Sue Bulger has become the Tumut Shire’s first Indigenous mayor.
Cr Bulger defeated incumbent mayor Trina Thomson 3-2 at this afternoon’s election. There were six councillors at the meeting. One informal vote was lodged.
Cr Thomson was elected unopposed as the deputy mayor.
It’s a case of third time lucky for Cr Bulger, a Wiradjuri Elder, who had challenged for the mayoral role in 2012 and 2013. On both those occasions, she was pipped by Cr Thomson on a 4-3 count.
Born in Gundagai, Cr Bulger grew up on the Brungle Mission, one of 11 children.
She began a career as a full-time teacher in the community in 1975, a role which she carried out for two decades, before continuing to teach on a casual and relief basis
She was first elected to the Tumut Shire Council following a rare by-election in 2000 and has been on the council since. She has served on a range of committees, including the Aboriginal Liaison Committee, Aerodrome Committee, Local Environment Plan Steering Committee, Sports Committee and Tumut Railway Station Committee.
Speaking at the meeting, Cr Bulger thanked her councillors for electing her.
“This is historical for our community, and you only have a year to put up with me,” Cr Bulger said.
“I thank you, not only on behalf of myself, but also my family and community.
“I congratulate Trina for her leadership and wisdom and her strength in overcoming adversity.”
“I also congratulate Cr Scott Stevenson for his role as deputy mayor.
For Cr Thomson, it is the first time as deputy mayor.
Elected to the council in 2004, Cr Thomson is no stranger to closely contested mayoral elections.
She defeated Cr Geoff Pritchard in 2008 to become mayor and held the position until 2011, when deposed by John Larter.
Cr Thomson subsequently won back the role at the start of this term of council, in 2012.