Councillor profiles - This month from the Northern TerritoryPost-amalgamation
MacDonnell Regional Council covers 13 remote communities across the Northern Territory.
I have been the President of the MacDonnell Regional Council since it started in 2008, after the amalgamation of Community Councils.
I have seen a lot of changes in this time, as the communities adjusted to a new way of doing local government.
I learnt from my previous experience on other boards, such as the Central Land Council, and my other current position as the Chairman of the Ngurratjuta Board, that a member of a board or council should not be afraid to ask tough questions, especially when it comes to finance and funding.
My work on other boards has helped me in getting to know communities across Central Australia and interact with the community in a lot of different ways.
Because we have so much contact with the community we can sometimes be seen as representing all governments, not just local government.
We often donít have the budget to do the things we want to do, when I talk to the community I encourage them to talk to other potential funding bodies about projects for their community.
It is difficult telling people when you canít do something, but I see things as long term; you work towards getting the big things done through doing lots of little things along the way.
Communicating with community
Itís been really nice to see the communities improve over the last six years.
For example, all of our communities now have parks and other play areas, which gives people pride in their community and makes it a nicer place for them.
Being able to involve the communities in the development of the Regional Council and let them have a say in our vision has been my greatest achievement during my time.
I am always working to ensure that the vision of our communities is reflected in our corporate plan and budget and to make sure Council is accountable to the people it represents.
Listening to the community is very important for a Councillor, I need to know what people want and get that done.
I enjoy talking to people about what they want to see in their communities.
Speaking a number of languages is a benefit, as people can feel more confident when speaking to me in their native language.
As Councillors, we often prefer to speak in our own language, and therefore have to spend a lot of time translating and thinking about how to say things in English.
It means things take a bit more time, but we try to use our language as much as possible.
I see the role of Councillors in supporting our young people to become future leaders.
I also play an educational role in helping people understand what Local Government does as this can be unclear in our communities.
To be a good President you need to have the respect of all the communities you serve and represent them fairly.
You need to have the respect of other Councillors as well.
The communities always have good ideas and being able to help those ideas happen is very important to me.
Weíve got to be able to deliver our services and achieve the right outcomes.
It is also great when something good happens in one community, I can help share ideas so that if other communities want to do the same thing, they can.
I want to have a legacy of my time with Council.
I want to be able to show that I have helped the communities that I work for.