I would like to congratulate the successful candidates recently elected to council.

I was unsuccessful in standing for council.

The results have shown the will of the people is in another direction to mine.

There was an obvious, overwhelming rejection of the dysfunction of the previous council.

Whatever the underlying rights and wrongs of the dysfunction in the old council and the underlying reason for former disgraced Minister Somyurek sacking council, the more progressive-reform-minded candidates have been rejected this time around.

I wish the new council all the best in tackling some very serious issues.

Notwithstanding my loss, I still firmly believe that council needs to work more closely with the community.

It needs to address its 10-year record of declining performance.

It needs to develop a strategy to reduce the very high level of rates which are 25 per cent above its comparable large rural shires.

It needs to address the 24 kilometres of unmade road with 1000 vehicles per day.

It needs to be a leader, not a laggard, in the transition to a low-carbon economy with its major opportunities as the PM has recently indicated.

It needs to restore local democracy by restoring question time and community presentations to council.

It needs to address improving its below-par planning performance.

The opportunity exists for the new council to embrace more participatory forms of democracy and planning in developing council’s 10-year vision and plan.

It would be very sad if council reverted to its in-house, behind closed doors decision-making of previous councils.

The new councillors and council will be judged in turn by their ability to take control of council policy and direction and their ability to address the declining satisfaction with its performance over ten years.

Time will tell, and the community will be the judge in three years’ time! I wish the new council the best in their endeavour to turn council around and address the obvious inadequacies.

Andrew McEwen, unsuccessful candidate for Strzelecki Ward, Meeniyan.