Broken Hill mayor Tom Kennedy reflects on achievements 12 months after election

Outback mayor Tom Kennedy says his town is heading in the right direction as he marks a year since being elected to lead Broken Hill City Council.

Cr Kennedy beat former leader and Labor candidate, Darriea Turley, and Independent Dave Gallagher in last year’s election.

He secured 5,686 of the total 10,812 votes cast, or just over 54 per cent of the final ballot.

Cr Kennedy said seeing the town’s population grow had been a major highlight of an exciting first year in the job.

“A lot of the people that I talk to really believe that Broken Hill is going in the right direction,” he said.

“We’re heading for a population increase rather than a population decline.”

Six people stand next to each other in a group, smiling at the camera.
(left to right): Bob Algate, Alan Chandler, Tom Kennedy, Hayley Jewitt, Jim Hickey and Michael Boland ran on the same polling ticket.(Facebook: Tom Kennedy)

A promising campaign

Cr Kennedy said while some of his election promises had been fulfilled, others were still struggling to get off the ground.

“One [of the promises] was the [entrance] sign which should be done early next year,” he said.

“Other things were to reintroduce the standing committees, that happened almost immediately.”

Cr Kennedy said weed control and removal of dead trees were “still on the agenda”.

He said rising costs associated with building the town’s new library were a concern.

A drawing of a library building and a large courtyard.
A concept drawing shows the design of Broken Hill City Council’s planned new library and cultural precinct.(Supplied: Broken Hill City Council)

He took office with the promise of scrapping the cultural hub and library precinct plan.

The project has since been continued but with material costs rising significantly, the final bill will be more than originally proposed.

“The library situation is heading in a really good direction, we ended up getting that grant funded,” he said.

“Thankfully that project is only a $12 million or $13m project, if it was a $25m project, we’d be looking at about $40m at the moment.”

‘As long as the town is looked after’

Former Broken Hill mayor Wincen Cuy, who served as leader of the town from 2009 to 2016, said the first year in the top job was spent “really getting your feet underneath the table”.

A man speaks into a microphone while sitting at a desk.
Wincen Cuy thinks the current administration is doing a good job.(ABC Local: John Casey)

Mr Cuy praised Cr Kennedy’s administration for its efforts to boost tourism to the town and grow the population through mining operations.

However, he said a lot of the foundation work had also been down by previous councils.

He said the future looked bright for the town.

“I see that tourism is growing,” he said.

“I also think this administration was very lucky on a lot of the early gains that was set up from the previous administration.

“At the end of the day we really don’t care who kicks the goals as long as we win the game and Broken Hill survives into the future.”