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Several registered and interested nominees attended a councillor information session at the Grafton Regional Gallery last week. Image: Emma Pritchard

CVC council candidate sessions attract plenty of interest

Emma Pritchard

Studying fastidiously, they listened, learned, asked questions, observed and gained a better understanding of the unique roles and responsibilities that come with being an elected member of council.

As the NSW council election date approaches, several registered candidates and interested nominees attended a series of information seminars in Grafton and Maclean last week.

Former Mayor of Lismore Jenny Dowell OAM, who has been a mayoral mentor with LGNSW following her retirement in 2016, spoke to attendees at candidate information sessions at the Grafton Regional Gallery and Maclean Council Chambers and offered them words of advice, support and encouragement.

Ms Dowell also spoke about several key issues including the importance of diverse representation on council, the use of social media in election campaigns and as an elected councillor, meeting procedures and rules of debate, the benefits of Local Government and the significant importance and honour of being a community representative as an elected councillor.

“Council is a sphere of Government which allows you as a councillor to have the opportunity to shape the future of your community, and no other job does that,” she said.

“You will work with a diverse group of people and that is the best thing in the world.

“Being a councillor is a great job, it’s an honour, it delivers incredible variety and no two days are the same.

“The fact that you want to serve your community should be the driving force of your campaign.

“You love where you live and you want to represent your local area.”

Ms Dowell also shared how spending more than a decade as a councillor changed and inspired her.

“The skill that I know expanded out of sight for me was my ability to read for knowledge,” she said.

“I learned to extract knowledge and questions I needed to ask to clarify things to better help me so I could help others.

“As a councillor, you make the best decisions for your community now and for the future.”  

2021 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) candidate Tara Matteson was among 13 people who attended the information session at the Grafton Regional Gallery on July 12.

Describing the seminar as a really positive event, Ms Matteson said some of the key points she took on board were confidence as a candidate moving forward with her campaign and commitment to continuing professional development.

“Jenny was so brilliant and she shared so much information with us,” she said.

“I also really liked the fact that copies of the Code of Conduct were made available for us.

“If elected, you’re bound by that and it’s really important information to know.”