Ballarat can be the best: mayor

BALLARAT’S new mayor has pledged to make Ballarat the best provincial city in Australia. 

Councillor John Burt told last night’s Ballarat City Council statutory meeting that the new council had great potential to lead  the city forward. 

“The challenge is before us. The challenge is able to be reached. And with the support of the residents of Ballarat we can make potential happen,” he said. 

Cr Burt affirmed his confidence in his fellow councillors in having the capacity to get things done. 

“I want to acknowledge the capabilities and the skills that my fellow councillors have, and I believe quite firmly that together we can take on this city with great potential to do things, to make decisions and get things happening as we would want them to be.”

Cr Burt likened the new council’s ambitions to those of the late Murray Byrne. 

“To me Murray Byrne epitomised what we are on about in this chamber and what we will be on about in the next four years. And that is to achieve the very, very best for the city of Ballarat,” he said. 

Cr Burt also acknowledged Ballarat’s rich history and his “dream” which now extends to encompass the entire city. 

“Just on 20 years ago, in the words of Martin Luther King, I had a dream. And that dream was to create something that was unique and special for special education in this town. That journey has been so exciting, so gratifying and something that I’m very proud of. I would like to now, with my fellow councillors, extend that dream to encompass this beautiful, wonderful environment that we all love and live in called the city of Ballarat.”

The Ballarat Specialist School principal is the first new councillor to immediately step up to the mayoral position since the 1995 council amalgamations. 

Cr Des Hudson presented Cr Burt with the mayoral fob in place of former mayor Mark Harris, who was not re-elected to council in last month’s election. 

Last night’s meeting also saw Cr Samantha McIntosh elected deputy mayor. 

Cr McIntosh said she will continue her appointment on council with zest. 

“A council layered with great experience, a council layered with great ability, a council that I know is here to get the job done,” she said. 

The statutory meeting was held at the Town Hall. The next ordinary council meeting will be on Wednesday.