Advocating for youth mental health services and protecting the liveability of Monash’s neighbourhoods are two priorities of Monash’s incoming Mayor Rebecca Paterson (pictured above with family).
Cr Paterson, who has served as a Mount Waverley Ward Councillor since 2013, was elected Mayor for the next 12 months at a Council meeting last night. Cr Stuart James, a first-time Councillor elected in Oakleigh Ward at last month’s Council elections, was elected Deputy Mayor.
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A 36-year-old mum of three, Cr Paterson said she was honoured to lead the community she loves.
"I promise to be a Mayor who is very accessible to the community and who is out and about, meeting people and hearing their views about how we can all work together to improve Monash," Cr Paterson said.
"I have been known to visit people in their homes and have a cuppa with them, something which I hope to continue as Mayor."
Cr Paterson said she would be a strong voice on the issues of youth mental health, gender equity and the prevention of violence against women and children.
"Many of our young people are grappling with anxiety, depression and self-harm,” Cr Paterson said. “They need easy access to early intervention services, like those provided by headspace, the national youth mental health foundation. I will lead our advocacy efforts to secure Federal Government funding for a headspace hub in Monash."
As a previous member of Council’s Gender Equity Advisory Committee, Cr Paterson said she was passionate about working with the committee and Council to achieve gender equity in the community.
"Women and girls deserve to have an equal say in the future of our community. I want to work with women and men in our community to dismantle any barriers to female participation," Cr Paterson said.
"An extreme outcome of gender inequality is men’s violence against women and children, and that is something abhorrent which we need to completely stamp out."
Cr Paterson said she was also passionate about protecting and improving Monash’s liveability, which many residents feel is under threat from population growth and development.
"We are seeing many houses being built boundary to boundary, blocking out neighbours’ sunlight, and with no greenery to be seen,"Cr Paterson said.
"Council currently has no say over the regulations around McMansions, as the regulations are set by the State Government."
“I would like to see our Council advocate to the State Government for changes to the regulations for single dwellings. People building new homes should have to be respectful of their neighbours and of the existing character of the area they are building in."
“We are also awaiting feedback from the independent planning panel that is reviewing our proposed changes to Monash’s residential zones. We are looking forward to introducing changes which protect Monash’s ‘garden city’ character."
Cr Paterson said Council would be bolstering its after-hours service to deal with construction issues in local streets, so Council staff can be on the spot to respond to issues such as construction noise before 9am on a Saturday and damage to footpaths and other community assets.
"If Melbourne’s population – and by extension Monash’s population – is going to continue to grow, we need to make sure we’re taking steps to protect the liveability and amenity of our neighbourhoods," Cr Paterson said.
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