Desire for diversity drives Susie Hawke's City of Greater Bendigo council election bid

FAMILY-FOCUSED: Susie Hawke will contest Eppalock ward at the upcoming elections for the City of Greater Bendigo council.

FAMILY-FOCUSED: Susie Hawke will contest Eppalock ward at the upcoming elections for the City of Greater Bendigo council.

A DESIRE for more diverse representation on council and to put children on the agenda has prompted a Kennington woman to contest the council election.

Speech pathologist Susie Hawke said she did not believe her views a working mother were represented on the current council and as such, decided to have a tilt at representing Eppalock ward on the City of Greater Bendigo council when local government elections were held in October.

“There appear to be a number of retired people on our current council and I’m not sure they represent the same views on issues as me or other young working families,” Mrs Hawke said.

She said she would also like to see a better balance of genders on the council, with only three of the current nine councillors women.

Mrs Hawke said she had spent the majority of her career working in paediatrics and it was because of this background that she wanted to raise the profile of children and families, and ensure they were a priority for council were she to be successful in her election bid.

The early years of a child’s life had a profound impact on the rest of their lives, Mrs Hawke said, which was why she wanted to highlight their needs and those of families.

She said she would like to keep the council accountable on following through on the six priority areas outlined in the City of Greater Bendigo’s Municipal Early Years Plan, which focused on children from birth to eight years.

“Local government is more than the old triple ‘R’ – roads, rates and rubbish,” she said.

“It’s also more than information technology, housing and small business.

But Mrs Hawke said she was not running with the aim of achieving a specific goal and would “come to the table with fresh eyes” when faced with the range of issues council had to consider.

She said her professional background would put her in good stead for the rigours of being a councillor.

With more than 25 years’ experience working as a speech pathologist in health, education, the disability sector and government, Mrs Hawke said she had a range of experience.

Mrs Hawke said she had particular skills in networking, collaboration and partnerships.

She was also a good listener and listened carefully to what people had to say, she said.

Mrs Hawke said she was “just a typical Bendigo resident”, but she felt the council needed to include a broad range of people.

“Even if it doesn’t come off, at least I’ve had a go,” Mrs Hawke said.

She said it was great to see other residents who also wanted to make a difference in the community running for council.