Heading up a culturally diverse agricultural area

Griffith mayor Doug Curran.

This month Local Government Focus sits down with Griffith mayor Doug Curran.

LG: Tell us about your area: what makes your council special or different?

Mayor Curran: Griffith is such a diverse and multi-cultural community, with a thriving agricultural industry, amazing food, strong community bonds, cultural richness, natural beauty and unique history. Together, these elements contribute to making Griffith a special place for those who call it home. More than 70 nationalities add to our cultural tapestry including Italian, Indian, Afghani and Pacific Communities. There is plenty to love about the Griffith Local Government Area and we love to welcome visitors to see what we have to offer.

LG: Do you have a favourite part /aspect/attraction in the council area?

Mayor Curran: Life in Griffith centres around hard work, food, wine, sports, and family. The annual festivals are a great time to visit, showcasing our local produce, top-notch wines, friendly people, and diverse cultures. The entrepreneurial spirit is very strong in Griffith which leads to many job opportunities across many businesses and sectors.

LG: How long have you been on Council and why did you become involved in Local Government?

Mayor Curran: I have called Griffith home for 30 years this year and am in my 16th year as a Griffith City Councillor. I was popularly elected as Mayor in 2021. When I started on council I wanted to give back to the community. I looked for some alternatives and being a part of Council ticked a lot of boxes. Through 15 years of involvement in council, I became interested in leading this dynamic council which has been a huge honour and I hope to do it for a little longer yet.

LG: Do you have another job? Tell us about that and how it contributes to your role/views as a councillor. What activities do enjoy outside of work hours?

Mayor Curran: I am Operations Manager for a multi-national supply chain business based in Griffith, we supply many of the largest businesses in Griffith with our wide variety of products. Our day-to-day business is heavily reliant upon production as is the community in which I am the Mayor, so both aspects of the work I do require the water that we desperately need to ensure viability into the future.

LG: What are they key challenges facing you and your Council?

Mayor Curran: I’m dedicated to leading Griffith into the future, driving development and jobs growth, looking at ways to improve housing and liveability, and creating a safe and welcoming space for the community. As with most Councils, financial sustainability will continue to be a priority, a key focus will be on shaping strategies to increase utilisation of existing infrastructure as well as working on bringing new amenities.

LG: What innovative projects or policies is Council working on?

Mayor Curran: The Griffin Green Affordable Housing project represents a partnership between Griffith City Council and Argyle Housing. The ground-breaking collaboration addresses Griffith’s housing shortage by creating 20 medium-density affordable units and 42 build-ready housing lots. This is an exciting project that its garnering national interest and should make a considerable difference to Griffith.

LG: Tell us about a specific success you have had in Local Government.

Mayor Curran: Being a popularly elected Mayor of such a dynamic community is something I never imagined would happen. I have worked with two mayors during my time on Council, both gentlemen I respect greatly and never thought I would be able to do what they were doing, I try to make them and our community proud at all times as Mayor.

LG: What is the best part about being a Councillor?

Mayor Curran: I love the opportunity to be a part of the decision-making team for the future of Griffith. I get the opportunity to advocate for our community and to try and influence ministers of both State and Federal Government to get the best outcomes for our community. I thoroughly enjoy it and would encourage others to do likewise in our community.

LG: What is the worst part?

Mayor Curran: I think social media must be one of the worst parts, people will say something on social media they would never say to your face. I am fairly thick-skinned, but I have seen it really negatively affect some people and it gives power to people that don’t necessarily use it for good.

LG: What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

Mayor Curran: Financial sustainability for council while still helping Griffith grow will be a challenge. What’s also important to me is water security. We will work with the state and federal government to look at long- and medium-term actions around the restoring our rivers bill. Of course, housing availably will remain a major priority too.