Media Enquiries and Invitations 

Media enquiries for the Mayor and Councillors should be directed to our Communications Unit. Information can be found here.

Community groups or organisations interested in extending an invitation to the Mayor and Councillors, please contact Council or email: invitations.

Councillor Code of Conduct

This Councillor Code of Conduct was adopted at the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Wednesday 27 February 2019.
View the Councillor Code of Conduct(PDF, 435KB) 


Cr Brian Crook

Cr Kate Hanson

Cr Stephen Hart 

Cr Joe McCracken (Deputy Mayor)

Cr Chris Potter 

Cr Jason Schram (Mayor)

Cr Chris Smith

Cr Brian Crook

Cr Brian Crook

Brian is a school teacher at Colac’s Trinity College and lives in Colac. With 13 years’ experience on Council, including two terms as Mayor, Brian has a strong understanding of the importance of building and maintaining relationships with local community groups, regional, state and federal governments.

Development of sport and recreation infrastructure, further education and training opportunities for young people and ensuring the long term financial sustainability of Council in the environment of rate capping are among the key areas Brian aims to focus on during his term at Council. He hopes to continue to advocate for local tourism opportunities and improved rail services to provide better access to the region.

In his previous terms, Brian was involved in the highway duplication advocacy, establishment of the trade training centre, Bluewater redevelopment, Central Reserve resurfacing and a range of other important Council projects.

Phone: (03) 5232 9407
Mobile: 0417 559 258


Cr Kate Hanson

As a mother of two, sheep and cropping farmer and certified practicing accountant, Kate has a strong understanding of the challenges facing local businesses and a passion to create a secure future for the next generation.

With more than 20 years of experience working in finance, Kate brings to Council sound financial management skills and a focus on creating efficient and sustainable business practices.

Kate’s aunt and former local councillor Betty Arundell first inspired her interest in local government. It also contributed to her desire to see more strong, competent female voices in local government to ensure a diversity of viewpoints are explored.

Kate is committed to open and accountable representation, developing long-term strategies for local business growth and productivity, and taking a non-divisive attitude to working with her Council colleagues and staff.

Phone: (03) 5232 9410
Mobile: 0409 038 843


Cr Stephen Hart

Stephen and his partner Chris live on a property adjoining the picturesque Melba Gully Park.

Their owner-built mud brick house is of passive solar design, meaning it is warm in winter and cool in summer. Solar panels supply most of their electricity.

Since 1990 they have revegetated some of their land with more than 4000 indigenous trees.

Stephen graduated in Economics at Monash University, Clayton.  He was employed in the federal public service until moving permanently to Lavers Hill in the late 1990s.

Stephen was first elected to Colac Otway Shire Council in 2002, 2008, 2012 and most recently in 2016.  He has served as deputy mayor in 2010, 2011, 2012/2013 and 2017; and Mayor in 2012.

Stephen is committed to a sustainable Council, both financially and environmentally. He is particularly interested in improving library services and educational opportunities for the community.

He has represented Council on a number of committees and is a member of two boards including the Audit Committee, Barwon South West Waste and Resource Recovery Group, Colac Community Library and Learning Centre Joint Use Committee, Corangamite Regional Library Corporation and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). 

Stephen was also the Chair of the Council’s Environment Strategy Steering Committee when Council’s first Environment Strategy was adopted in January 2010.

Phone: (03) 5232 9406
Mobile: 0407 962 412


Cr Joe McCracken (Deputy Mayor)

Joe is teacher at Trinity College Colac in the areas of politics, commerce and humanities. He has previous experience in the finance industry as an accountant, working with farmers, small businesses, rural clients and self-managed superannuation funds. This has instilled in Joe a great respect for primary producers, small business owners and our large employers in the district.

Joe grew up in Beaufort and was educated at St Patrick's College in Ballarat. Joe holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Management from the University of Ballarat (now Federation University) and also a Diploma of Education from Australian Catholic University.

Joe's focus in this term on council will be on returning to core service delivery; roads, parks and gardens, footpaths and rubbish collection. Joe is committed to ensuring Council's planning department is efficient and customer focussed in order to promote economic growth and development in our region. Transparency and accountability are pivotal for Joe so that our community is informed and connected to council. Ultimately Joe would like to ensure council operations are more efficient and targeted, and that ratepayers’ money is spent wisely.

Joe lives locally in Colac. He plays squash, goes to the gym as well as walking and running around the botanic gardens. He also enjoys mountain bike riding in the district, particularly at the Forrest mountain bike trails and around Barongarook.  Joe supports the Geelong Cats in the AFL and in his spare time enjoys reading, news and current affairs, movies and spending time with family and friends.

Phone: (03) 5232 9409
Mobile: 0427 749 918


Cr Chris Potter

Chris has served the community for more than 38 years as a local policeman and ran for Council because he wanted to make a difference.

His long-standing career as a detective in Colac has given Chris a deep and insightful knowledge of our community and brought him into contact with people from every social, cultural and economic walk of life.

Having spent most of his career working in the government sector, he comes to Council with a strong understanding of the complex environment local government operates within. Experience living on a farm and running a small business means Chris can also identify with challenges faced by private sector operators.

Chris has a strong history of community involvement including local football, basketball, the CFA, and he is currently the treasurer of the Colac RSL sub-branch. His aim for this term of Council is to ensure strong leadership, transparency, accountability and strong, responsible decision making.

Phone: (03) 5232 9408
Mobile: 0427 821 435


Cr Jason Schram (Mayor)

Jason is a local businessman, husband, father of three and was born and raised in the Colac Otway Shire. He brings to Council a sound knowledge of the local area, as well as a desire to see improved infrastructure and funding opportunities for our small towns and coastal areas.

Jason’s experience in small business has equipped him with a diverse range of skills and the ability to ask strategic questions when it comes to decisions affecting the expenditure of ratepayers’ money. He is committed to open and honest leadership, teamwork, and ongoing improvement to Council’s communication and business practices.

A fair rates system, improvements to Lake Colac and strong advocacy to the state and federal governments on behalf of our community are projects Jason looks forward to working on during his term of Council.

Phone: (03) 5232 9405
0428 326 410


Cr Chris Smith

Phone: 5232 9411
Mobile: 0400 964 791








**Please note, email addresses provided above are official Councillor email addresses and are not private.