Cr Cathy Oke was first elected on to Melbourne City Council in 2008 and is the Chair of the Future Melbourne (Transport) Committee, Deputy Chair of the Future Melbourne (Environment) Committee and represents Council on the Regional committee of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. She has a passion for the environment and over 20 years’ experience in the sustainability sector. Cathy Oke also holds a PhD in Genetics. She took time out of her ultra-busy schedule to chat with us about life as a Councillor and her motivations to work in Government.
What is the best thing about being a Councillor with the City of Melbourne?
The best thing about being a Councillor at the City of Melbourne is the huge range of opportunities to get to know the city through the people we meet and the numerous events we attend. More exciting to me however are the opportunities to make a difference to the city of now and future. Being able to make a difference to the social and environmental sustainability of our city is really important to me.
What drove you to run for local Government originally and have your motivations changed over time as you got to know the city?
I have always been interested in my local community, having lived in Melbourne pretty much my whole life. Many issues that I’ve campaigned on were also at the local level. So it made sense to get involved in local government. The thing that has changed over time is my knowledge of how much can be achieved and how much change you can actually bring as a local Councillor. Yes many areas of interest to me like greater public transport and more schools are controlled by the state government, there are issues like climate change, social justice and arts and culture that local councils can show real leadership, and bring real change. This continues to motivate me.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? I don’t think I have spare time. I would like to have more time to read, other than the two weeks over summer! I love to go to live music gigs, but there’s only so many I can go to with a less than 2 year old daughter.
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Family bike riding along the Capital City Trail
When you left high school, is this where you imagined your life would lead?
I did imagine that I would be active in public life, either as an environmental activist or as a politician, so I guess I am leading a life that I did imagine for myself at High School – this I know is a pretty lucky place to be.
A resident of the City of Melbourne for more than 30 years and with a long family history of activity in the North Melbourne community, Cathy is committed to supporting programs which enable a safe, vibrant and creative municipality, with a particular interest in our contemporary live music scene.You can keep up to date with Cr Cathy Oke via Twitter at @