Council and Elections

For assistance with local issues contact the Mayor or your local Councillor; view list of committees; access key registers and policies and election process.

Mayor and Councillors

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Councillors are your local elected representatives, they advocate on behalf of residents and work to assist them. Councillors are responsible for managing the City's assets, provide a wide range of services and facilities and ensure finances are allocated in the best interests of the whole community.

 

Cazaly Ward

Councillor Vince Fontana

Cr Vince Fontana (Mayor)
Phone: (03) 9484 6254
Fax: (03) 9261 4852
Email: Mayor@darebin.vic.gov.au

Terms as Councillor: 1998-2002, 2002-2004, 2004-2008, 2008-2012, 2012-2016.
Terms as Mayor: 2002-2003, 2009-2010, 2015-2016

Committee memberships: Planning Committee (Mayor) (Chairperson), Hearing of Submissions Committee (Mayor) (Chairperson), Audit Committee (Mayor) (Chairperson), Darebin Australia Day Committee (Mayor) (Chairperson), Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee (Mayor) (Chairperson), Northland Structure Plan Steering Committee (Co-Chairperson), Municipal Association of Victoria, North West 4, Metropolitan Transport Forum, Darebin Creek Management Committee Inc., Merri Creek Management Committee Inc., East Reservoir Neighbourhood Renewal Steering Committee.

About Cr Fontana: I was a local secondary school teacher and also previously worked as a trader on High Street for 13 years. I’ve lived in Darebin all my adult life and raised my family here. I’ve also been active with local sports clubs, coaching teams.

What do you love most about living in Darebin?
Darebin has great transport, parks, sports clubs, shopping and people. It’s a tolerant, diverse community and a great place to raise a family.

What motivated you to seek a position on Council?
I wanted to be a voice for the community, delivering a high standard of service to residents – and to find solutions to problems, not excuses.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for Darebin?
Maintaining a vision of great service to all our residents and helping people who are disadvantaged so they don’t miss out.

What do you see as the biggest challenges Darebin faces?
High property prices, transport issues, addressing the issues of development and meeting the increasing needs of our growing population.

What are the top three local issues you’re most passionate about?
Grade separation at the main rail junctions, making sure everyone has access to services, making sure residents are treated well.

Councillor Bo Li

Cr Bo Li
Mobile: 0419 750 192
Email: Bo-Li@cr.darebin.org

Term as Councillor: 2012-2016

Committee memberships: Planning Committee, Hearing of Submissions Committee, Audit Committee, Darebin Bicycle Advisory Committee, Darebin Education Committee, Northland Structure Plan Steering Committee (Co-Chairperson), Preston Business Advisory Committee (Proxy), Sexuality, Sex and Gender Diversity Advisory Committee (Chairperson), Victorian Local Governance Association (Proxy).

About Cr Li: Bo has extensive experience in the health sector, as an occupational therapist, project manager and as a policy analyst and advisor. He has contributed extensively to the development of national policies in community health, mental health, primary health and public health in the past ten years. He has a firm belief that councils play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of residents through provision of key community and social services, as well as well-designed community infrastructure and built environment. Bo is married with two young children and an active volunteer in the community.

What do you love most about living in Darebin?
Darebin is a diverse and cohesive community with friendly people. We have fantastic schools, parklands, recreational facilities and great eateries. Darebin is also undergoing rapid transformation while maintaining its historical character. What’s not to love about Darebin?

What motivated you to seek a position on Council?
To make the place an even better place for future generations. As someone famously said once “we don’t own the future, we merely borrow it from our children”. We need to look after Darebin to ensure we can leave behind (and live in) a great environment for all.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for Darebin?
We need to make Darebin liveable for all. That means we need more local employment, educational and recreational facilities and opportunities. While council cannot deliver on all these on its own, we can collaborate and form partnerships with a range of stakeholders to make these happen.

