Working together for our local democracy

By  |  0 Comments

By Cr Katherine Copsey, Lake ward representative and Deputy Mayor of the City of Port Phillip

Hello to the readers of St Kilda News – it’s a pleasure to write to you in my new role as your Greens councillor for Lake ward in the City of Port Phillip. I’m humbled by the community’s response to the Greens vision for a fair, sustainable and welcoming Port Phillip and very grateful for the faith you’ve placed in me. I am looking forward to getting to work as your local representative. It’s also been an honour to accept the role of Deputy Mayor and I thank my colleagues on Council for giving me the opportunity.

The new group of City of Port Phillip councillors are just getting our feet under the desks – though there are some incumbent and former councillors amongst us. Although it’s early days, I am excited about the possibilities of our term together. We’ve been getting to know one another and discussing values and priorities and it’s pleasing to see the first flickerings of an exciting shared vision taking shape.

In the role of Deputy Mayor I hope can contribute to a culture amongst councillors that is collegiate and collaborative. In recognition of the fact that this group of councillors come from diverse perspectives, I promise to support healthy and respectful discussion so we are rigorous in our deliberations. Together I am confident we can create and work hard towards a shared vision for an inclusive community and a sustainable and liveable Port Phillip.

Like many people, given recent international developments such as Brexit and the election of Trump, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about democracy. These events highlight the important work we have to do to strengthen our democracy here in Port Phillip. Councillors can contribute to that by being accountable, transparent and communicating effectively with locals – that means both leading, and listening.

We are lucky in Port Phillip to have quite an engaged community that takes pride in their home and interest in what happens there. It’s our job as Councillors to foster that interest and to take advantage of it. The fact that so many locals care really excites me. It means that we genuinely have the chance to engage together in intelligent conversations about the issues we face as a community. Those conversations won’t always be easy – there will be some wicked problems for us to solve. But they will be worthwhile.

As a newly elected Councillor, I ask our community to help us solve these problems. Come to local events and meetings, participate in surveys and consultations, let us know what you are thinking. In my capacity as Deputy Mayor I’ll be doing all I can to support my fellow councillors and the Mayor so that we can undertake the task of building the Port Phillip we want, together.

At a time when some people are pulling back from what they see as a disengaged politics, local government – that level where we are one-on-one with constituents, where often we are living in the communities we govern – is so important. I thank you for the opportunity to represent you as your Councillor and Deputy Mayor. I hope I can use this opportunity to make Port Phillip’s example of local democracy a reason for people to get involved and stay involved. Because we can have the kind of community we want. If we all work together to achieve it.

Find us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on Facebook