Shire of Mundaring president quits over council red tape

Helen Dullard with her husband Ron who also served as a shire councillor for many years.  Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au   d443838
Helen Dullard with her husband Ron who also served as a shire councillor for many years. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d443838

EVER increasing layers of State-imposed bureaucracy is the underlying reason behind a council leader⿿s decision to quit local government ahead of next month⿿s elections.

Shire of Mundaring President Helen Dullard said the time was right to leave and she would not re-stand for council.

“Society and State Government impose layer upon layer of bureaucracy, I think we as a society have become quite risk adverse,” she said.

“I miss the freedom (in council) to operate and work as I would like with colleagues, council staff and the community.

“To be able to seize opportunities and respond to community initiatives, that’s where I get my most enjoyment.”

Cr Dullard, of Swan View, has held the position of president for the past eight years.

Her community involvement spans more than 35 years; 15 years as a West Ward councillor and 28 years as chief executive of the Hills Community Support Group, renamed Rise in 2012.

Under her helm, she said the group grew from a humble charity without government funding to a not-for-profit network with a $20 million budget.

She said bringing a greater awareness of the contribution made by more than 100 local community groups was among her greatest achievements while in council.

Her return to philanthropic work will begin in about five weeks with her working as a volunteer with disadvantaged children for The Smith Family charity.

She said the Premier’s decision not to go ahead with council reform had been a good outcome for the shire.

“It was a very challenging time for everyone and it went on for four years…the reform pro-cess could have been handled better.”

Cr Dullard said another enduring memory of her council career was seeing the community unite after the devastating Parkerville bushfires last year.

“I was so impressed with the way the staff, councillors and the community came together, bridges were built, and people developed a sense of place in the community that will never leave us.

“The fires left the community stronger and aware of what could be achieved by working together.”

She said other career highlights included progressing significant works, including the Sculpture Park children’s playground, the Mundaring Recreation Centre and the Boya hub and library.

She said her decision to leave council became easier when she found a suitable successor in Tony Brennan.

Mr Brennan (42) of Swan View will be appointed unopposed as the newest representative for the West Ward.

The former banker and finance lawyer said he had considerable experience in shire governance and community initiatives, having also worked in the not-for-profit sector.

The law professor and father-of-three is chairman of Australia’s first fully integrated cancer centre in Cottesloe and chief executive/chairman of a healthcare education group.