September 27, 2013
After a year in the position of 101st Mayor of Randwick, ALP Councillor Tony Bowen last Tuesday stood down, along with deputy mayor Noel D’Souza. They both made way for Liberal councillor Scott Nash, and Independent Anthony Andrews.
Councillor Nash was the only candidate nominated for mayor and automatically got the prestigious position. He was first elected as mayor in 2011, also for a one year term.
In an open vote, Independent Anthony Andrews easily defeated Greens Councillor Murray Matson, thirteen votes to just two.
Happily walking up the chair for the first time in a year, Nash joked it was ‘good to be back in the chair.’
The barrister, who also works full time in the city, said that he would like to focus on people who are less fortunate; ‘We have a relatively large area of indigenous and social housing. Let’s face it, they are areas of disadvantage.’
He said that in order to improve environmental outcomes, there would be a six percent levy on residents. He defended the rise in taxes, claiming that if results are delivered, residents are happy to pay for the increase.
Councillor Nash confirmed that he opposed the ‘global city’ idea, in line with the ‘Keep Randwick a village’ campaign.
In an exclusive interview, Nash said that; ‘Light Rail is critical infrastructure and it’s important that all the stakeholders have a voice during the consultation process.’
Outgoing mayor, Tony Bowen, in his final mayoral minute, said that he ‘didn’t understand what being the mayor really meant,’ until his appointment last year.
‘I’ve always been passionate about this community,’ Bowen explained, ‘and there’s no better way to experience it than being mayor.’
‘It’s been a positive year,’ Tony Bowen said. ‘Council has reduced waste, economics has not been outweighed by social values, and I’ve come to understand what community really is. Community is built on hard working people toward others.’
The finances of the council are in very good shape. Compared to others around Australia, good financial management skills have been essential, and according to Mayor Scott Nash, Council’s debt-free status has meant that we’ve been able to invest in a wide range of capital works projects.
Acknowledging the other councillors, he noted that they had ‘fortified’ him during challenging periods. ‘We’ve had to negotiate our ways through unique circumstances,’ noting that due to the equal number of Labor and Liberal candidates, the councillors had to swap mayoral duties around, annually.
His Deputy Mayor, Noel D’Souza, was an outstanding deputy, Bowen announced in his address to councillors.
Bowen’s father, Lionel Bowen, was mayor of the city in 1948, and Deputy Prime Minister from 1983 – 1990. However, Councillor Bowen maintains ‘it is a public position, and not just a family name.’
There was much praise for Mr Bowen, all councillors agreeing that he supported the council well, especially when more than half of all members where sitting for the first time.
Andrews said that it was the ‘best council to date that I have been a part of,’ while Murray Matson commented on Bowen’s leadership; saying he avoided ‘petty fights.’
‘Having already been the Mayor, I know it’s a tough gig, but I also know I’m up for the challenge,’ Nash commented.
His work begins immediately.