“Deirdre Chambers. What a coincidence!”

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It was standing room only last night at the City of Hawkesbury Council Chambers, as my Mum declared that this was going to be her last council meeting as a representative of the region. Since I was 17, she has been on the council. 25 years!

But she is ready to move on. Move on from a place where her dedication to community service was so much a part of her life. I didn’t go to too many council meetings during this time because BORING, but I think sometimes councillors get a really bad rap, but they turn up, speak up and make important decisions.

I seriously don’t know how she did it. Over the years, there has been smear campaigns, sledging, death threats, hate mail, oh and the one time she found a group of male colleagues, the Mayor included, handing around a picture of a naked woman that some delightful dolt had super-imposed Mums head onto!

I lot of the time I think that when you throw developers and councillors into bed together, it is hard to remain impartial, and this council was pretty sleepy… Hello Porpoise Spit! This particular council was often referred to as the worst one in the history of the region, and was plagued by deals done under the table, illegal donations from builders, nastiness and general incompetence. It was ruled by the major political parties so the egos were quite advanced. But apart from that, Mum managed to get shit DONE!

Elected to Council September 1991
Australia Day Awards Committee
Australia Day Joint Committee
Board of Management Fitzgerald Memorial Hostel Inc
Chair Hawkesbury Equity and Access Planning Committee
Chairman of Local Traffic Committee – 2 years
Chairperson of Clarendon Committee
Committee Member of Friends of the Hawkesbury Art Collection
Committee Member of Macquarie Towns Festival
Director on Western Sydney Waste Board
E-Commerce/Markets Advisory Committee
Hawkesbury Agricultural Retention through Diversification and Clustering Advisory (HartDac)
Hawkesbury Awards Committee
Hawkesbury Bicycle and Access Mobility Committee
Hawkesbury Leisure Centres Inc.
Hawkesbury Mobility Plan Implementation Committee (alternate)
Hawkesbury Prioritising Committee Western Suburbs Area Assistance Scheme (WSAAS).
Hawkesbury Sister City Association
Hawkesbury Sustainable Agricultural Development Strategy Committee (HSADS)
Hawkesbury Waste Management Facility-Environmental
Monitoring Committee Director
Hawkesbury Wine, Food and Music Affair Committee
Hostel for Aged Accommodation
Macquarie Park Committee
Museum Advisory Committee
Mushroom Industry Consultative Committee
Peppercorn Services Inc. Board
Pitt Town Advisory Committee
Prioritising Committee Capital Assistance Sport and Recreation
Public Libraries NSW – Metropolitan Association
Regional Director Outer Metro West-Local Government
Recycling Co-operative
Richmond Lowlands Task Force
Rural Lands Study
Sports Centre Building
Strategic Planning Committee
Sustainable Agricultural Strategy Committee
Three Towns Sewerage Committee
Waste Management Advisory Committee
Waste Management Task Force
Western Sydney Area Assistance Scheme (WSAAS) Local Ranking Committee
Western Sydney Area Assistance Scheme Local Parking Committee
Westpool

Community Advisory Board for Hawkesbury District Health Service
Community Board member of the UWS Medical School
Fitzgerald Hostel Board Member
Member Friends of the Hawkesbury Art Collection (FOHAC)
Member Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association (HDAA)
Member Hawkesbury Harvest
Member Hawkesbury Race Club
Member Windsor Golf Club
Reclaim the Night Committee
School Council member
Sports Person of the Year Committee
Trustee for Rotary Youth Trust
Well Wise Women’s Cafe Committee
Western Sydney Breast Screening Unit
Western Sydney Women’s Advisory Committee
Young Mum’s on the Move Committee

I think the fact that neither the Mayor or the General Manager thought it was appropriate to thank her and the other retiring councillors speaks volumes about the calibre of their character, but the packed out chambers stood and cheered her at the end of her farewell speech. Then we all all went home and drank far too much champagne.

So congratulations Mum, on a job well done. Let the next chapter begin! *

What is your local council like?

* Can you take the kids for the weekend?