President reflects on busy first year

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Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey toasts success in Singapore, after a historic flight from Broome.
Camera IconShire of Broome president Harold Tracey toasts success in Singapore, after a historic flight from Broome. Credit: Jakeb Waddell

It has been one year since businessman Harold Tracey was elected Shire of Broome president and it’s no surprise the man who “won’t do anything half-heartedly” has already ticked off a number of goals.

The H&M Tracey construction company owner has gone all-in since being in the top job, with economic growth, collaboration between Kimberley shires and attracting Federal and State Government funding staying at the forefront of his mission.

Mr Tracey said, despite the challenges, he had put his best foot forward in his first year.

“I have really enjoyed myself as Shire president so far, it has been fantastic,” he said.

“From a business point of view I have actually suffered a little, because I choose not to tender on anything for the Shire to avoid any conflict of interest.

“But apart from that, I think we as a Shire have gone a long way to continue to turn Broome around after the real hit it took after James Price Point.

“A key indicator that we are seeing this turn is the interest the State Government has shown in our town.

“Our Shire has re-opened those lines of communication and renewed their confidence that we are a Shire with a can-do attitude.”

Soon after becoming president, Mr Tracey wasted little time aligning with the Shires of Derby-West Kimberley, Wyndham-East Kimberley and Halls Creek to put the region back on the Government’s radar and identify potential projects to drive economic stimulation.

Under his leadership, the Shire underwrote the Broome to Singapore direct flight trial, works for the Chinatown Revitalisation Project finally began, the town hosted both the Australian Cruise Association and National Native Title conferences, Qantas began its cheap flight trial and a stronger relationship was created with Yawuru native title holders.

But Mr Tracey said it was changing the Shire culture that he would pick as one of his biggest achievements. “As the leader of a Shire, I really wanted to see a shift in culture,” he said.

“I was worried we were seen as a Shire that was too hard to negotiate with, one that was not there for businesses and one that was too hard to deal with when it came to events or tourist initiatives.

“I am confident we are now seen as a Shire that is proactive with ratepayers and residents and doing our best to help drive this growth we want to see.”

There is still three years on Mr Tracey’s current term and he said he would make the most of it.

“I won’t do anything half-heartedly in my life,” he said. “I knew what I was up for with this job and although it can be challenging, there is still a lot more I want to get done. “I will always be available 24/7 for this town.”

Mr Tracey was first elected to the council in 2013. He finished first in last year’s local government election and was re-elected to the council before his peers voted him president, replacing Ron “Sos” Johnston, who stepped down.

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