What do you see as the biggest challenges Darebin faces?
There are still pockets of social disadvantage in Darebin. We must address these disadvantages by actively supporting local residents and giving everyone a “fair go”. We also need to lobby both State and Federal governments to ensure Darebin gets is fair share of funding opportunities.

What are the top three local issues you’re most passionate about?
I am a passionate about appropriate development that protects residential amenities, removal of level crossing at Bell Street and re-opening of the former Preston Girls Secondary College site as a local high school.

Councillor Julie Williams

Cr Julie Williams
Mobile: 0419 750 152
Email: Julie-Williams@cr.darebin.org

Term as Councillor: 2012-2016

Committee memberships: Northland Structure Plan Steering Committee (Co-Chairperson), Darebin Women’s Advisory Committee (Chairperson), Active and Healthy Ageing Community Advisory Board (Chairperson), Preston Business Advisory Committee (Chairperson), Darebin Child Friendly City Advisory Committee (Chairperson), Darebin Disability Advisory Committee (chairperson), Hearing of Submissions Committee, Planning Committee, Australian Local Government Women’s Association, Melbourne Innovation Centre (Board Member), Councillor Portfolio for the Status of Women and Preventing Violence Against Women.

About Cr Williams: I’ve lived, played and worked in Darebin nearly all my life and am now raising my family in Darebin. I’m currently active with my children in local sports clubs, and I enjoy volunteering at local school events and helping children with special needs in the classroom.

My background includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, and over 10 years working for large corporate companies such as Hewlett Packard Singapore.

I enjoy helping others and spend more time these days focusing more on the mental and physical wellbeing of a person. I’m fully aware of the struggles a family endures when faced with a young child that has a disability, and also caring for elderly parents.

What do you love most about living in Darebin?
The Darebin community is so culturally diverse with an abundance of food, schools, sporting clubs and innovative businesses, wonderful open spaces and a variety of buses, trams and trains that can easily get you to many of Darebin’s activity centres. The Preston market is a great reflection of what makes Darebin - it is so culturally diverse in people and food and that’s what makes this community so wonderful and livable.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for Darebin?
It’s important that everyday ratepayers have a voice. It is equally important that someone be the voice for our animals, children, those with disabilities, and older citizens. We need to look further into the future and continue to plant more trees, add more benches and more infrastructure for our growing population. I enjoy contributing and being part of the budget process and very much enjoy how local councils can make changes, but it is also important that Council lobbies and advocates to the State and Federal governments to gain funding to push for new infrastructure projects like grade separation, children’s community hubs and crèches. It’s important that these projects continue to get built so that Darebin ensures this community receives the opportunities and amenities it deserves.

What do you see as the biggest challenges Darebin faces?
With our growing population, within the next 15 years 25 percent of our population will be over the age of 65. I want to ensure Darebin continually invests in areas such as sitting benches, trees, feeling safe walking the streets and building appropriate development so that our next generation will be not be discriminated against but accommodated for.

What motivated you to seek a position on Council?
I was motivated to stand for council because I wanted to ensure Darebin builds appropriate development for those living in and around it, to protect sensitive interfaces, parking, and to protect local amenities. After winning two VCAT hearings prior to coming onto council, I wanted to strongly focus on the community and the following issues: new planning guidelines; making all recreational facilities all abilities and allowing all children regardless of disability so that no child is ever left behind; additional services for Darebin so that the community may benefit.

 

Rucker Ward

Councillor Trent McCarthy

Cr Trent McCarthy
Mob: 0419 750 604
Fax: (03) 9261 4876
Email: Trent-McCarthy@cr.darebin.org

Terms as Councillor: 2008-2012, 2012-2016

Committee memberships: Planning Committee, Hearing of Submissions Committee, Darebin Arts Ambassadors, Darebin Bicycle Advisory Committee (Proxy), Darebin Child Friendly City, Darebin Environmental Reference Group, Sexuality, Sex and Gender Diversity Advisory Committee (Proxy), Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Darebin Creek Management Committee Inc., Merri Creek Management Committee Inc.

