Councillor profiles - Mayor Lucinda Congreve Brimbank City Council
Brimbank is one of the largest municipalities, population wise, in Victoria. We are also one of the most diverse with almost half our residents born overseas and more than 165 languages spoken. Our diversity makes us strong. This is truly the backbone of Brimbank.
Brimbank, 12km from Melbourne city centre, is truly an amazing place that in my opinion is seriously underrated. We have some wonderful history including the HV McKay labour movement, the little Black Powder Mill and we are the home to one of the most historically significant pieces of indigenous culture, the Keilor skull dating back upwards of 30,000 years.
Lucky first time
I am currently in my first term having been elected in November 2016. There’s a very funny story behind this. I didn’t ever expect to get elected and by chance had planned to get married on the day councillors were supposed to be sworn in. As luck would have it I did get elected so got married in the morning and was sworn in that night. Not the most romantic wedding night I can assure you!
I became involved in local government when I had my first child and experienced Council’s Maternal Child Health program, which was excellent in most aspects, but lacked lactation support for mothers. I campaigned to change this gap.
My background is accounting and I have been working as a senior manager in the financial services industry for many years in a variety of roles ranging from project management to GM positions.
My professional role, particularly the financial services background, has helped in understanding the financials of Council. However, moving from the private sector into the public has also been a huge learning curve and the pace and bureaucracy are a source of frustration for me.
I have two young children – Alice, three years, and William, 18 months. They certainly take up most (all) of my time outside of work hours.
Jobs, transport and fairness
Brimbank is a strong and vibrant community – we are welcoming, diverse and we are proud. As with any culturally and economic diverse community, we also face challenges.
The Western Rail Strategy includes major improvements to the rail network that transects Brimbank including building the Melbourne Airport Rail Link. Together with the Sunshine Super Hub these are transformational projects with potential to deliver enormous economic, jobs, educational and social benefits to Brimbank and the West.
We’re working hard to lead and advocate for government partnership and investment to replace the ageing St Albans Leisure Centre with a new Health and Wellbeing Hub.
We’re focusing on local investment in sporting facilities to support girls and women to play sport and to provide young people with
opportunities to be active.
We’re investing in education so that our people can access quality learning opportunities at all life stages.
We continue to power ahead on projects that achieve a fair and equitable result for our community.
Improving customer experience
We have an exciting range of ‘Community First’ business improvement projects underway - the Smart Cities Project, Brimbank Live Chat, Parking Overstay Detection System (PODS), Sydenham Youth Project Transformation Through Innovation, and Transforming NEXT20 Customers Transactions.
When I campaigned to become a councillor I had five specific aims for my local community. Implementation of a lactation consultant, reinstatement of the local snake catching service, advocacy surrounding an expansion of the car parking at the train station and three level crossing removals, preventing the scale of the proposed local tip expansion. I’m proud to have achieved all of these things for my local community and more.
Securing the future
As a councillor you have the ability to directly fix peoples’ issues and impact on their lives. This is the only tier of government where elected officials see the impact of what they do so quickly.
Coming from the private sector I am used to working much faster than the pace of local government. I’m not going to lie; the red tape and bureaucracy of government drives me crazy. I do however understand why the red tape is there.
I have some key advocacy items that I am very keen to progress including our new swimming pool and associated Health and Wellbeing Hub. I’m also working on some other more innovative projects around alternative funding streams to ensure Council can continue to support the community in terms of infrastructure whilst operating in a rate capped environment.