Councillor profiles - Kristie Johnston Mayor Glenorchy City Council

Article image - Councillor profiles - Kristie Johnston  Mayor Glenorchy City Council

Glenorchy City Council is a beautiful municipality just north of Hobart nestled between the Derwent River and Mount Wellington.

As the third largest municipality in Tasmania, Glenorchy boasts a very diverse population and is proudly the multicultural hub of the State with over 20 percent of our population born overseas.

Glenorchy has a rich history from farming, to factories and now families, which recognises that our strength is our people.

As a community council, we have a strong focus on actively engaging with our diverse community and take our guiding instructions for the Glenorchy Community Plan 2015-2040. The Community Plan is a vibrant and robust document created by the people of Glenorchy, for the people of Glenorchy, that establishes a vision crossing jurisdictional and sector borders to build aspirations and set goals.

Glenorchy is a proud city; a city of arts, of opportunity, of partnerships; a city that makes exciting
things happen.

I firmly believe that bad things happen when good people do nothing. I get frustrated by those who whinge from the sidelines but are not prepared to step up and be part of the solution.

As an active community volunteer I became a regular attendee at Council meetings and was concerned by the decisions being made around the Council table.

In taking a dose of my own medicine I decided that I needed to step up and stand for local government if I wanted there to be some positive change.

I was elected as a first time candidate in 2011 as an Alderman where I quickly became even more frustrated with the lack of sound governance from around the table.

Again, I decided to step up and was elected as Mayor in 2014 on the campaign platform of Clean Up Glenorchy and Clean Out the Council.

At the recent election I was elected Mayor again with 86 percent of the mayoral vote and 6.43 (out of 10) quotas for the aldermanic vote in the popular election.

Glenorchy City Council has been through a tumultuous time.
As a first time Mayor it became apparent to me in 2014 that Council was, and had been for some time, dysfunctional in its administration and was plagued by poor governance practices condoned by a majority of aldermen.

I undertook to change the culture and practices of the council. There was strong resistance from the longstanding aldermen and their senior management appointments and unfortunately their conduct worsened much to the outcry of the community.

Following a lengthy independent Board of Inquiry, which documented the serious dysfunction and maladministration, my concerns were found to be legitimate, the position I had taken was vindicated, and the State Government stepped in to dismiss the council.

After a period of administration, a new Council has been elected with the ‘old guard’ gone and a fresh new aldermanic team and management team.

This new team is now working hard to rebuild the trust of the community, to establish sound governance practices, repair the financial crisis, and to address the legacies of failed major projects left behind by the previous administration.

Whilst it is early days in the term, the community support for the new Council has been really encouraging and Council can now hand on heart talk once more about being a council that is transparent, accountable and puts the community first.

Without a shadow of a doubt the best part of being Mayor of Glenorchy is the amazing people that I have the privilege to meet and serve.

Every day I am inspired by ordinary people in my community doing extraordinary things, especially our volunteers.

The community’s support, encouragement, and willingness to participate has meant that our city has grown stronger and better even during the difficult times.

Glenorchy is a city full of potential. With a new fresh, stable and vibrant Council I am looking forward to working with our community to realise some exciting development opportunities for urban renewal and regeneration that exist with the reinstatement of passenger rail along our corridor ensuring that our city grows sustainably and improves our sense of belonging and connectedness.