We’re continuing our feature series with Lithgow’s new council, introducing new and well-known faces to the community as they begin a new term. Next is Maree Statham.
Councillor and former mayor Maree Statham may well not need an introduction.
One of the most well-known public faces of Lithgow, Cr Statham has returned to council with a vision for the area bolstered by new ideas but tempered by local government experience.
Cr Statham came to council after working as a hairdresser since 1969, and also teaching etiquette to a wide range of people from young women to corporate businesses.
Born in Bathurst and raised on a property in Meadow Flat, Cr Statham moved to Portland after marrying her late husband, Bob.
Cr Statham stood for council after being asked to stand up for smaller communities surrounding Lithgow, something she still does today.
“I had people ringing me about when council thought it was a good idea to go to 400 acres for the smaller subdivision and I thought ‘what a crazy idea, we’re going to have no small schools,’” she said.
Since her time as mayor, Cr Statham said the best thing for Lithgow is to diversify.
We have magnificent national parks here, we have fantastic amenities that can only grow.Councillor Maree Statham
“We have magnificent national parks here, we have fantastic amenities that can only grow.
“We have land available… we have the Cement Works at Portland that has a great deal of land available, it’s got water, flat land, I think we could grow natives there.”
By the end of this term, Cr Statham wants to see Lithgow become a place where something is on offer for all family members, to encourage them to stay and shop locally.
“I would love to see the Adventure Playground finished or at least at a stage where it’s usable.
“I think it’s in a perfect position to create interest for people to come into the town and get them to use other services.”
Providing a source of employment for unskilled labour is something that needs to be done, according to Cr Statham.
“Lots of coal miners that could become out of work in time that are only young, they’ve possibly not got a trade behind them, so that’s why I think we need to develop the opportunity with regional development.”
Cr Statham said it’s time for Lithgow to be innovative.
“At the end of the day we’re still very privileged that we have land right around the domain of Lithgow.”