Councillor Jim Child elected Mayor

Published on 12 November 2021

O'Shannassy Ward Councillor, Jim Child

O’Shannassy Ward Councillor, Jim Child, has been elected as Mayor of Yarra Ranges for the next 12 months.

Cr Child was unanimously elected to the position of Mayor on Tuesday, 9 November by his fellow Councillors, with Lyster Ward Councillor, Johanna Skelton, elected as Deputy Mayor.

Cr Child said that he was “humbled” to serve in his second term as Mayor, since being elected as O’Shannassy Ward Councillor in 2012.

“I think this coming year’s Mayoral term is going to be an exciting time,” he said.

“With vaccination rates where they are at present and restrictions being eased, we can get back to doing the things we really enjoyed. I think that’s what I’m seeing now, in the community, is that people are a lot more positive than they were before.

“The gates are starting to open, and we can get back to a sense of normality.”

A previous Councillor and Shire President of Upper Yarra Shire Council in the 1980s, Cr Child has an extensive history in the region.

He said that a focus for the region over the next year will be encouraging the return of tourism to the Yarra Ranges to support local business, while ensuring a smooth rollout of Council’s community services and Capital Works Program.

“We’ve had limited travel – and, for a period, we didn’t have any international or interstate travel – so what do people do? They visit their closest region, which is what we’ve been seeing here,” Cr Child said.

“The metropolitan community has awoken to us – people will be coming to visit us and we have to be prepared for that.

“We also have a very comprehensive Capital Works Program at the moment. As a Council, we were deliberate in the budget process to make sure that it continued coming out of COVID – we don’t want to be shutting the door on really strong community projects that we can deliver.

“Our Rivers and Ridges projects – including the RidgeWalk, the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination and the Yarra Valley Trail Stage Two – are so important. These projects can deliver to the community, deliver job prospects and welcome tourism back to the Yarra Valley.”

Cr Child paid tribute to the leadership of outgoing Mayor, Ryrie Ward Councillor Fiona McAllister and her Deputy Mayor, Chandler Ward Councillor David Eastham.

“Cr McAllister played an exceptional role as Mayor over the past 12 months, nurturing and leading a new Council after the 2020 elections,” he said.

“Most of all, she had a strong and unwavering commitment to the COVID-19 pandemic and storm event recovery – it was exceptional.

“Cr McAllister, Cr Eastham and all of our Councillors have represented the Yarra Ranges community so well, especially in these difficult times.”