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Curtin student becomes Perth’s youngest councillor

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Ballajura residents may already be familiar with Adam Kovalevs, but for the rest of Perth he is the newest face on the City of Swan Council and, after turning 20 during his campaign, is also its youngest.

Being a student, Kovalevs’ campaign was low budget and focused on the residents of the community.

“I knocked on hundreds of doors,” says Kovalevs. “Ballajura has a diverse population and meeting with many residents was definitely a highlight. People’s basic concerns were the same, they want a safe, connected community to live in.”

His hard work paid off and on 17 October Kovalevs was announced as Ballajura Ward’s newest councillor.

“While I had hoped to be elected, the result was quite overwhelming,” Kovalevs says. “I am humbled by the response of my community. I feel privileged that they have placed their trust in me and also proud that I live in a community that has faith in young people.”

Born and raised in Ballajura, Kovalevs sees his new role as a chance to give back and thank the community that has made him into the person he is today.

“I saw running for council as a great opportunity to provide a strong new voice and a new vision for the ward,” Kovalevs says. “I wanted to bring a youthful perspective to the council and to represent the young people of Ballajura, a significant demographic which previously lacked representation from someone close to their age.

“I have always been interested in the concept of leadership, especially that which is based on a foundation of service,” Kovalevs says. This interest has led him to volunteer with several local organisations, including the Western Australian YMCA, the Returned and Services League of Australia WA, and Curtin’s own Sir Charles Court Young Leaders Program.

During his term as councillor, Kovalevs hopes to make the council more open, accountable and transparent. “I will be a strong advocate for initiatives which make council more accessible to residents and will push for council meetings to be live streamed,” he says. He also hopes his new role will soon give him the opportunity to engage with local youth and establish a Youth Advisory Committee.

In his third year of a four-year double degree in psychology and human resource management at Curtin, Kovalevs plans to continue his studies while he is councillor.

“I do feel that my course has deepened my understanding of people and helped build my capacity to work collaboratively with others,” he says. “I have gained a better understanding of why people think in certain ways, why we all react differently to similar scenarios, and I have developed skills to manage different personalities. All of which will be important as I navigate my way through local government.”

While graduation is still a little ways off, Kovalevs is content with making the most of both study and politics and is optimistic about the future.

“At the moment I am really enjoying my course,” he says, “and I am sure that my council experience, combined with the completion of my studies, will provide me with skills to take on any number of opportunities.”

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