History has been made with Parramatta Labor Councillor Sameer Pandey becoming the first Lord Mayor in Australia to be born in India.
Pandey has beaten out fellow Parramatta Councillor, Our Local Community’s (OLC) Michelle Garrard, in the fight to become Parramatta’s new Lord Mayor.
In an Extraordinary Council meeting, Councillors elected Pandey after it was announced that Donna Davis would step down from the position in response to her new role as State Member for Parramatta. Davis will continue on as a Parramatta Councillor.
In a speech, Davis told the Chamber she was honoured to serve as Lord Mayor of the City of Parramatta for the last 16 months.
“I’d like to thank my colleagues for placing their confidence in me, I’m immensely proud to have played a part in the ongoing transformation of our city,” she said.
“The wonderful thing about our Chamber is that it does reflect the diversity of our city, regardless of whether that is around age, whether that is around cultural diversity, religious diversity, abilities, gender as well.
“[Pandey] being elected this evening as our Lord Mayor of this city reflects where our city is at.”
The former Deputy Lord Mayor said he is “fully humbled and honoured” to be in front of the Chamber as the new Lord Mayor of the city.
“I am so privileged to be residing over as the Lord Mayor of the City of Parramatta and I look forward to working with every single person in this community and internally in the Council to achieve the outcomes that our community aspires for,” Pandey said.
“There is no doubt that the City of Parramatta is more cohesive, inclusive and a thriving place to live and work because of the contributions of the many cultures to our community.”
Pandey, who first came to Australia from India on a business visa in 1999, has served on the City of Parramatta Council since 2017.
“I am also very proud to say that we have made history,” he said.
“I am very proud to be the first Lord Mayor of Indian origin anywhere in Australia, which recognises the contribution of people from the Indian sub-continent are making to the Australian community.
“Parramatta is one of the most diverse LGAs in the country and we respect and embrace the cultural distinctions of all who are drawn to live, work, invest in our beautiful city.”
It was a close vote, with councillors Davis, Cameron Maclean, Pierre Esber, Patricia Prociv, Ange Humphries, Paul Noack and Pandey supporting Pandey.
Garrard’s supporters were Councillors Georgina Valjak, Donna Wang, Henry Green, Dan Siviero, Garrard and Lorraine Wearne. Greens Cr Phil Bradley and Independent Cr Kellie Darley abstained from voting.
An election for the new Deputy Mayor will take place at the next Council meeting.
The next City of Parramatta Lord Mayor election will take place in September 2023.