Change plan for the future

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

The Capel Shire Council’s newly elected president has spoken out about the need for change within the shire and described his appointment as the first big change.

Cr Michael Southwell was elected president unopposed at a special council council meeting on Monday night where four new councillors and the re-elected Sebastian Schiano were sworn in.

“The four new councillors made it clear during the campaign they were agents for change,” Cr Southwell said.

“I’ve made it pretty clear in my communications on Facebook etc. that I wanted to see some change, so now we’re all together, tonight you’ve seen the first big change.”

Not one without ambition, other changes the new president said he planned to make include making the council “more open and inviting”, something he planned to do by having council meetings recorded, having councillor names noted in the minutes alongside their vote and starting council meetings later in the day.

“I want to make it a more welcoming place,” he said.

Former president Cr Murray Scott was appointed to the top position in 2001 and was first elected as a councillor back in 1993.

“I promised myself that I would sit on the back bench for two years then I’m out of here, I only have two years left,” he said.

“I’m taking a fairly long trip next year, hopefully four or five months, so I wouldn’t be able to take the job on and go away for that long.”

In his acceptance speech, Cr Southwell thanked his predecessor for all his years of service and said he hoped to bring the people of Capel with the council into the future.

Council newcomer Kaara Andrew was appointed deputy president.

Dave Clews, Kieran Noonan and Rosina Mogg made up the remaining new faces on the council, all earning more than 9 per cent of the total election votes each.

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