MIL-OSI Australia: City congratulates Cr Margaret O’Rourke OAM

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Source: State of Victoria Local Government 2

City of Greater Bendigo Councillors and staff are delighted to extend their congratulations to Cr Margaret O’Rourke OAM, who today received the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the community in the King’s Birthday Honours List. 

Cr O’Rourke was elected Mayor in 2016 as a first-time Councillor and held the position for a record four consecutive years, and in that time was instrumental in some of the most significant community outcomes of that time. 

In particular, the arrival of Qantas in Bendigo and advocating strongly for State Government funds and Council’s commitment to the recently opened Galkangu – Bendigo GovHub. Other highlights included travelling to Hong Kong to represent Greater Bendigo during the making of Imperial Dragon Dai Gum Loong and negotiating hosting rights for White Night. 

However, the most defining moment of Cr O’Rourke’s Mayoral terms was the onset of COVID-19 and leading the community through the many unknowns that came with it. 

Current Mayor, Cr Andrea Metcalf, said Cr O’Rourke’s recognition was much deserved and was also a reflection of her broader commitment to the community. 

“Marg has been an outstanding leader over more than 20 years, beginning when she was a Telstra Area Manager across central Victoria,” Cr Metcalf. 

“She has also held several board positions, including as Chair of the then Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE, leading the organisation to successfully merge with the Kangan Institute and form what is now Bendigo Kangan Institute. Today, she is again Chair of the TAFE and will soon leave the Board after a remarkable contribution. 

“Other significant leadership and governance roles Marg has held include as Non-Executive Director of Goulburn-Murray Water and as a Bendigo Health Board member.

“Marg has an undeniable passion for our community and the power of regional areas, and this has been evident over her two terms as a Councillor, which also included serving as Chair of Regional Cities Victoria and as a representative on the Local Government Minister’s Mayoral Advisory Panel. 

“The City of Greater Bendigo joins with many others today in congratulating Marg on this wonderful honour.”

Cr O’Rourke said she was humbled by the recognition.

“I was hugely surprised and not at all expecting anything like this. I am grateful to those who nominated me and really proud to have been able to contribute to my community, which has always been what has motivated me,” she said. 

“The past eight years on Council have been a defining period for our city and region, building on the leadership of the past, and to have served as Mayor during that time was an enormous privilege given to me by my Councillor colleagues. 

“I joined Council with a focus on sustainable growth and attracting investment into the city centre, and it’s been wonderful to watch it transform in that time – Galkangu, Bendigo TAFE expansion, the Law Courts and new hospital buildings – Bendigo is a leading regional city in so many ways. 

“In my time as a Councillor I have also been proud to be an advocate for our First Nations community and share in the many amazing multicultural traditions and celebrations Greater Bendigo has become known for. 

“I’m really grateful for all the leadership opportunities I have had in my career and that I have been able to act as a voice for our community, but never did I expect to receive an honour such as this.”