By CASEY NEILL
PLENTY of familiar faces remain on the City of Greater Dandenong council following Saturday’s local government election.
Every sitting councillor who raised their hand to remain in the job was returned, but there are a few new names stepping in for those who stepped aside.
In Lightwood Ward, Australian Labor Party (ALP) member Sean O’Reilly, 41, joins former mayor Youhorn Chea and Loi Truong.
Cr O’Reilly said he was pleased with the support he received and surprised at collecting 28 per cent of the primary vote.
“I was very, very pleased that the messages I was sending out there were gaining traction,” he said.
“But I think the success of the campaign was I sent a survey out fairly early on and listened to the responses that came back.”
Cr O’Reilly said there was a perception that Dandenong itself received a large share of investment, and Springvale might not be getting its fair share.
The cleanliness of Springvale and Springvale South was another issue raised.
“I campaigned on these and other things,” he said.
“I’m a new councillor so I’ll have my training wheels on for a few months. I’ve got a lot to read and learn about.
“I’m looking to deliver on these things as soon as practical. I’m only one councillor out of 11.”
At the declaration of the polls at the Springvale Council Offices on Tuesday, Cr Chea thanked his wife, four children, and all the ethnic communities that supported him as he entered his sixth term on council.
“I stand for a fair go for everyone, not just one community,” he said.
Maria Sampey and John Kelly remain the Silverleaf Ward’s representatives.
Meng Heang Tak joins Roz Blades and Peter Brown in Paperbark Ward.
The 32-year-old ALP member and lawyer has lived in Greater Dandenong for the past 16 years and ran on a platform of building a council that was more in touch with the community.
Matthew Kirwan will serve Red Gum Ward alongside Jim Memeti and Angela Long.
Greens member Cr Kirwan has lived in Greater Dandenong for all of his 39 years and said it had been “a very tough race”.
He ran on the platform that the biggest issue facing Greater Dandenong was overdevelopment.
“It was 15 months of door-knocking. I’m thankful the residents put their trust in me,” he said.
He said he was now looking forward to putting their ideas into action.
Cr Memeti said it was a huge campaign and congratulated the other candidates on keeping it clean.
“It was a good feeling to win,” he said.
He thanked those who had supported him to his third term as a councillor.
By CASEY NEILL