Councillor Steven Tsitas

Cr Steven Tsitas

Ph: (03) 9489 8062
Fax: (03) 9261 4878
Email: steven-tsitas@cr.darebin.org

Terms as Councillor: 1996-1997, 1998-2002, 2004-2008, 2008-2012, 2012-2016
Terms as Mayor: 2011-2012, 2014-2015

Committee memberships: Planning Committee, Hearing of Submissions Committee, Darebin Environmental Reference Group (Proxy).

What do you love most about living in Darebin?
I have very much enjoyed my time on council representing our wonderful and diverse community for over sixteen years.
Having served five terms as a Councillor and the honour and privilege of serving two terms as Mayor, I have assisted in the development and growth of our City into a vibrant and attractive place in which to live.

What motivated you to seek a position on Council?
My interests on Council have ranged from planning, early childhood development, environmental sustainability and financial sustainability, which above all else is what enables and drives our ability to deliver the breadth of services to our community.

What are the top three local issues you’re most passionate about?
I am proud of three key developments in line with my interests and having worked with my fellow councillors to deliver, first, the $5 million Keon Park Children’s Community Hub, second, Darebin’s multi award winning Solar Savers initiative, which enables pensioners to purchase subsidised solar panels with a deferred payback scheme of ten years via their rate notices, interest free, and finally, zero debt. Our financial position is the envy of the Local Government sector.

Councillor Oliver Walsh

Cr Oliver Walsh
Mobile: 0467 781 846
Email: Oliver-Walsh@cr.darebin.org

Term as Councillor: 2012-2016

Committee memberships: Planning Committee, Hearing of Submissions Committee, Audit Committee, Darebin Disability Advisory Committee, Darebin Youth Advisory Group (Proxy), Local Governments Waste Management Forum, Inner Northern Group Training Ltd (Full Director), Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network Inc., Metropolitan Transport Forum (Proxy), East Reservoir Neighbourhood Renewal Steering Committee (Proxy).

 

 

Latrobe Ward

Councillor Gaetano Greco

Cr Gaetano Greco
Mob: 0419 750 214
Fax: (03) 9261 4851
Email: Gaetano-Greco@cr.darebin.org

Terms as Councillor: 2008-2012, 2012-2016.
Terms as Mayor: 2013-2014

Committee memberships: Planning Committee, Hearing of Submissions Committee, Bundoora Homestead Board of Management, Active and Healthy Ageing Community Advisory Board, Darebin Disability Advisory Committee, Darebin Education Committee (Proxy), Darebin Housing Committee (Proxy), Darebin Interfaith Council, Edwardes Lake Park Reference Group, Reservoir Structure Plan Community Reference Group (Co-Chairperson), Victorian Local Governance Association, Inner Northern Group Training Ltd (Alternative Director), Friends of Baucau.

Councillor Tim Laurence

Cr Tim Laurence
Mobile: 0419 750 234
Email: Tim-Laurence@cr.darebin.org

Terms as Councillor: 1996-1997, 1998-2002, 2008-2012, 2012-2016.
Terms as Mayor: 2000-2001, 2012-2013

Committee memberships: Planning Committee, Hearing of Submissions Committee, Bundoora Homestead Board of Management, Darebin Housing Committee, Darebin Interfaith Council (Proxy), Edwardes Lake Park Reference Group, Reservoir Structure Plan Community Reference Group (Co-Chairperson), Municipal Association of Victoria (Proxy), Darebin Ethnic Communities Council.

What do you love most about living in Darebin?
My wife and I raised our two children here and there's no other place that can match the vibrancy of this easy-going and culturally diverse community.

Darebin can't be matched for our harmonious community. People are quick to say hello and chat on walking paths and are open and frank in public meetings. We're also a multilingual lot - in extended families conversations often slip between English and other languages.

