When asked to nominate the highlight of her time as Wyndham mayor, councillor Susan McIntyre was quick to answer.
“I love the citizenship ceremonies,” said the 55 year old whose one year term in the role ended last week.
The former mayor’s fondness for citizenship ceremonies isn’t so surprising given her own history.
“I mean I’ve only been here 12 years in the country and I’m the newest citizen in our councillor group,” said Cr McIntyre who migrated from her native England with her husband and two daughters in 2011.
Her fondness is even easier to understand given how she got her own Australian citizenship.
“I actually had my citizenship ceremony online and it took about 5 mins in total and you got your certificate in the post.”
It’s a stark contrast to the ceremonies Cr McIntyre presided over after assuming the mayoralty in November 2022.
“I’ve done 54 ceremonies with over 12000 residents becoming citizens which I believe is the most across the country,” she said, adding that the cohort of new citizens was as diverse as it was large.
“We have refugees seeking asylum to economic migrants, to people just wanting to be reunited with the families, we have such a cross section of people and it’s not unusual to have many people in tears.”
As rewarding as this was, Cr McIntyre said accommodating all these new citizens and the many others making Wyndham the fastest growing municipality in the country, had been the toughest part of the job.
“We’ve got 320,00 residents at the moment and by 2040 we’ll be over 500,000. We’ve got 110 to 130 babies born a week here in Wyndham, so the biggest challenge for us is advocating for the resources we need for infrastructure,” she said, adding that much of this growth was already locked in and beyond council’s control.
“For the next 15 years land has already been assigned for development. What we need to do is work with government to get infrastructure in place to accommodate it and make it liveable.”
Cr McIntyre also nominated Wyndham’s improved presentation through new local laws, litter blitzes and rapid response rubbish removal as something she was proud of and expressed confidence that her successor and former deputy, Cr Jennie Barrera, would do a good job.