Cr Mark Riley has been elected Mayor of Merri-bek City Council for 2021-22.
Cr Riley delivered his acceptance speech draped in the Rainbow flag, declaring that he was “proud to be standing here as the first out queer Mayor of Merri-bek.”
In his speech, Cr Riley said it was a great honour and responsibility to be elected Mayor.
“I’d like to serve the people of Merri-bek with passion, pride and integrity,” he said.
“There’s no doubt Merri-bek is a great place to live, work and play but we know there is also work to be done. I know this term of Councillors are up to the challenge and I look forward to working with each of you, and council staff and the community to make Merri-bek an even better city.”
Cr Riley said that Covid 19 is one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as a community, but with vaccination, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“As a council we’ll continue to provide frontline community support for those who need it as well as supporting the important vaccination efforts across Merri-bek so that the services we’re responsible for continue to be delivered and are strengthened.”
Cr Riley committed Council to continuing to lead on addressing the climate emergency, citing it as a critical priority.
“A warming planet is a risk for everything we hold dear here at Merri-bek; our environment, our health, our wellbeing and our vibrant local economy.
“We need to continue to work with the entire community to respond and adapt to climate change. And this includes working with our state and federal governments, putting in place policies for Australia to transition to zero carbon future,” said Cr Riley.
Cr Riley outlined how Council would work towards sets goals over the coming 12 months, as set out in the new four-year Council Plan.
He said the five themes - an environmentally proactive Merri-bek, moving and living safely in Merri-bek, a healthy and caring Merri-bek, vibrant spaces and places in Merri-bek and an empowered and collaborative Merri-bek – along with the Community Vision, developed by the community as part of the Imagine Merri-bek project, would guide Council.
Cr Riley is in his second term as a Merri-bek Councillor, after first being elected to Merri-bek Council in 2016.
Councillor Lambros Tapinos was elected Deputy Mayor for the next 12 months. Both Cr Riley and Cr Tapinos were elected unopposed.