In an historical shift, Monash Council has welcomed its first Greens party councillor, Josh Fergeus.
A lifelong local to Monash, Cr Fergeus grew up in Mount Waverley and has remained in the area since.
Cr Fergeus said that he has an established family history in Oakleigh, too.
“My great grandparents built one of the first houses on Drummond St, I think before it even existed as Drummond St!”
Representing the Oakleigh Ward, Cr Fergeus said he was engaged in the area he represents and plans to hold monthly open meetings to discuss key issues for local residents, commencing in January 2017.
A leader in social services and youth work, Cr Fergeus is also an advocate for foster care and for delivering positive solutions for young people and families.
He began working at a local level in social youth services from the young age of 19. His career has taken him across various roles in policy development, research and academia, while also serving as President of the Foster Care Association of Victoria.
Asked how this interest was sparked at such a young age, Cr Fergeus said: “My mother was a foster parent since I was 12 years old so I saw the impact that this can have.”
Cr Fergeus has been a Greens Party member for 12 years.
His work in the social and youth sectors marks him as a uniquely qualified local representative for families and youth.
“I have a passion for evidence-based policies,” he said.
“Local government is the level of government that works the closest with the non-profit sector and is intricately involved with these social issues. We share a common purpose.”
On key local environmental matters, Cr Fergeus listed a variety of issues within Oakleigh, an area that he views as “made up of distinct communities”.
The issues for locals that he’s focused on include heritage and a lack of playgrounds and open spaces. He particularly wants to focus on maintaining and expanding open spaces where possible.
“We have only 9.9 per cent open spaces in Monash Council, that’s very low… one of the lowest areas in the state.”