Bendigo council to have two female leaders

Bendigo council to have two female leaders for first time

Local News
Mayor Margaret O'Rourke (left) has been re-elected mayor, while councillor Jennifer Alden is now deputy mayor.

Mayor Margaret O'Rourke (left) has been re-elected mayor, while councillor Jennifer Alden is now deputy mayor.


Councillor Margaret O’Rourke re-elected mayor, Cr Jennifer Alden elected deputy mayor.


Bendigo council will have two female leaders for the first time.

Councillor Margaret O’Rourke was re-elected mayor on Monday and will become the first Bendigo councillor to have back-to-back mayoral terms in the one council term.

Councillor Jennifer Alden was elected deputy mayor, replacing former deputy and four-time mayor Rod Fyffe.

The role of deputy mayor was introduced to Bendigo council in 2016. 

Related: Mayor, deputy keen to run again

Cr O’Rourke said it had been a privilege to serve as mayor and she was honoured to again be chosen by her colleagues.

She said it was “fantastic” that two women were leading council, but stressed the council had a majority of female councillors and the role of deputy mayor was relatively new one.

“For me discussions about the outcomes for the airport are really important as is the revitalisation of the CBD,” she said.

Support from the Bendigo community to run for a second mayoral term had been “flattering”, Cr O’Rourke said. 

Councillors voted on their two new leaders at a private meeting on Monday.

“I believe my corporate experience with Telstra and liaising with various levels of government has been an advantage and will continue to be as we enter into an election year and need to advocate for our priority projects to the state government,” she said.

“It will be important to make representations to all political parties, so they are each aware of what council hopes to achieve.

“Work to attract an airline to Bendigo is ongoing and I have enjoyed fostering relationships with airline executives and selling the benefits of our beautiful region.”

Cr Alden said she was excited to be voted deputy mayor and would focus on delivering honest and authentic leadership, and improving the health and wellbeing of the community.

“I hope to take the wider community on the journey of managing change and growth across the municipality,” she said. 

“There is strength in diversity, so it is important that we continue to celebrate our differences and think creatively to ensure all members of our community are actively engaged in council business. I also want to continue to be a champion for local business, tourism, innovation, collaboration and environmental sustainability.

“When it comes to planning for our future, council can continue to build the trust of the community by delivering a responsible budget that revolves clearly round our community plan goals.

The pair will be officially sworn in at a meeting in November.

More to come.

The story Bendigo council to have two female leaders first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.