Northampton farmer Liz Sudlow first female president in 150-plus years for shire

Phoebe PinMidwest Times
At the 2020 Gingin Bull Sale was WA Angus Committee chairwoman Liz Sudlow.
Camera IconAt the 2020 Gingin Bull Sale was WA Angus Committee chairwoman Liz Sudlow. Credit: Countryman

A Mid West farmer with community service in her blood has become the first female to be elected Shire of Northampton president in the local government’s 150-plus year history.

Born-and-bred Northampton resident Liz Sudlow was last week appointed to the top role four votes to three, narrowly defeating Cr Shane Krakouer.

No stranger to leadership roles, Mrs Sudlow is chair of the WA Angus Committee and held the position of State president for the Isolated Children’s Parents Association for several years.

She said she joined the council two years ago with a mission to serve her community and pay homage to her family history of government representation. “My dad was on council for 19 years, my great uncle was shire president and his father was in State politics … it’s in my DNA,” she said. “My grandfather would probably be horrified to think that there is a female president — we should be in the kitchen baking scones — but dad would have been very proud.”

Cr Sudlow said she was proud to be the first female to hold the title, but women were well represented in decision making roles in Northampton.

“On our own council, there are three female councillors including Cr Sandy Stock-Standen who has served for 17 years,” she said.

“I think I am the third female chair for WA Angus, for me those people who have gone before me have paved the way.”

Cr Sudlow said there was no doubt the post-Seroja recovery effort would be the council’s priority for at least the next two years.

“People have lost their homes and had damage to their business, so a focus will be on being there for the townspeople and making sure they feel supported,” she said.

“I think our previous president (Craig Simkin) and CEO Garry (Keeffe) did a fantastic job when it was really raw.

“Sometimes as more time passes, in some ways it can get more difficult to have the energy to keep moving forward.”

Ensuring Northampton’s farming community was well-supported was a priority for Cr Sudlow.

“Things are booming along at the moment ... all the commodity prices are doing well but I do know for many farmers securing labour has been difficult,” she said. “There are farmers out there who are quite sober as to the future of farming.”

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