Councillor profiles – Steven Carter President of Dalwallinu Shire Council
Shire of Dalwallinu is known as the ‘wheat shire’ however it is equally well known for its wattles – there are over 100 different species of wattle within the Dalwallinu Shire boundary. Also in a recent survey of country towns, Dalwallinu was found to be one of only four towns in the whole of Australia, to have population growth. This growth came about because of a regional repopulation programme for which we were presented with an award from the Western Australian Government.
The shire is 7187 square km in area and has four satellite towns, Kalannie, Wubin, Buntine and Pithara. We have 1965km of local roads and Great Northern Highway runs north-south the length of the shire.
Dalwallinu is recognised as being the start of the Wildflower Way if you’re travelling from Perth, and Dalwallinu’s position on Great Northern Highway also allows it to be a service town for both agriculture and mining.
Dalwallinu has many great picnic areas two of which are right in town being Memorial Park & Richardson Nature Playground. We have an ultramodern recreation centre with grassed playing fields. But my favourite place is Xantippe, the only location in Australia that starts with the letter “X”. It’s the place I lived and farmed for 35 years, and with my wife Lee Anne, brought up our three children, who also live locally. We have moved into Dalwallinu now but I’m still working at the farm nearly every day.
Born to it
I’ve been on Council for 16 years, six years as president, and I currently serve with seven other councillors from various backgrounds. There are several reasons why I became interested in Council. My father and grandfather were both councillors so I was kind of born into it. Growing up I used all the facilities the Shire provided and drove to those facilities on roads the Shire maintained and I wanted the same opportunity for my children. Another reason for becoming a councillor was to make sure the rates were allocated responsibly. I still use plenty of those facilities playing bowls in the summer and watching football, hockey and netball in winter.
Room to grow
Dalwallinu is unique with its growing population and industry. Our main challenge is providing land for business and residential use. We have just completed a Shire-funded 12-block housing subdivision, eight of which have been sold already. This is the third residential subdivision in the last ten years with only four blocks left.
In the industrial arena, we are negotiating with Development WA to develop Stage 2 of the Hugget Drive Industrial Park and the Old Hospital residential subdivision Stage 3.
The influx of new residents has led to Dalwallinu becoming a multicultural community, reversing the declining trend at the school and bringing new experiences to the shire.
I’d say our most innovative project has been the Regional Repopulation Project, even though it was a few years ago that we received the award. It is an ongoing project and a lot of what’s happening in Dalwallinu is related to population and industry growth.
A project I’m particularly proud to be part of is our recreation precinct where we’ve managed to get all our sporting and recreation facilities in the one place. These include bowls, tennis, netball, swimming pool, basketball indoor and outdoor, squash, hockey, football and cricket.
However, the ‘pièce de résistance’ is the recently renovated Recreation Centre, it’s been transformed into a modern, functional centre suitable for any occasion. As an aside, the Rec Centre took many years of planning, deliberating, designing and applying for funding. Our applications for funding from both State and Federal governments were unsuccessful so Council bit the bullet and borrowed some money to put with the money we had saved over the years and the result is nothing short of spectacular.
It’s what we do
Another perhaps more life changing project was the Goodlands phone tower. Many ratepayers in the northeast of the shire had no mobile phone service and most landlines were unserviceable, so Council, Telstra and the State Government, through a joint agreement, provided a mobile tower. It was truly a great result for the area.
I find the best and worst parts of being on shire are closely related and that is being able to fulfil requests put to Council or not, depending on the demonstrated need and the budget. Sounds simple – but that’s what serving on council is in a nutshell.
We have great staff to give us all the information so we can make the best decision possible.
Going forward I’d like to see the population keep growing, more industry come to town, it would be great for Dalwallinu to become self-sufficient for water and power and become carbon neutral.
I’d like to make sure the ratepayers interests are at the forefront of all our deliberations.