Councillor profiles - This month from Wagait Shire Council, NT

Article image - Councillor profiles - This month from Wagait Shire Council, NT President Lisa Marie Stones, Wagait Shire Council, Northern Territory

Rapidly evolving region
I have been an elected member of Wagait Shire Council since March 2012 and President since April 2014.

Prior to becoming an elected member in 2012 I have had no real interest or involvement in politics at any level.

I have a deep and abiding passion for this community and I was prompted to stand in the Local Government election in order to give back to this rapidly evolving region that my family have been a part of for nearly 20 years.

I want to contribute to our Shire’s growth and development while ensuring we retain our unique charm.

We are a small population that covers a broad demographic.

The sense of community is very strong, and to quote my fellow Councillor Shenagh Gamble. “Everyday transactions become human interactions.  Just buying some milk at the local shop is a chance to talk about local art and music shows, footy results and advice on cooking!”

Ferry trip from Darwin
Wagait Beach is on the Cox Peninsula, just west of Darwin in the
Northern Territory.

Although the drive to our Shire from the Darwin CBD takes an hour and a half, we are accessible by a quick 15-minute ferry trip across the Darwin Harbour.

This allows for a unique blend of rural and urban living with most of our residents commuting to Darwin daily for work and school.

We have approximately 400 ratepayers – a mixture of permanent residents
and ‘weekenders’.

The ocean, bushland, floodplains, rivers and tributaries surround us.
Having easy access to such beautiful unspoiled environs leads to an outdoor lifestyle with fishing and camping being a large part of most Wagait families leisure time.

We just have to keep an eye out for the crocs!

The key challenge we face is long term financial sustainability on the face of ‘super shires’ and an economic downturn.  

We are currently investigating the potential for a boundary expansion after significant community and government consultation.
 
Community events
My personal key challenge is the balance of work, personal and Council responsibilities.

I have a day job that takes a significant portion of my time - and Council is certainly not a 9-5 position.

It’s very important to be available to chat with residents.
Receiving this anecdotal feedback from the community is a large part of the job.

Luckily I enjoy an active social life and get to incorporate the two for the most part.

The most satisfying thing about being involved with Council is the provision of community events.

It is so wonderful to see families of all ages and backgrounds come together to celebrate our commonality.

Our Sports and Recreation programme also brings me great pride. We are a small community with limited resources and yet we are able to provide a robust programme for kids of all ages.

Outside of my Council responsibilities I enjoy reading, gardening and revelling in the great outdoors with my family, preferably with a crisp glass of South Australian Sauvignon Blanc in hand.