5/2) saw Cr Tatchell installed to serve back-to-back terms.
East Ward Councillor John Keogh was voted in as Deputy Mayor.
Mayor Tatchell said that his priority for this term will be putting forward Moorabool’s case for funding in the lead up to the federal election, expected to be held early to mid-next year.
He said that Moorabool overall recorded a swing against the Labor government in the recent state election and that while it wasn’t federal, it suggests that Moorabool residents are sick of being ignored.
“Moorabool is depreciating itself to death. The equation is that we have abnormally high growth, the second highest in the peri-urban, with abnormally low infrastructure funding. You don’t have to be Einstein’s second cousin to work out that something’s going to give,” he told the Moorabool News.
“Parties still have a city-centric mentality. All we want is parity. If they want us to be a decentralised shire… then put your money where your mouth is.
“Common sense falls under the Foreign Minister’s portfolio – because it’s all foreign to them.”
It’s a fight that Mayor Tatchell is familiar with, as he told Steve Martin on Ballarat ABC Radio recently “the politicians see Moorabool as the road to get to Ballarat, they don’t even tap-and-go on the way through, they just go straight to Ballarat and write the big cheques.”
“We’ve done the strategic work, got our books in order… but it doesn’t appear to matter when it comes to funding.”
Still, things are most definitely happening in Moorabool.
“We’re in the middle of the biggest infrastructure program the shire has seen since amalgamation, we continue to carry out works – with ‘needed’ over ‘nice-to-haves.’ That’s the reality.
“I’d prefer this term as Mayor to bring everyone together, to try and understand what the problems we face are, and the solutions of the future.”
Cr Tatchell was first elected to Moorabool council in 2012 and then again in 2016.