WOMEN will lead the way on Maroondah's new council after three new faces were elected in Saturday's election.
The city's new council is made up of four men and five women — two more women than on the previous council.
Joining existing female councillors Nora Lamont, Ann Fraser and Natalie Thomas will be Samantha Marks (Mullum ward) and Christina Gleeson — who ousted sitting councillor, and her cousin, Paul Macdonald to score a seat in Arrabri ward.
Speaking at the declaration of the polls yesterday morning, Ms Lamont — who has been a vocal proponent of getting more women on local government — was thrilled with the outcome.
"I think it's such a testament that there are so many women and I think that's fantastic," she said, adding that it was "great to be back" herself.
Ms Gleeson was the second victor of Arrabri's three seats, with 20.53 per cent of the first preference votes, just trailing incumbent Cr Thomas (20.93 per cent).
The third seat went to incumbent Tony Dib on preferences. Cr Dib had 15.63 per cent of the primary vote, while Cr Macdonald had 17.55 per cent.
Of her cousin's loss, Ms Gleeson said: "I can't believe I'm here and he's not. I suppose I've got to carry on the family tradition now."
She said she had always been community-minded but, as a single mother, she had lacked the time to commit herself to such a role. "I'm now at that point in my life where it's just me and my work and I feel it's time to give back to the community."
Ms Gleeson said she would "need to look at the planning and financials" before deciding what to focus on first in office.
Ms Marks said she was keen to start improving child, aged-care and disability services. "I have young children so I remember the difficulties I had."
She said she wanted to improve safety around schools also as her son had been struck by a car outside a school. She said she would call for more manned traffic lights and linked bike trails.
She was elected to the third seat in Mullum ward, taking the spot vacated by Alex Makin. On primary votes, Ms Lamont led the way with 18.43 per cent, followed by Ann Fraser with 14.45 per cent and Ms Marks with 7.79 per cent — meaning high preferences got her over the line.
In Wyreena ward, Rob Steane and Les Willmott were both easily re-elected. Newcomer Liam Fitzgerald took the seat vacated by Michael Macdonald.
Mr Fitzgerald did not attend yesterday's declaration due to a family emergency, but his grandfather Bill Wilkins — a former councillor, mayor and honorary freeman of the city — was present to acknowledge the win.
"We were all overwhelmed he was elected," Mr Wilkins said. "He is very thankful for the support he received from the cricket and football clubs and the people of Maroondah."
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