Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

End of full-on ride for mayor

Geoff Dobson looks back at a busy three years as City of Greater Shepparton mayor.

FIONA BROOM December 20, 2011 4:27am

Geoff Dobson says his three years as City of Greater Shepparton mayor have ‘‘gone quick’’.


Outgoing City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Geoff Dobson spots some children in the council foyer and says jokingly, ‘‘Hello, here’s some future ratepayers.’’

His three years as mayor might have come to an end at 6am today, but he hasn’t stopped thinking about the future of the municipality.

It has been a busy three years for Cr Dobson, who was thrown into the mayoral role in December 2008 just weeks after first being elected a councillor.

‘‘It has gone quick,’’ he said while seated in his office at Greater Shepparton City Council’s chambers yesterday.

‘‘I can remember the first photos taken of me in December 2008. As it turned out, that probably set the scene for bringing council out into the public a bit more.’’

Cr Dobson said he was proud the council had been ‘‘brought to the table’’ in discussions with industries, governments, businesses and community groups.

For example, he said when SPC Ardmona decided to close its Mooroopna plant, the council was told beforehand ‘‘as a matter of common courtesy’’, enabling it to access and centralise services to help those affected.

‘‘That’s not rates, rubbish and roads, that’s what you do as a community leader,’’ he said.

‘‘Everyone says the lake is fantastic, and it is ... but it’s the unsung things rather than the big ticket items that get to you.

‘‘It’s (being mayor) a real privilege and one that’s not going to be easy to leave.’’

His passions in the past three years included developing local education opportunities and working with migrant and Aboriginal communities.

Cr Dobson has rubbed shoulders with Australia’s most senior politicians — his tie yesterday was from last year’s Prime Minister’s XI cricket match.

But going to a community barbecue is something he says he takes more pride in.

He said the region faced several challenges, including environmental concerns in the Murray-Darling Basin and security for traders.

‘‘Next year is going to be interesting with council elections,’’ he said.

‘‘Shepparton has got a lot of thinking to do about the mix of candidates we should have as a community. I’m hoping people who have been vocal for or against council for the past three years do something about it.’’

The opportunity to become mayor was an unexpected challenge, but one Cr Dobson relished.

‘‘Not many mayors do that (serve for three years). I suppose you get one chance at something like this, but I was given the privilege and I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this it should be full on.’

‘‘It will be a big shock (no longer being mayor).

‘‘Handling the transition period is going to be an interesting experience.’’

Cr Dobson plans to spend time with his family — including his ‘‘extraordinary’’ wife Prue — in the next few weeks and work out which path to travel now.

‘‘I’m going to spend time with my grandkids, and my son is getting married.

‘‘I might even have to buy a pup.’’

See Geoff Dobson's last message to the community as mayor in the video on the right of the page.

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