I was first elected to Hobsons Bay City Council as an INDEPENDENT councillor in March, 1999. I have just been elected to my seventh term as a councillor. I represent Strand Ward on the council, which takes in Williamstown, Newport, Spotswood, South Kingsville and a small part of Altona North. I have served as Mayor of Hobsons Bay twice: the first time in 2008-09 and then in 2015-16.
Since being elected, I have been a passionate advocate for preservation of heritage and the environment and proper planning of our city. I have a particular interest in supporting local sports clubs and to ensure people of all ages have an opportunity to remain active and healthy. I was co-chair of HBCC’s Active and Inclusive Communities advisory group. One of the great achievements of that is that about $30 million was allocated to rebuild or develop sporting grounds and associated infrastructure in 2019-20 alone.
I hold a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree with Honours from La Trobe University. All my working working life has been spent as a journalist, the past 31 years with The Weekly Times, Australia’s largest agricultural newspaper.
In September, 2007, I graduated with a Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors after completing its company director’s course.
For many years, I served on HBCC’s Audit Committee, overseeing the finances and probity of the council. We have a financially secure council able to deliver on some big capital projects, such as building the Newport Hub and redeveloping the Williamstown Town Hall and Library.
I have sat as a council representative on the Hobsons Bay Community Fund committee for a number of years. The HBCF is a not-for-profit fund independent of Council which provides grants to the local community. I have also been a member of the Mobil Altona Refinery Community Liaison Committee for a number of years.
I am married to Yaeko Takei and have two sons, Yuma and Cody, and a daughter Emi. We live in Newport in the centre of Strand Ward.
My private interests include travel, camping, photography, history and heritage. I am a keen genealogist and am currently writing a book on the Hemphill family of Australia, the US and Ireland.
My interest in history resulted in me heading a group called the Williamstown Maritime Association in setting up Seaworks. I was the inaugural president of the Williamstown Maritime Association, which was successful in convincing the State Government to hand over the site to our community.
Since 2012, I have been a director of the Seaworks Foundation which has overall responsibility for development of Seaworks. In 2013, with a large crew of volunteers, Seaworks hosted the Seaworks Maritime Festival, with nine tall ships attracting 30,000 visitors to the site over a week.
Seaworks now attracts about 100,000 visitors each year, making it the second biggest tourist attraction to Hobsons Bay behind Scienceworks.
In 2016, I kickstarted the heritage street signs project as part my Mayoral program from an idea put to me by local resident Professor Ian Rae, a member of the Williamstown Historical Society. The program continues to be rolled out right across Hobsons Bay to recognise the origins of streets that were named many, many decades ago. The Williamstown Historical Society continues to have input into the program.
What I like most about sitting on the Hobsons Bay City Council is the planning of our great city. I am a practical and strategic thinker who has the overall wellbeing of the community at heart.