With food we're also spoilt for choice with Preston market, green grocers, delicatessens, restaurants, cafes and factory outlets that give us easy access to a wide range of food from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. And our large urban parks and creek valleys give us great open spaces for walking and to take a break from all the talking and eating!

What motivated you to seek a position on Council?
I was motivated to stand for council because I saw parts of our community and a large section of our city were being ignored and I thought I could make a difference.
I still think we must work harder to ensure:

  • a fair go for all,
  • equal access to council services for all our residents, and
  • an equal allocation of ratepayers funding for all suburbs in our City.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for Darebin?
We have huge opportunity to rebuild and restore Darebin's environment, community facilities and services for locals to enjoy.

We have a largely debt-free council and a growing rate base from the rezoning. We need to stand up to outside interests and ensure that 100% of our rates and 100% future development levies go to the things that locals residents need.Our community is better educated and more united than ever before. Our voice is finally being heard on things like the railway level crossings - we can now also say NO to the big companies and large government departments that short changed our area in the past. We're well placed to ensure local residents come first - and that the top 1% do not hold back the 99%.

What do you see as the biggest challenges Darebin faces?
Darebin was home to leather industries, tram building and metal manufacturing shops for over 100 years. Our community contributed to the state's gross product at twice the level of the richer leafy suburbs.
In return for this effort our area was often short changed:

  • our local creeks and Edwardes Park lake were left polluted,
  • our roads and streetscapes were left worn out and barren,
  • local public housing and public schools were underfunded and not maintained.

Our hardworking community did the right thing but we were ignored for decades by conservative governments in Spring Street and Canberra.The biggest challenge we face is to restore our City to what it should have been from the start - the best place to live in Melbourne - we need better roads, replanted parks, affordable housing, greener streetscapes, renewed sports facilities and first class community centres and services.

What are the top three local issues you’re most passionate about?
I am passionate about restoring community pride and renewing and restoring our city by:

  • Improving our open space and community centres: new trees, better paths, more BBQs, tables and benches and decent sports facilities and first rate childcare centres and community facilities
  • Maintaining and improving council services: eg efficient annual hard waste collection, best-practice garbage and recycling services and our first rate services for our older residents
  • Increasing council funding for safer local roads, bike paths and footpaths and lobbying for better state and federal investment in our main roads, railway stations, level crossing removals and tram lines to meet needs of our growing population.
Councillor Angela Villella

Cr Angela Villella
Mobile: 0419 764 245
Email: Angela-Villella@cr.darebin.org

Term as Councillor: 2012-2016

Committee memberships: Planning Committee, Hearing of Submissions Committee, Bundoora Homestead Board of Management, Darebin Arts Ambassadors, Darebin Women's Advisory Committee (Proxy), Darebin Youth Advisory Group, Edwardes Lake Park Reference Group, Reservoir Structure Plan Community Reference Group (Co-Chairperson), North West 4, Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd, Darebin Ethnic Communities Council.

 

Wards

The City of Darebin is subdivided into three wards; Rucker, Cazaly and Latrobe, each Ward is represented by three Councillors.

Mayor and Council Elections

Council elections are held every four years, the next election will be held on 22 October 2016.

The Mayor is elected each year at a Special Council Meeting.

Council Committees

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Council has established a number of Standing Committees and Community Advisory Committees to facilitate efficient and effective decision making processes.
Standing Committees
Standing Committees are formal committees that either make decisions on behalf of the Council, manage a service or facility on behalf of Council or advise and recommend to Council on specific functions or responsibilities.

Depending on their role and the need for delegated powers, Standing Committees can either be Special Committees or Advisory Committees.

Council has established the following Standing Committees for the 2015/2016 Council year.

