Congratulations to the south-west's new councillors. Voters across the region embraced fresh faces with new candidates filling 20 of the 35 positions available in Warrnambool, Corangamite, Moyne, Glenelg and Southern Grampians.
Warrnambool (all seven) and Corangamite (four out of seven) have the biggest addition of new faces while Moyne, Glenelg and Southern Grampians councils each have three. It's rare for a clean sweep like what happened in Warrnambool. It could be the first time since the mid-1800s no incumbents were re-elected.
Warrnambool voters tired of the personal politics that have distracted the council for more than a decade. The last year was the breaking point.
Outgoing mayor Tony Herbert's message to successful candidates at Tuesday's poll declaration was ironic but wise. "This looks like a group of seven people, having known them all, that have the potential to really work well together, to respect each other's decision and to continue to work as a group as long as they continue to focus on the city rather than themselves," he said.
Warrnambool voters are clearly less forgiving than those in Ballarat where incumbents won seven of the nine seats despite several years of turmoil, including a scathing IBAC investigation that criticised council's financial accountability and an Ombudsman report damning its recruitment and procurement processes that led to the whole executive team leaving.
Warrnambool's new councillors cannot underestimate voters' expectations. To do so will be at their peril.
They barely had time to savour victory with revelations the council faces a repair bill of more than $500,000 after a concrete walkway collapsed at the city's saleyards.
The council's tight financial position, underlined with the above state cap rates rise last year and the prospect of another next year, means there are challenging times ahead for councillors, some who promised lower rates and free parking.
Where does it find $500,000 for the saleyards? Unless there are grants available, something has to give. The honeymoon period is over almost before it began.
It is the first of no doubt many challenging decisions councillors will face across the next four years. But they were elected by the people to represent their best interests and those of the city and as long as they do that, starting with choosing the mayor, they will be successful. Good luck.