Popular councillors Scott Bailey and Michelle Green to leave Muswellbrook

SAYING GOODBYE: Councillors Michelle Green and Scott Bailey are bidding farewell to the community of Muswellbrook.
SAYING GOODBYE: Councillors Michelle Green and Scott Bailey are bidding farewell to the community of Muswellbrook.

TWO of Muswellbrook's most recognisable and influential figures made their farewell speeches at February's extraordinary council meeting.

Michelle Green and Scott Bailey are off to start new adventures in Mackay and Lightning Ridge respectively, after years of committing themselves tirelessly to the community in a number of roles.

They have both enjoyed lengthy spells as Muswellbrook Shire councillors, while also being extremely active in their day jobs.

Between the two of them, they have been involved in projects such as the Richard Gill School, Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music, Charge of Beersheba 100th anniversary, Ogilvie Street and Memorial Hall upgrades in Denman, the waste water facility, pumped hydro initiative, aquatics centre upgrade and the installation of the toddler park at Highbrook Park.

Cr Green has been a loyal servant at Bengalla, while Cr Bailey's name is now synonymous with the Muswellbrook and District Workers Club, which he has lifted off its knees to become a popular venue for locals.

In recent years it has been revitalised with a new restaurant and cinema, which wouldn't have been possible without the management and initiative of Mr Bailey, whose term will end on June 30.

While the task of summing up years of experiences and relationships was difficult, both he and Michelle gave it a crack as they addressed other council staff.

The latter recounted the story of how she became involved in local governance, admitting it took some convincing from others before she became agreed to join.

"Given I had a three-year-old daughter, four-month-old son and a very busy household, I scoffed and told this person I was not interested," she stated.

"They said 'there is no one running for council who represents your demographic'...and anyone who knows me knows that these words are like a red rag to a bull.

"My whole life I've advocated for fairness and equality, I've implemented unique opportunities for my female peers, I've done well in non-traditional, male dominated workforces and I've had a hard time taking no for an answer when the issue of my gender has been raised as to why I shouldn't do something."

Her resignation, which is effective immediately, won't be the end of her council career however, as she has pledged to run for local elections in Mackay, her home town, later this year.

As for Cr Bailey, he isn't straying too far from what he knows either, as he is now heading up the Lightning Ridge District Bowling Club.

A strong figure who has been involved with seemingly countless projects within the community, his presence will certainly be missed.

During the council meeting however, he took the opportunity to thank the people that have made his life easier, and that he will miss.

"A council is more than just an organisation that collects rates, fixes roads and disposes of rubbish," he said.

"It creates a sense of community and takes care of those that are less fortunate, and turns a place that is a town where you have to live into a place where you want to live."

Both leaving councillors thanked general manager Fiona Plesman, while property and building services manager Matt Lysaught and policy manager Josh Brown also received glowing praise.

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