A voice for the unheard

By Emma Prior

PALS CEO Julie Brooks is no stranger to advocating for groups of people and achieving the intended target which is why she is nominating as a candidate for the upcoming Moira Shire election.

Julie is a third-generation community member who was born in Cobram, spent long periods away at boarding school studying and working before seeing the light and returning to Yarrawonga. 

Julie genuinely cares about making the community we live in a better place and hopes to serve on the council to represent many of the residents who don’t have a voice in the community, notably the elderly, the socially disadvantaged, the disabled, single parents and young families.  

“People who live with a disability are a silent minority. They are more likely to experience poverty, live-in poor-quality housing, and experience lower levels of education,” Ms Brooks said. 

“They are often socially isolated with fewer opportunities to take part in their communities. I hope to be able to advocate for better access to buildings, better facilities and greater inclusion. 

“Women are overrepresented in the Moira shire in demographic numbers and yet are considerably underrepresented in council with presently only two women councillors out of nine.

“I am frustrated that so few women are represented at every level but especially local government. This is my primary motivation for wanting to stand for council. 

“Historically our communities were founded by strong rural leadership in organizations like the Country Women’s Association and there is a greater need now for women to be represented in local government. 

“I am also interested in providing robust oversight to the $80M budget that council expends each year.

“I am currently familiarising myself with the local matters that are of concern to the ratepayers of the shire.”

Julie has been employed at PALS (local Disability Provider) for the last 13 years in which she has worked in senior management roles as Corporate Services Manager and Deputy CEO. 

Julie has been CEO of PALS for a period of four years which delivers a wide range of support services to people who live with a disability in Yarrawonga, Numurkah, and Cobram. 

Julie is an active community member - was a member of Soroptimists who are committed to women’s leadership together with serving on the board of the Cobram Courier for several years. 

She is also currently a committee member of the Yarrawonga Yacht Club; sits on a number of subcommittees and is the Club’s booking officer as well as being a keen dragon boater and trainee sailor.   

Julie intends to be an independent voice for Moira who will carefully scrutinise the priorities for the significant expenditure of the Moira budget and will weigh each and every issue on its merits. 

Julie is not a captive of any interest group but wants Moira to be a truly diverse, prosperous, and welcoming community.