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Mayoral Column 11 July 2016

Released on 11 July 2016

Working together to get the job done

Loddon Shire’s annual Community Grants Scheme has delivered welcome news to more than 30 groups across the municipality.

As Boort Ward Councillor, it’s rewarding to see the social hub of my hometown’s football, netball and hockey clubs benefit from a $10,000 allocation to purchase kitchen white goods which will enhance recent extension and refurbishment works.

My fellow Councillors have also shared a range of positive feedback from beneficiaries in their respective wards.

Undoubtedly a $10,000 allocation to support miniature railway extension works at The Blue Eucy Museum will provide invaluable assistance to one of Inglewood’s key tourism drawcards.

With sport and recreation facilities central to community life in Loddon, it’s also fantastic to see $10,000 going towards a kitchen upgrade at Wedderburn Bowling/Tennis Club.

Meanwhile, $9,924.82 has been granted for facility upgrades being undertaken by The Northern Victoria Quarter Horse Association in Pyramid Hill and $10,000 to the Rheola Public Hall for power upgrades.

The community groups I have highlighted are just a small portion of those who are now better equipped to get on with the project at hand.

In fact, a total of $198,820 is to be spread across the successful applicants who applied to have their project funded on a two for one basis.

Furthermore, since the scheme was initiated, Council has allocated $1.9 million to 640 community projects which have generated an investment of $5.4 million, now that’s something worth celebrating!

Several standpipe sites available

Standpipes at Bridgewater and Serpentine will be decommissioned on September 30, giving water carters plenty of time to reconsider their current arrangements.

Once these facilities are closed, residents will have a choice of utilising one of five standpipes located across the Shire at Wedderburn, Pyramid Hill, Inglewood, Tarnagulla or Mitiamo.

Council considered the option of decommissioning the Mitiamo facility due to low usage. However, we listened and responded to a perceived community need for the standpipe to remain open.

It’s always a juggling act balancing community needs and delivering value for money to the ratepayers as a whole.

Council will continue to monitor usage at each of its five standpipe sites.

Last chance say on Tourism Strategy

I would like to remind residents and groups that public feedback on the Loddon Shire Council Draft Tourism Strategy 2016-2019 must be received by 9am next Monday (July 18).

Once completed, the five-year tourism strategy becomes the “go to” document in steering Council towards fine-tuning its market position.

The strategy focuses on five key areas in research, marketing, partnerships, product and industry development to draw an increasing number of people to visit and stay in Loddon Shire.

This is an important foundation document which will guide our direction over the next few years and considers a number of key tourism assets, activities, events and opportunities.

You can access the draft strategy by visiting Council’s website at www.loddon.vic.gov.au.

Fine tune your farming future

We have a strong and proud farming community here in Loddon, but times have been tough.

It comes as little surprise that Loddon Shire farmers are among those being encouraged to access The Victorian Government’s Farm Risk Management Grants Program.

The program provides eligible farm businesses with up to $10,000 to improve risk management, drought preparedness practices and enhance overall farm performance.

Rural Finance will deliver the grants which opened at the start of July and I would encourage farmers within the municipality who have been impacted by prolonged dry conditions to consider applying.

For further information contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or visit www.ruralfinance.com.au/industry-programs.

I would also like to draw to your attention a scholarship opportunity which is offered each year to between 10 and 15 Victorian farmers aged 35 and under.

Applications are currently open for The Upskill and Invest – Young Farmers Scholarship Program, which provides an opportunity to access up to $10,000 for a combination of training or study and on-farm professional development.

You can find out more by visiting www.business.vic.gov.au or contacting Council’s Economic Development Officer Christine Coombes on 5494 3003.

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