Liley stands true for more than a decade

ELISIA SEEBERSound Telegraph

Memories of red dust rolling off the road and staining her mother’s white sheets was the first thought City of Rockingham councillor Leigh Liley had when talks of exporting iron ore through Rockingham were raised in the late 1990s.

Growing up in two mining towns was enough for Cr Liley to know she did not want heavy industry on the City’s doorstep.

At the time, having called Rockingham’s beachside location home for more than three decades, it was Cr Liley’s passion for the environment which kicked in and prompted her to tackle the iron ore issue and led to her to run, and ultimately win, a seat on council in 1999.

Now, after almost 14 years on council and 150 meetings, Cr Liley can proudly say she has only missed two sittings over the journey.

Remarkably, Cr Liley was the only elected member to attend all Rockingham council meetings for the past financial year.

“The two meetings that I did miss my husband, Roger, was in intensive care, he was really sick, it would have been about September 2006 — he suffered a monster stroke,” Cr Liley said.

Juggling her day job as a primary school administrator along with her council duties, hobbies and caring for her husband, Cr Liley put her superior council attendance record down to being organised.

“I have got really good organisational skills and I believe that helps; you need to be able to switch hats,” she said.

“When I’m at work I’m an administrator, when I go to council I’m Cr Liley, but when I’m home I’m just me.”

Despite the demands of attending events and social gatherings as a City representative, Cr Liley said council was not all fun and games.

She said the job required hours of reading, research, planning and meetings.

“It is more then just one meeting upstairs,” she said.

Cr Liley said being part of great team made the work all the more easier.

“It’s an excellent team, we all work really well together (and) we also have this unwritten code that whatever happens at council upstairs we leave it in there, once we walk out of the chambers that’s it,” she said.

Having sat on council for more than a decade and lived in the area for almost 47 years Cr Liley said there were many things that motivated her to stay on the council.

“To keep industry at bay and look after our environmental assets, but you have got to balance it because there is also another side to the story,” she said.

“I believe if you don’t develop tourism infrastructure it signals to industry that we don’t really care about what we’ve got.”

She said she hoped to one day see more restaurants along the foreshore and more short-term stay accommodation.

“For me since 1999 I’m just stunned at how much has happened in this area,” Cr Liley said.

Looking to the future Cr Liley hopes to one day travel with her husband on a Canadian Cruise, through Europe and to Japan.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails