Fresh faces keen to work
After a whirlwind local council election, five new elected members sit on the Town of Port Hedland council and two new faces are at the Shire of East Pilbara council.
The North West Telegraph spoke to the newly elected members to find out how they felt about their win and what they planned to do with their time.
The Town of Port Hedland welcomed George Daccache, Telona Pitt, Warren McDonogh, Tricia Hebbard and Peter Carter to join incumbents Julie Arif, Richard Whitwell, Louise Newberry and re-elected Mayor Camilo Blanco.
The Shire of East Pilbara welcomed new faces Anthony Middleton to the South Ward and Carol Williams to the East Ward.
Returning to the council after a two-year hiatus, Mr Daccahe said he was delighted to return to council chambers.
“I never lost passion for being a councillor — after having a two-year break I’m very excited and I’m honoured for people to elect me as one of their representatives in town,” he said.
“I want to accomplish what I proposed while I ran for mayor. There were a number of things like improving sporting infrastructure, reducing interest rates for ratepayers and businesses, implementing public transport to and from the airport and bus shelters for every bus stop.”
Mr Daccache said he wanted to re-evaluate the spending of the Town and ensure money was being spent “on the right things”.
When not in council chambers, Mr Daccache can be found working at the Department of Health or on the football field umpiring during the season.
As Port Hedland’s first indigenous female councillor, the South Hedland mum said her election was still sinking in.
Ms Pitt said as a Torres Strait Islander and Ngarluma and Kariyarra woman, she wanted to represent her community and the people who voted her in.
“I’m excited to be able to be a part of the decision-making in the town and I feel humbled as well that so many people trust that I can make good decisions for the community,” she said.
“I’d like to be able to be a voice for the community and accomplish things for them, also be a part of the strategic development team of the town and be able to help work on projects and be a part of decision making in town planning to better the town for our children.”
The local mentor in the indigenous community, Ms Pitt hopes to help improve the town’s reputation with the rest of Australia.
Living in Port Hedland for 10 years, the father of two said he was looking forward to doing the best he could for Port Hedland and the people who voted him in.
“I’m very humbled by the support and I’d like to thank everyone who supported me along the way,” he said.
“I want to focus on cleaning up the South Hedland town centre and making it safer for the community and I just look forward to working with all the stakeholders within the town to really try make some positive steps towards improving the town.”
Being a father, Mr McDonogh said he was tired of the negative image Port Hedland had accumulated and wanted to work towards changing that perception.
Outside council duties, Mr McDonogh can be found with his wife and two daughters involved in BMX, speedway or with his camera documenting the Pilbara.
Tricia Hebbard and Peter Carter did not respond by the time of print.
Mr Middleton is one of two new councillors to join the Shire’s elected members and said he was humbled that voters saw he could be their voice.
“I am excited to sit on the council and ready to embrace what comes with the appointment,” he said.
“I would like to ensure that the population of Newman are heard and their issues are raised and followed up. I would like to inform the population of initiatives and decisions made by the council.”
Mr Middleton said he was looking forward to seeing and supporting initiatives and programs put in place to reduce teenage antisocial behaviour.
Outside council chambers, Mr Middleton can be found at the Lions Club co-ordinating events as the club president.
East Ward newly elected member Carol Williams was unable to respond by the time of print.
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