By Mitchell Clarke
Ranges Ward councillor Jeff Springfield has been elected as mayor to represent Cardinia Shire Council for this council’s final term.
Backed six to three by fellow councillors, Cr Springfield beat Cr Carol Ryan for the top job on Monday 11 November.
Speaking to the Gazette, the first time mayor said he was “happy and humbled” to have the support of his councillors in his first term on council.
“There’s a huge sense of humbleness, pride, excitement and a little bit of relief,” he laughed.
“The build up to this has been like waiting for Christmas when you’re 10 days old, you know the day’s coming but you’ve still got a number of sleeps ahead of you.”
In addressing the council, Cr Springfield said it was an important year ahead with the current council’s four-year term coming to an end.
“We now only have 10 general meetings in front of us until a new council is elected, and I will strive to make every day that we have left count to the fullest,” he said.
The Emerald man described himself as a “bit of a high achiever” and had always hoped to run for mayor when the opportunity arose.
“I’ve always had a passion for the community and I’ve always had a passion for doing what’s right in governance,” he explained.
“I see this as a great opportunity to help drive the agenda for the future of how all the councillors would like to see this area.”
Joining council in 2016, Cr Springfield, a musician by trade who owns a recording studio in Belgrave, said he was passionate about the environment, declaring it a high priority of his.
“We have this beautiful environment between the Eastern Dandenong Ranges down through the growth corridor and all the way down to Westernport,” he said.
“We’ve also got some vulnerable animals like the bandicoot and little sugar gliders.
“I really want to ensure that in 50-100 years, even if the rest of the world is falling apart due to climate change and everything else, I want to try and protect our little pocket around here for the best amenity for our residents to enjoy.”
He’s also vowed to look into the way money is spent around the shire.
“It seems like we’ve got a big budget but that quickly gets taken up when we’re looking after 100,000 plus residents and trying to run this organisation,” he said.
“I want to investigate ways to be efficient in our spending and get the best outcomes from the dollars we spend, it comes back to delivering for our communities and the priorities they have.”
As one of three councillors covering Ranges Ward, Cr Springfield said he was looking forward to getting to know areas he wasn’t necessarily familiar with.
“You can expect to see me around getting to know the areas I’m not so familiar with, it’s such a large geographical place but I am now afforded the opportunity through this position to treat this as my full time job, and I’ll be there,” he said.
Likening council to a cargo ship, sometimes hard to steer and turn around quickly, he’s got a message for ratepayers.
“Trust in council again. Council’s across the state have bad reputation, it’s an easy thing to bash council and councillors but we have nine people who are dedicated to trying to deliver the best outcomes for their community,” he said.
“Please come along on this journey with us and let’s together make this one of the best places in the world to live.”