Melbourne’s new Lord Mayor takes office

As Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp put on the official robe and chains, she felt the weight of responsibility fall on her shoulders.
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Cr Capp, former Property Council of Victoria chief, was sworn into the City of Melbourne role at town hall on Thursday, three months after Robert Doyle quit amidst sexual harassment allegations.

“I feel the seriousness of the position that I am taking on, and I relish that,” Cr Capp told reporters.

“It is one of the things that absolutely motivated me to run for this role of Lord Mayor was a deep, deep respect for this role and traditions like this … really reinforce the seriousness of this role.”

Cr Capp, flanked by her husband Andrew Sutherland and adult sons, said it was an “honour and privilege” to be the 104th Lord Mayor of Melbourne and looked forward to bringing new leadership.

She said voters had opted for “an independent woman, who can bring new leadership, a new style a new tone, a different set of experiences to add value into the city”.

It had been an “aspiration” of hers lead the city and said serendipity, good planning and her previous roles on committees, in advocacy to the private sector had led her to the $193,000-per-year role.

She was the first councillor to sign the new code of conduct on Thursday and said the smoking ceremony was an opportunity for council to start anew after a turbulent six months.

“(It’s) the opportunity to really cleanse from what has been a somewhat of a troubled and disruptive last six months in particular and an opportunity for all of us to look forward,” she said referring to the scandal which ended Mr Doyle’s time in office.

“I am absolutely committed to that new code of conduct and the standards that are set and are expected.”

Cr Capp nabbed 53.05 per cent of the total votes in the by-election, beating businesswoman Jennifer Yangs’s 46.95 per cent.

Cr Capp is the third woman to take the city’s top job with Lecki Ord holding office in 1987-88 and Winsome McCaughey in 1988-89, and the first woman directly-elected to the role.

The first item on her agenda was a meeting on Thursday to discuss the waste management process in the CBD how it impacts on noise, congestion and any inefficiencies in the system.

Council chief executive Ben Rimmer said he was looking forward to working with the new Lord Mayor and support the “ambitious council vision” for Melbourne.

Mr Doyle has denied the allegations levelled against him.

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