Broome’s council leaders have changed the face of town for the better, Shire president Harold Tracey says, as he confirms he will seek endorsement for another term at the helm in October. One Dampier ward seat and three Broome ward seats are up for grabs at this year’s local government election as Cr Tracey, deputy president Desiree Male, Cr Peter Taylor and Cr Philip Matsumoto’s terms come to an end. Speaking to the Broome Advertiser, Cr Tracey said he was proud of the changes the Shire had undergone during his reign, “I think what people don’t understand about being Shire president is that it’s not about just always making people happy,” he said. “It’s easy to be popular. “It’s hard to get things done and see progress in the town.” Cr Tracey said under the stewardship of Cr Male and himself, the Shire had attracted unprecedented State and Federal government investment. “We’ve attracted grants and investment for projects like the Chinatown and Town Beach redevelopments, which are in their final stages now and look absolutely amazing,” he said. “The Town Beach revitalisation, I think most people would agree, has completely changed the future of that area. It’s now become a hub for new business activity.” Between 2007 and 2016, residential rates jumped on average 7.13 per cent annually. Since 2017, rates have not increased more than 2 per cent on any given year, with an average 1.82 per cent increase. Grant funding has also jumped from $7m per year to $16m per year, allowing the Shire to boost capital works expenditure from $9m in 2015-16 to $24m in 2019-20. In 2016-17, the Shire’s MyCouncil financial health indicator — a measurement of a local government’s overall financial health, calculated from seven ratios — was almost 10 points below the State average. Since then there has been a steady upward trend, with the Shire 17 points above average in 2019-20. Cr Tracey said while the financial health was a testament to the executive, it was helped by the council’s strong business-minded approach to decision-making. “It’s not about going to these governments and asking for handouts, it’s about putting together a strong business plan and showing why their investment would be good for both the local population and the State/nation,” he said. “Desiree and I are both Broome born and bred — the first president and deputy president duo to be. “We have this town’s best interests at heart and have fought to get what’s best for the Shire.” The election is on October 16.