Opinion

Outgoing Yass Mayor Rowena Abbey says thanks

19 December 2021
Rowena Abbey, Yass

Rowena Abbey was the first female Mayor of Yass Valley. Photo: File.

I became a councillor 13-and-a-half years ago and the first female Mayor of Yass Valley nine-and-a half years ago. I’m very proud of those achievements.

My mayoral term started with the Cobbler Road grassfire which began on 8 January, 2013, and burnt 14,000 hectares within six hours.

The headline in the paper at the time was ‘Baptism of Fire’ and it literally was. Now, I hang up my mayoral chains after one of the wettest years in Yass Valley’s history.

It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been immensely rewarding.


READ ALSO: Yass community to benefit from $3.5m new road funds


I’m proud to say that as a group of councillors, working together with our dedicated general manager, directors and staff, we’ve achieved a great deal.

To mention only a few:

  • Commencement of the Barton Highway duplication.
  • Completion of the Yass Dam upgrade.
  • Completion of the Yass to Murrumbateman water pipeline.
  • Development of a new primary school for Murrumbateman.
  • Replacement of 11 timber bridges across the local government area.
  • Development of a new hall for Yass High School, which the community will have use of.
  • Development of the Crago Mill Precinct.
  • Upgrades to amenity buildings, parks and playground equipment, including the new Adventure Playspace at Riverbank Park.

When running for council, I made four commitments and I’m proud to say we’ve achieved all of those:

  1. Better local roads via the Barton Highway duplication, getting more dirt on roads and upgrading bridges.
  2. More jobs by making life easier for new and small businesses.
  3. Improved water supply via the Yass to Murrumbateman pipeline and the Yass Water Treatment Plant upgrade, which is well underway.
  4. Less pressure on ratepayers to fund local projects by securing $80.9 million in state and federal government funding.

What’s more, as Mayor I’ve been able to attend citizenship ceremonies, Anzac Day, NAIDOC Week, Remembrance Day, morning teas, changeover dinners and openings. These have often been the best parts of the role.


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I’ve also been heavily involved in developing the Canberra Region Joint Organisation to ensure councils in the area are working together towards shared goals.

Yass Valley Council may be one of the smallest in the region, but we are considered a powerhouse of sensible conversation and robust engagement.
Best of all, I’ve met some amazing people including the eight outgoing councillors, council staff, state and federal government politicians and local business owners.

It has helped me to get to know the Yass Valley better and what a wonderful community it is.

Thank you for having me as mayor.

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