"I am both honoured and humbled by the nomination."
This was how Lithgow City councillor and former mayor, Maree Statham reacted when she found out she was nominated for the 2021 Minister's Awards for Women in Local Government.
The local businesswoman who is best known for her tireless community work and popularity in the Lithgow local government area, was nominated in the Elected Representative category for advancing the position of female elected representatives.
"Being elected as a councillor for the Lithgow local government area has been a rewarding experience," she said.
I can honestly say council has become my second life and family.Maree Statham
"I do listen to the people and I think it's essential we listen to our community, it's a great way of getting results for council, for residents and ratepayers."
Cr Statham is one of Lithgow's quiet achievers, with her feet firmly rooted in the Lithgow local government area.
"Since my husband Bob died in 2007, I can honestly say council has become my second life and family," she said.
"I've also been fortunate both my amazing parents have been great role models when it comes to serving the local community and having a strong work ethic which they instilled in me."
Cr Statham's late father, Mac Scott, spent 32 years in local government and was a former Blaxland Shire President. Her mother Maisie Scott, 92, was recently awarded an OAM for her voluntary community work.
However, Cr Statham says during her nine years of local government commitment and passion it has been far from easy. She admits, both previously as mayor and now as councillor, her resilience has often been tested.
"The unwavering support of my family and the local community has honestly kept me going, especially this year," she said.
"I've had some very turbulent times on council and some incredible experiences but when I'm out and about and constantly get asked to keep on going, that's the motivation that really reminds me why I love representing those who need a voice for issues that really matter to them."
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