Hanger holds on to city’s top job, elected unopposed as Bathurst mayor

NEW TEAM: Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke and mayor Graeme Hanger following their election at Bathurst Regional Council on Wednesday night.
NEW TEAM: Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke and mayor Graeme Hanger following their election at Bathurst Regional Council on Wednesday night.

GRAEME Hanger has been elected unopposed to continue his term as Bathurst mayor.

Cr Hanger has been in the job just six months since taking over when his predecessor, Gary Rush, resigned from Bathurst Regional Council in March.

But he now has two more years to make his mark on the role following changes to the Local Government Act, introduced last year.

Bobby Bourke will serve his first term as deputy mayor after also running unopposed, but that role will become vacant again in 12 months.

After several days of frantic lobbying among councillors, Cr Hanger and Cr Bourke were the only nominations for their roles when the new council met for the first time on Wednesday night.

Cr Ian North and Cr Jess Jennings had both tested the numbers in recent days but neither was able to find the five votes needed to take the mayoral chains.

Cr Hanger thanked his colleagues for putting their faith in him to lead the city.

He paid tribute to all the candidates who had contested the local government election on September 9.

“Thank you to the 31 candidates who stood for election to Bathurst Regional Council but were unsuccessful,” he said.

“The disappointment in many of them was palpable but that’s an unfortunate fact of life.

“I notice some are here tonight and I thank you for being here.

“Congratulations also to the nine councillors who are here tonight, and thank you for your support. Thank you doesn’t sound like much but it is very heartfelt.”

Cr Hanger said he was looking forward to an “exciting and progressive” three-year council term with some new faces seated around the chamber.

“It’s good to see a fresh young face like Alex Christian here for the first time and also John Fry, who might not be a fresh face now but he was when he first worked at Bathurst City Council about 40 years ago,” he said.

“And Jacqui Rudge brings her interest in arts and family history group, and her interest in Bathurst.”

He said he would work well with his new deputy.

“Congratulations to Bobby as deputy mayor,” he said.

“Bobby has been a councillor since 2004 along with Cr North and has always had a very strong following in the community.

“His time as deputy mayor will be very exciting and very interesting.”