Loddon Shire Council - Mayoral Column - 14 March 2012
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 News>Mayoral Column - 14 March 2012    
Mayoral Column - 14 March 2012  Printer Friendly

Showing a healthy interest
I travelled to Newbridge last week for our second session with the Sustainable Farm Families project, a terrific program which addresses farmer health, well-being and safety issues through health awareness and education workshops.

Sustainable Farm Families was initiated by two health professionals at the Western District Health Service in Hamilton in 2003, but is now delivered in partnership with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries and other agencies.

Since its inception, providers have delivered 151 programs for more than 2400 farmers through 220 partnerships forged with government and community agencies.

This free, medium to long-term program aims to care for people affected by natural disasters and ongoing change, with stress and depression a common result of events such as the floods in our region of 2010-11.

Last July, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced that community groups from 12 flood-affected areas would take part in a new round of the Sustainable Farm Families project.

In Loddon Shire, two groups, at Serpentine and Newbridge, were successful in gaining funding for programs to be delivered by Inglewood & Districts Health Service.

Farmers work long hours, often far from town, and making time for health checks and personal well-being is often the last thing on their minds.

Each SFF program involves three workshops, normally delivered at yearly intervals. However, to support flood-affected farmers, these sessions can be spaced to six months apart.

Participants receive information and health assessments in such areas as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, farm safety, nutrition, physical activity, anxiety and depression.

For enquiries about the program, please phone Inglewood & Districts Health Service on 5431 7000.

New post created
Loddon Shire is looking to the future with the appointment of Brian Hinneberg to the newly created position of Rural Co-ordination and Development Manager.

Brian, who takes up his new role next Monday (19 March), came to Council in March 2011 as Flood Recovery Manager, charged with helping the Shire recover from the effects of the severe floods of the previous summer.

He brought with him extensive experience with the Victorian Government in economic and regional development.

Brian’s position will be funded by the Department of Primary Industries for the first six months, then Council will cover the remainder of the year.

His primary focus this year will continue to be on flood recovery, including helping with farm-specific issues, keeping in touch with water authorities, primary industry representatives and businesses and facilitating outreach services to farmers, farm families and rural small businesses.

Fire rules still apply
Farmers will welcome the official closure of the declared fire danger period this week as their opportunity to burn off stubble and piles of old tree branches and clean up around their properties.

However, it’s not a free-for-all – there are still legal requirements for anyone lighting a fire in the open.

Peter Taylor, Operations Officer for District 20, based at Kerang, said he was expecting a lot of burning off to take place this year.

“The official fire danger period ends at 1am on 13 March, but there are still requirements under the Summary Offences Act,” Peter said.

“There must be a person in attendance, a firebreak all round of three metres and neighbours must have at least two hours’ notice. Property owners are also required to tell VicFire that a burn-off is planned.

“Loddon Shire has two major highways running through it and plenty of people use those roads. If anyone sees a fire burning, they are urged to call 000.

“If that fire has been registered with VicFire, all will be well. If not, however, the CFA might be called out in the middle of the night.”

Peter also cautioned farmers about burning on roadsides, which is technically illegal because that land is not theirs.

VicFire can be contacted on 1800 668 511.
They’re off and racing
This Sunday’s race meeting at Boort (18 March) will be a heartfelt time of celebration for the Boort Harness Racing Club, as members welcome the return of the sport to their home track.

It’s been seven years since the club has been free to hold events at Boort Park and organisers have been planning for a day to remember.

The packed program will include the Boort Pacing Cup and Boort Trotters Cup – each carrying prizemoney of $14,000 – Fashions on the Field, pony trots, yabby races, stalls selling local produce and a sit-down lunch.

Loddon Shire has supported the club’s marketing and promotional efforts with a $1000 grant and encourages both the Boort and Wedderburn harness racing clubs to seek future backing through Council’s Event Support Scheme.

Gates open at Boort Park at 11am and the first race starts at 1.24pm. Entry costs $10 for adults, with children free. For more information, phone John Campbell on 0437 077 887 or club secretary John Davidson on 5437 8330.
Our best wishes go to the Boort club for a most successful event.
Special events planned
Special events planned for this Sunday (18 March) in Loddon Shire will showcase the work of two valued community groups and raise much-needed funds for one.

The Wedderburn Men’s Shed is hosting an observation car trial and open day to promote its activities.

The car trial starts at 9am and ends at noon back at the Shed. During the afternoon, there will be a free sausage sizzle, train rides and a jumping castle for the children and prizes to be won.

The cost is $5 per vehicle. For more details, phone Doug on 5494 3588 or Geoff on 5494 3206.

Further south, the Inglewood Football Netball Club will hold its Monster Clearing Sale at 9am on the Inglewood football oval.

To be conducted by F.P Nevins & Co., the auction will include household goods, antiques, lawn mowers and furniture.

According to organiser Wade Roberts, they will even have four old Holden utes for sale.

“We were unable to hold our annual fishing competition this year due to lack of numbers, despite the fact that we were offering a $10,000 first prize,” Wade said.

“We will have other fundraisers during the year, but we’re hoping this auction will act as a financial springboard for us as we start the season next month.”

Goods can be donated or sold on consignment. These can be delivered to the oval next Saturday, from noon till 4pm. For more details, or to arrange pick-ups, phone Wade on 0408 142 357 or Jon on 0428 383 808.

If you’re free on Sunday, please come out and support these hard-working community groups.
Flood trauma to the east
Our hearts go out to the many people in northern Victoria and the Riverina who have been affected in any way by the latest floods. Here in Loddon Shire, we know all too well the trauma and upset that result from natural disasters such as these.

Our thoughts are certainly with all those who are suffering loss, damage or dislocation due to flooding and hope they find the relief and support they so clearly need.

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