FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT FOR WALGA
THE first woman president of the WA Local Government Association is Shire of East Pilbara president Lynne Craigie (56).
“The biggest issue now for local government is the cost-shifting to councils from other levels of government, and we need to collectively look at that,” she told Community Newspaper Group after her election at the WALGA State Council last Wednesday.
Mrs Craigie replaces Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard in the WALGA presidency, after he stepped down to head the Australian Local Government Association last week.
Mrs Craigie said she would be advocating with Mr Pickard for all councils and said that she was prepared for any criticism from the large eastern states councils if she and Mr Pickard were regarded as acting in unison for Western Australia.
“But we have to acknowledge they will always get a precedent because of their large numbers, but we will have to be vocal, and at this stage you would be hard pressed to say WA is getting anything more than its fair share, ” she said.
Mrs Craigie is a Newman resident and has been Shire of East Pilbara president for 10 years.
She chairs the Pilbara town’s Women’s Shelter, Visitors Centre and senior high school board as well as being a member the East Pilbara Independence Support Group.
A practising psychologist for 13 years, Mrs Craigie said she would use her professional skills to listen to the needs of her WA councils.
“We no longer are purely about roads, rates and rubbish, and communities now have much greater needs, whether it be sport facilities of community services,” she said.
WALGA chief executive Ricky Burgess said Mr Pickard’s five-year-contribution included the Regional Subsidiary Bill now before Parliament, input to the new Building and Dog acts and negotiating funding for councils.
However, Mr Pickard’s initial support for the failed merger process until earlier this year, prompted several councils to moot withdrawing from WALGA, and helped create the 12council Councils for Democracy (CfD).
CfD spokesman Ron Norris said it was “extremely pleased” about Mrs Craigie’s appointment but she needed to rebuild the trust damaged by WALGA’s role in mergers.
“Councils would be looking to meet her soon, and for WALGA support for councils affected by the Perth Freight Link and the proposed City of Perth Act,” Mr Norris said.
Lynne Craigie is the new WALGA president.