City of Bunbury deputy mayor Brendan Kelly has confirmed he will challenge current Mayor Gary Brennan for the top job at October’s local government election.
Mr Kelly, 62, has had two terms as deputy mayor and would now like a chance to lead the City for the next four years. He spoke to the Mail last week about the importance of keeping Bunbury’s morale up and working towards a positive future.
“As a person who endeavours to develop and encourage relationships across the political divide, my skills apply to bringing people together,” he said.
“I see myself more engaged with people and the morale of the town than I do with promoting dry economic theory.”
Mr Kelly said the job of mayor requires someone who can unite the City’s talented, expert, committed and passionate people to effectively make Bunbury ‘hum’.
“You can’t just service one end of town, Bunbury is as much about Carey Park, Glen Iris and Pelican Point as it is about the CBD,” he said.
“A CBD focus is required – people gravitate there when they visit which helps stimulate economic activity but that investment of that money must benefit the entire City. Our main challenge and greatest opportunity is to create a strong and positive community by communicating openly, getting involved and sharing ideas and expertise.”
Mr Kelly said his focus across 25 years in civic life has been to serve the needs of the people. His key focus in recent years has been Bunbury’s goal to become the Most Accessible Regional City in Australia by 2020.
“For years I’ve been a count-me-in ambassador and I’m very passionate about Bunbury’s push to become all inclusive because everyone has something to contribute to society,” he said. “We are really leading the way in this space and are currently teaching other local governments what has worked for us.”
As a councillor Mr Kelly is chair of the City of Bunbury policy committee and the heritage advisory committee.
He also sits on the boards of Accordwest and Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre.
Mr Kelly said as one of seven children, the values of being involved in the community were taught to him at an early age. “My parents were always looking outside themselves to do things for others and thanks to them a desire to make a difference is in my DNA.”
He also said he looks forwarded to welcoming a strong field of candidates to both the race for Mayor and the six council seats that will go up for grabs.
“People who are thinking of standing should know it is rewarding to serve those who have put their trust in you,” he said. “As for the community, I urge everyone to be engaged and have their say. We all benefit from a community that strives to be better and knows what it wants to achieve.”
Mr Brennan confirmed last month that he will nominate to retain the Mayor’s job, with a number of other candidates expected to nominate in the coming weeks.