New mayor focuses on COVID recovery and sustainability in the year ahead

 10 November 2021

Image of new Mayor Cr Stuart James and new Deputy Mayor Cr Tina Samardzija

Councillor Stuart James has been elected Mayor of Monash for the next 12 months and says COVID recovery, sustainability improvements, transport and improving services for young families are his focus in the year ahead.

Cr James, an Oakleigh Ward Councillor, was first elected to Council in 2016. He previously served as Mayor in 2019/20. He lives in Oakleigh with wife Donna and is a father to three daughters and a son.

Cr Tina Samardzija of the Mulgrave Ward, who was first elected to Council in 2020, will serve as Deputy Mayor.

Cr James said helping businesses and the Monash community to recover from the challenges of the last 18 months and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was a priority.

“I was Mayor of Monash when we first became aware of COVID-19 and I witnessed first-hand the terrible circumstances people faced but also resilience and kindness of the Monash community at that very difficult time,” Cr James said.

“In this past year, Monash has continued to weather many difficulties and for all of us there have challenges, fears but above all hope. We are now seeing a return to the things we love to do, to being with family and friends and to seeing our children enjoy returning to school, kindergarten and playgroups and being with their friends.

“As always, Council has been there to help with service delivery, online programs and services and support for our residents whether it be meals for vulnerable people in isolation, homeless outreach or checking in on our elderly residents. As we move forward, that support is there for whoever needs it.”

Transport improvements are also a key focus for Cr James, who is Council’s representative on Eastern Transport Coalition. He is looking forward to working with the community on a range of issues including:

  • continuing to advocate to the State Government for funding commitments to extend Westall Road to connect with the Monash Freeway
  • increasing permanent outdoor dining opportunities in the Oakleigh Activity Centre
  • working with the Suburban Rail Loop Authority to ensure the stations at Clayton and Glen Waverley create the best precincts around the stations for our community
  • improving services for young families and children.

“This year we consulted on our Council Vision, asking residents to tell us how they saw a future Monash in 2040. They told us they wanted Monash to be a community that gives more than it takes, that shares its surplus, thrives through its rich diversity and empowers its community to live healthy, connected lives,” Cr James said.

“Residents also want Monash to be innovative and sustainable but at its heart be a livable place, where we all belong.

“It’s a vision I believe in, and one that is shared by my fellow Councillors. In the year ahead, as we live with COVID and take back our lives, my focus and that of Council will be delivering on these commitments.”

Media Contact: Morsal Bashir 0400 399 363 or Morsal.Bashir@monash.vic.gov.au

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