5 September 2023

Tout retains the mayoral chain while Parkins steps up as deputy following WWCC election

| Chris Roe
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man and woman standing outside

Mayor Dallas Tout and Amelia Parkins will be mayor and deputy mayor until the 2024 local government elections. Edited image: Region.

There’s been a leadership shuffle among Wagga councillors after last night’s election for the city’s mayor and deputy mayor.

Cr Dallas Tout was uncontested and has retained his position as mayor while Cr Jenny McKinnon opted to step aside and support Cr Amelia Parkins in taking over the role of deputy.

The pair will lead the Wagga City Council for 12 months before the next local government elections in 2024.

READ ALSO Meet your councillors: Amelia Parkins shares her vision

Cr Tout first stepped up as mayor in 2022 following the departure of Greg Conkey and said he was honoured to continue in the role.

“Thank you to the councillors for allowing me the honour to be able to do this for another 12 months. It’s something I do not take lightly,” said Cr Tout.

“All nine of us have similar passions to serve the community, so thank you for that.

“I’d like to also thank my family because, without that ongoing support from my family to allow me to do this stuff, I couldn’t do it, full stop.”

woman and man in winter clothes standing outside

Mayor Dallas Tout thanked outgoing deputy mayor Jenny McKinnon for her work over the last 12 months. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Cr Tout also paid tribute to outgoing deputy Jenny McKinnon, who supported Cr Parkins and allowed her to stand unopposed.

“I’d like to thank Cr McKinnon for the last 12 months as deputy mayor and working together in those two roles, and look forward to the next 12 months with Cr Parkins,” he said.

Cr Parkins was first elected to council in 2021 and has been instrumental in advocating for strategic planning documents.

As an architect specialising in heritage conservation, Cr Parkins has pushed for a housing plan for the city to “set out the vision for our city are distilled into documents used on a day-to-day basis by staff and the community”.

READ ALSO Wagga Councillor Dan Hayes to farewell his hometown for a ‘new adventure’

Ms Parkins ran on a Labor ticket led by Cr Dan Hayes, who announced last week that he will be moving to Wollongong and will step down before the conclusion of his second term.

He said that the seat would remain vacant for the remaining 12 months to avoid “a costly by-election” at ratepayers’ expense.

In other business on Monday, council endorsed placing the draft for the Tolland Concept Masterplan on public exhibition.

Cr Richard Foley said that, despite some early reservations about the long-awaited Tolland renewal, he hoped the council would represent those that might “fall through the cracks” as houses were compulsorily acquired.

“I hope we see some systems being put up here in the way these are being built and I hope that this doesn’t drag on as a project and I hope they get to the delivery stage quickly because it is very much needed, within the city, if not across the nation,” he said.

Cr Rod Kendall questioned what the council’s role in the project would be given that it was being coordinated by the State Government and Argyle Housing, and was told by director of regional activation John Sidgwick that both community and council would have a say.

“The master plan is ultimately owned by the Land and Housing Corporation,” Mr Sidgwick said.

“So the primary function of this consultation exercise is to enable the community to see that master plan and provide comment or feedback before it goes back to Land and Housing Corporation and to this council prior to any final decision, and you will have input to that process.”

Cr McKinnon praised the initiative but highlighted that the project included 55 dwellings of unspecified type and expressed concerns over the lack of clarity on the number of people that would ultimately be housed.

“I would like some more information, especially from the Land and Housing Corporation, for us to be able to see whether this is an actual increase in the provision of social and affordable housing in Wagga,” she said.

The Tolland Concept Masterplan will be on public exhibition for 42 days from 11 September to 24 October 2023. Public submissions are encouraged.

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