Mayoral Matters August 2020 – Mayor Graeme Massey
The limitations on social distancing imposed by Stage 3 coronavirus restrictions has resulted in our monthly Council Meeting once again being conducted on-line via Zoom. For the first time we were live-streamed on our Shire website. The meeting went for just under three hours and the peak viewing audience reached twelve. Most of the agenda was taken up with policy updates to comply with meeting the September deadline set by the new Local Government Act 2020.
With these governance measures now addressed Council Meetings will be able to spend time discussing issues that matter to our residents. Hopefully viewing numbers will increase.
Council Elections will occur during October. Nominations for Council open on 17 September and close on 23 September. Prior to nominating, prospective candidates are required to log-in to a mandatory information session on the Local Government website in order to obtain a certificate that needs to be shown to the VEC officer. At the moment there are known vacancies for Hopetoun and Warracknabeal wards.
Council has employed additional outdoor staff on a six-month contract under the State Government’s Work for Victoria program. They will work with our town maintenance staff on streetscaping projects such as tree and shrub planting, painting outdoor furniture and garden beautification. At the August meeting, Councilors were shown the ideas Murtoa Progress Association had to plant an additional 100 trees along McDonald Street. It is anticipated that similar projects will roll out in the other towns of the shire. The funding for these projects has been provided by the Federal Government through its Community Infrastructure Program.
The Shire has also been successful with a number of grant applications. In recent weeks we have obtained $465,000 to upgrade local halls, $125,000 to support the new library roll-out and $2,630,000 to provide new netball and tennis facilities at Beulah, Brim and Rupanyup. We are still waiting for a decision with our applications for the Warracknabeal courthouse restoration, improvements at Warracknabeal and Minyip caravan parks and an extension to Warracknabeal kindergarten.
Projects that have been funded from the two Drought Community Programs are all on track for completion. A tender has been accepted to build the new supermarket at Rupanyup and the Minyip community is excited that an agreement to establish an unmanned fuel outlet has finally been signed. The $2,000,000 provided by the Federal Government under DCP has enabled us to support over twenty projects throughout the shire. Without this funding many of these projects would not have eventuated.
Over the past twelve months our lobbying has also helped Warracknabeal receive State Government funding to complete the education precinct and Woodbine obtain a Building Better Regions grant of $1,200,000 to provide additional accommodation units.
Our current Council will meet for the last time on Wednesday 16 September. We are hoping that with eased restrictions it can take place in the chambers.
Cr Graeme Massey