City of Greater Geraldton welcomes new councillors

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
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City of Greater Geraldton successful council candidates Victor Tanti, Mike Reymond, Natasha Colliver, Jerry Clune, Jennifer Critch, Michael Librizzi and Steve Cooper.
Camera IconCity of Greater Geraldton successful council candidates Victor Tanti, Mike Reymond, Natasha Colliver, Jerry Clune, Jennifer Critch, Michael Librizzi and Steve Cooper. Credit: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian

The City of Greater Geraldton has welcomed three new members to its council, with four incumbents, two first-time candidates and one former councillor successful in Saturday’s election.

The election attracted 7422 formal ballots, a 27.11 per cent turnout, which was down from the 33.5 per cent participation rate at the last non-mayoral election in 2017.

Mullewa resident and returning councillor Jennifer Critch was the frontrunner in the race, receiving 13.6 per cent of the vote.

She said she was honoured and humbled by the amount of support she had received.

“I came in not knowing where I would sit. I was hoping I would do well and I have to thank everyone who stood behind me,” she said.

“Especially all those rural and regional people who just stood up and sent their votes in as well.

“Hopefully they’re voting for me because they know I’m approachable ... and I’m doing a good job.”

Hopefully they’re voting for me because they know I’m approachable . . . and I’m doing a good job.

- Cr Jennifer Critch

Despite the result, Cr Critch said she would not stand for deputy mayor because of personal commitments in her home town, an hour’s drive from the city centre, including raising her young children.

Fellow returning councillor Jerry Clune, a Bringo farmer, received the second-highest number of votes with 10.44 per cent, followed by deputy mayoral hopeful Natasha Colliver, who has sat on the council since 2015.

Coming in fourth was new face Steve Cooper, the son of City freeman and former mayor Phil Cooper, who swore in the new councillors at a special meeting last night after the time of print, when at least two councillors nominated for deputy mayor.

Newcomer Michael Librizzi and incumbent Victor Tanti were also elected for four-year terms. Former councillor from 2015-2019 Mike Reymond received the seventh-most votes and will serve a two-year term.

The result however means there will be less diversity on the council, with the departure of former councillor Sally Elphick and the unsuccessful campaigns of the only new female candidate Eva Svanberg and gay First Nations man Zain Laudehr.

The new council will consist of three women and 10 men.

But City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said it was a clear message from the community on who they wanted to represent them and they were happy with how the council was operating.

The people have spoken . . . if people are unhappy with the result, then they don’t believe in democracy.

- CGG Mayor Shane Van Styn

“The average voter only selected five candidates and there were four incumbents,” he said.

“On our council we have a number of women on council who continue to lead by example, and its great to see new faces on council.

“Even one of the new faces was former councillor Michael Reymond. We’ve only ever lost one councillor as a result of an election over the last three.

“The people have spoken ... if people are unhappy with the result, then they don’t believe in democracy.”

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