STANDING COMMITTEES
 COMMITTEE MEMBERS
 Planning Committee  All Councillors, Cr. Vince Fontana (Mayor) (Chairperson)
 Hearing of Submissions Committee  All Councillors, Cr. Vince Fontana  (Mayor) (Chairperson)
 Audit Committee  Cr. Vince Fontana  (Mayor), Cr. Oliver Walsh, 
 Mr Terry Richards, Dr Bruce Carroll, Mr Michael Said (Independent Chairperson)
 Bundoora Homestead Board of Management  Cr. Tim Laurence, Cr. Gaetano Greco, Cr. Angela Villella,
Ms Tahila Azaria, Mr Craig Barrie, Ms Cathy Dodson, Mr Tim Fisher, Director Culture Leisure and Works

Community Advisory Committees
Council has established a number of Community Advisory Committees to facilitate community participation and input into policy and service development, or to assist with facility, project and event management.

Community Advisory Committees typically are made up of Councillors, Council Officers and a number of community representatives. The community representatives may be local residents appointed in their own right, or representatives of service authorities, support agencies or community organisations.

Council has established and appointed Councillor members to the following Community Advisory Committees for the 2015/2016 Council year.

COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEES
 COMMITTEE
 MEMBERS
 Active and Healthy Ageing Community Advisory Board  Cr. Julie Williams (Chair), Cr. Gaetano Greco (proxy)
 Darebin Arts Ambassadors  Cr. Trent McCarthy (Chair), Cr. Angela Villella (proxy)
 Darebin Australia Day Committee  Cr. Vince Fontana (Mayor) (Chair)
 Darebin Bicycle Advisory Committee  Cr. Bo Li (Chair), Cr. Trent McCarthy (proxy)
 Darebin Child Friendly City
 Cr. Julie Williams (Chair), Cr. Trent McCarthy (proxy)
 Darebin Disability Advisory Committee  Cr. Julie Williams (Chair), Cr. Gaetano Greco (proxy), Cr. Oliver Walsh (proxy)
 Darebin Education Committee  Cr. Bo Li (Chair), Cr. Gaetano Greco (proxy)
 Darebin Environmental Reference Group  Cr. Trent McCarthy (Chair), Cr. Steven Tsitas (proxy)
 Darebin Housing Committee  Cr. Tim Laurence (Chair), Cr. Gaetano Greco (proxy)
 Darebin Interfaith Council  Cr. Gaetano Greco (Chair),  Cr. Tim Laurence (proxy)
 Darebin Women's Advisory Committee  Cr. Julie Williams (Chair), Cr. Angela Villella (proxy)
 Darebin Youth Advisory Group  Cr. Angela Villella (Chair), Cr. Oliver Walsh (proxy)
 Edwardes Lake Park Reference Group  Cr. Tim Laurence, Cr. Gaetano Greco, Cr. Angela Villella
 Municipal Emergency Management Planning  Committee  Cr. Vince Fontana (Mayor) (Chair)
 Northland Structure Plan Steering Committee  Cr. Julie Williams (Co-Chair), Cr. Vince Fontana (Co-Chair), Cr. Bo Li (Co-Chair)
 Preston Business Advisory Committee  Cr. Julie Williams (Chair), Cr. Bo Li (proxy)
 Reservoir Structure Plan Community Reference Group  Cr. Tim Laurence (Co-Chair), Cr. Gaetano Greco (Co-Chair), Cr. Angela Villella (Co-Chair)
 Sexuality, Sex and Gender Diversity Advisory Committee  Cr. Bo Li (Chair), Cr. Trent McCarthy (proxy)
 

Council Representatives

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Council is represented on a number of state-wide, metropolitan, regional and Darebin Organisations. Council has appointed representatives to the following community organisations for the 2015/2016 Council year.

