“Local council is the closest form of government to the people. Councils do a wide range of work for people including health and wellbeing, social cohesion, maternal and child health, addressing the climate emergency and much more.” Mark Riley tells Star Observer. 

An East Brunswick local, Riley has served since 2016 as one of three councillors for Moreland South Ward. At the time Riley was elected alongside fellow Greens candidate Samantha Ratnam, who is now the leader of the Victorian Greens in the Legislative Council chamber. However, long before joining council Riley had always been an active member of both the LGBTQI and broader communities.

“After being a primary teacher, a beats outreach officer for the AIDS Council in the early 90s and being active on the reforms of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act during the Kennett Government review in the 1990s with GLAD, I found myself standing for Moreland Council in 2016.”

Reflecting on his time with Moreland council, Riley continues by saying, “I was joined by Councillor Jess Dorney, who was elected on a count back in late 2017, to replace Samantha. In 2018-19 I served as the Deputy Mayor with Natalie Abboud as the Mayor. During my time I’ve served on committees dealing with Human Rights, reconciliation with our Indigenous communities, Arts and Culture, Affordable Housing and drier roles, like the Audit and Risk Committee and the Planning Committee.”

 Across the last four years, Riley says that his continued involvement with the local Moreland community has given him first-hand experience into different issues confronting the community, including homelessness and housing, urban planning and democracy, fair pay for low-paid workers, health and education.

“People contact me regularly to discuss all manner of issues including open space needs, the crisis caused by coronavirus, inclusion and much more.

“Moreland likes to say it is ‘One Community, Proudly Diverse’ and we are committed to meeting the needs of LGBTQI communities. In this term we refreshed our statement on the City’s ‘commitment to women’ to be the Gender Equality Commitment which respects and embraces all gender and cultural identities.”

With Melbourne residents soon to cast their votes in the 2020 local government elections, Riley concludes our interview by saying of the important role councils play in people’s day to day life that, “Councils can and do take powerful and meaningful measures but only if they have active Councillors can help make the difference. Your vote matters and when you receive your postal ballot this October be sure to make democracy work for you. Check out your candidates and get in touch with them and be sure that you are well represented.”

For more info on Mark Riley, or to get in touch head to The Greens website

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