Interview with: Cr Darriea Turley AM, Mayor of Broken Hill City Council

Women in Pink Blazer

Cr Darriea Turley AM has served as a Broken Hill Councillor since 1995 and Mayor of Broken Hill City Council since 2016. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards including the NSW Local Government Award and Life Membership to the Australian Local Government Women’s Association for her contribution to Local Government.

In 2018 Darriea was recognised with a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for her contribution to health, social welfare, and education, and for efforts to champion women in local government.

Darriea is ardent in leading and promoting the role of women in local government and the well-being of women in rural Australia.

Tell me a little bit about yourself – why did you decide to join Council and become Mayor?

I am very passionate about Broken Hill and its community. I have a lot of engagement with the people from Far west regions and our diverse community.  So as Mayor I bring an understanding of the complex issues facing local government and broader communities.

I decided to run for Council when I was a committee member on a small local NGO who rented Council office spaces.  The facilities were dreadful.  We asked council to upgrade the facilities, but they declined.  We tried everything but there was no response. I took the lead and ran an organised campaign lobbying the Mayor for change.

The Mayor called me into his office and after giving me a hard time on what I had done, he told me that the organisation would be moved to a better space.  He then asked me to run with him at the next Council election.  Of course, I argued to be up high on the ticket!

How would you describe your personal vision as Mayor for Broken Hill?  

I would like to see Broken Hill become a self-reliant, strong regional community with services and facilities equal to those of larger centres. I want to support an active, vibrant residential population, valuing and sharing the region’s unique natural and built environment with regional, national and international visitors.

What do you see are the challenges for Broken Hill City Council?

  • Ageing and declining population;
  • Minimal or poor-condition housing stock;
  • Landlock inhibiting industrial and residential development;
  • Size of skilled workforce for major infrastructure projects;
  • Commodity prices;
  • Speed of connectivity;
  • Ageing infrastructure; and
  • The inability of Broken Hill Airport to service larger aircraft.

What are the social values held by the community?

We are a resilient close-knit community and enjoy our safety and wellbeing.  We acknowledge our rich history by keeping our heritage alive and relevant.

We are accustomed to tackling our problems head-on. Our willingness to create change and diversify makes us resilient, secure our long-term economic prosperity and pave the way for other communities to follow.

We value our wide streetscapes, quality of life and stunning vistas; we are committed to conservation and preservation of the natural environment and greater reduction of the human impact to ensure a sustainable and healthy community.

We have strong civic and community leadership. We are inventive, inclusive and innovative; when we work together there is nothing we can’t do, and our achievements continue to write history.

What are the long-term growth opportunities for Broken Hill City Council?

The emphasis our community has given to growing a sustainable economy recognises the imperative to innovate, problem-solve and create new opportunities.  We do this to remain relevant in a global environment that is marked by rapid social and technological change.

This change has been particularly evident in 2020, with the issues surrounding COVID-19 virus, exacerbating a community already impacted by drought.  It also marks a shift in community appraisal, recognising that, although technology has reduced the need for labour over the years, it has also delivered efficiencies and bridged the isolation gap.

Our city has a renewal strategy that is underpinned by (a projected) $50m integrated infrastructure pipeline that includes a focus on the activation of the Central Business District through the development of a Masterplan and Cultural Precinct, expansion of available industrial land for industry expansion, a strategic housing strategy, improved connectivity and Destination Marketing.

The plan is a game-changer – moving Broken Hill’s economic and psychological attachment to a resource-based economy to a diversified offering that will see us through to a strong future.

Why did Broken Hill decide to join Regional Capitals Australia? 

Council joined Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) as we are very passionate about being able to contribute to a unified voice for regional cities.

Broken Hill would benefit greatly from being part of a team that can collaboratively identify challenges, priority areas, and future opportunities and actively pursue strategies that create an environment to give our community a voice to influence decisions at a State and Federal level to improve the liveability and economic sustainability of our City.

Learn more about Broken Hill City Council or Cr Darriea Turley AM here.