STATEWIDE, METROPOLITAN AND REGIONAL ORGANISATIONS
 ORGANISATION COUNCILLOR(S)
 Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)  Cr. Vince Fontana (Mayor), Cr. Tim Laurence (proxy)
 Victorian Local Governance Association  Cr. Gaetano Greco, Cr. Bo Li (proxy)
 Local Governments Waste Management Forum  Cr. Oliver Walsh
 Inner Northern Group Training Ltd.  Cr. Oliver Walsh (Full Director), Cr. Gaetano Greco (Alternative Director)
 Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment
 Network Inc.
 Cr. Oliver Walsh
 North West 4  Cr. Vince Fontana (Mayor), Cr. Angela Villella 
 Friends of Baucau  Cr. Gaetano Greco
 Metropolitan Transport Forum  Cr. Vince Fontana (Mayor), Cr. Oliver Walsh (proxy)
 Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA)  Cr. Trent McCarthy

DAREBIN BASED ORGANISATIONS
 ORGANISATION  COUNCILLOR(S)
 Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd (DECL)  Cr. Julie Williams, Cr. Angela Villella
 Darebin Ethnic Communities Council (DECC)  Cr. Tim Laurence, Cr. Angela Villella
 Darebin Creek Management Committee Inc.  Cr. Vince Fontana, Cr. Trent McCarthy (proxy)
 Merri Creek Management Committee Inc.  Cr. Vince Fontana, Cr. Trent McCarthy (proxy)
 East Reservoir Neighbourhood Renewal Steering Committee  Cr. Vince Fontana, Cr. Oliver Walsh (proxy)

Transparent Governance

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Council is committed to making information available that explains how we operate and how we make our decisions in accordance with the 6 principles of our Good Governance Charter: Transparency; Accountability; Equity and Inclusion; Effectiveness and Efficiency; Community Engagement; and Ethical Decision Making.

In this section you’ll find a range of documents that outline processes and procedures relating to various aspects of Council business.

Councillors

Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (formerly Whistleblowers Protection Act)

Freedom of Information (FOI)

Registers and Schedules 

Elections

Local Laws 

Planning and Building

Elections

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The City of Darebin is subdivided into three wards each represented by three Councillors. Council elections are held every 4 years across Victoria.
2016 Elections

Victorian Councils will hold elections on Saturday, 22 October 2016.

Darebin Council will be conducting their elections via Postal voting.

Enrolment

To vote at the Local Government Elections 2016 you need to be correctly enrolled by 4.00 pm Friday, 26 August 2016.

You need to enrol if:

  • You are an Australian citizen aged 18 or over on Saturday, 22 October 2016; and
  • You are not on the State electoral roll;
  • Or you have moved to a new residential address and have not updated your enrolment details, including changes to your postal address.

How do you Enrol?

Download a form from the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) website or pick up a form from any post office, Centrelink, Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) office, Coles supermarket or Council Office and return the completed form to the VEC by 4.00pm on Friday, 26 August 2016. 

For further information please contact the VEC on 13 18 32.

Change to Enrolment Details

Where a person changes their principal place of residence, they need to obtain an Electoral Enrolment Card from any Post Office. The card will need to be completed with the new residential details and returned to the Australian Electoral Commission. The Commission will record the changes, which will then be reflected in Commonwealth, State and Council Voter's Rolls. 

For further information please contact the VEC on 13 18 32.

Prospective Candidates

If you would like to nominate as a candidate in the forthcoming Council elections, nominations for the 2016 Council elections will open Thursday, 15 September and close 12 noon, Tuesday 20 September 2016.

Potential Council Election Candidates are encouraged to attend a Candidate Information Session on Wednesday, 13 July 2016 at Darebin Council Chambers, Darebin Civic Centre, 350 High Street, Preston to learn more about what is expected of a local government Councillor.

This session is being conducted by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and will be a great opportunity for community-minded citizens to learn about local government in Victoria, Councillor responsibilities and functions and the election process.

The VEC will also be conducting a Candidate Information Session on Tuesday, 13 September 2016 at Darebin Council Chambers, Darebin Civic Centre, 350 High Street, Preston.

Wards

The City of Darebin is subdivided into three wards each represented by three Councillors.

Further Information

Victorian Electoral Commision

Ph: 13 18 32
Website: www.vec.vic.gov.au