By MADISON EASTMOND

MILDURA Rural City Council this week welcomed its newest councillor – Helen Healy. 

Cr Healy, 62, was sworn in at Council’s February meeting, and said that she “couldn’t be more excited.”

“At this point in my life, the timing is really right for me,” she said.

Cr Healy, PICTURED, joins Council following a vacancy created by former councillor Ali Cupper, who resigned following her election to the Victorian Parliament.

Cr Healy won a countback earlier this year involving eligible unsuccessful candidates from the 2016 Mildura Rural City Council elections.

The 2016 elections were “pretty harrowing,” for Cr Healy, as she ran for both Federal Government and Local Government in the same year, seeing it as her “civic duty.”

“I saw it as my duty to run, particularly during the Federal election. I thought we, as a community, deserved better,” Cr Healy said. 

“We had been a very safe seat for a very long time, and I started to ask myself, how long has it been since the Prime Minister has been here? Or even the Leader of the Opposition?

“Standing for Council was the same thing. I felt that I had the skills, passion and values to make a contribution.

“If I was going to talk about it, I thought I should do something about it.”

Now with the ability to put those words into action, Cr Healy said she is determined to make Sunraysia live up to its motto as ‘the most liveable, people-friendly community in Australia.’ 

“We’re only as strong as our weakest link, so that means we have to look at all demographics making sure everyone is engaged and is contributing towards our future,” she said. 

“I know a lot of decisions are around planning and rates, but I really hope I’ll be able to make a contribution to the bigger picture.”

During the past two years, Cr Healy has undertaken, and almost completed, a two-and-a-half-year Masters Degree which she believes will hold her in good stead for her new role as a City Councillor. 

“I’ve been studying leadership styles, governance, policy and cultural sustainability, all through an arts and cultural lens,” she said. 

“I think I will be able to bring a lot of knowledge from that Masters, but also life experience and the values I hold.

“Whilst in India, which was where I was when I found out about the countback (result), I was doing a research project on cultural transformation through the arts.

“This meant I was working in Delhi, working with street children and homeless women who have lived with severe hardship, that have all been engaged with art projects which had transformed their lives significantly. 

“A lot of this knowledge I’ve gained over my study, and of course my experience in businesses and community development…will allow me to make a meaningful contribution to Council.”

This knowledge, experience and passion originates from Cr Healy’s life-long career and investment in crucial community roles.     

Growing up in Ouyen, Cr Healy is a former manager of the Ronald McDonald House in Sydney, a composer for residence for the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, before moving to Mildura 20 years ago to establish her events management company – ‘HHO Events.’

“We presented most of the arts events around Mildura,” Cr Healy said. “These included the former Mardi Gras, Perry Sandhills concerts, street festivals, jazz festivals and so on. 

“These roles have very much allowed me to have a detailed background in arts and event and community development within the Mildura community.”

When questioned about preferred portfolios, Cr Healy said that she would be happy to take over Ali Cupper’s now vacant gender equality portfolio, adding that she also sits on the local committee for gender equality. 

“I’m also very interested in the arts and events, but that will be worked out between councillors when the time comes,” she said. 

“I would also really like to thank all the people who supported me during the campaign in 2016, and whilst I didn’t get in then, it is such a privilege to now represent our community.”