Mayoral Column 11 June 2018

Published on 11 June 2018

Research highlights social impacts of Basin Plan

Last Thursday 7 June, the Murray River Group of Councils released research into the personal cost and social impact the Murray Darling Basin Plan is having on communities in northern Victoria irrigation districts.

The research highlights the impacts on mental health, physical health and on family relationships due to the increased stress and uncertainty for irrigators dealing with higher water prices and increased farming risk.

Another finding of the research was that many people in these communities are concerned about the impact on resilience and that their communities’ capacity to adapt, especially at times of stress, has been eroded.

The research project, “Assessing the Social Impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on the Communities of Northern Victoria” was commissioned by the Murray River Group of Councils and conducted by consultants Ruth McGowan Ltd. It involved interviewing people across the region from a range of sectors including irrigators, water brokers, local business operators, rural financial counsellors and family support services.

The research is clear about the fact that our northern Victoria communities are not against the Basin Plan, but rather that the Plan needs to be implemented in a way that maintains our communities’ way of life, including growing healthy food for the nation.

For more information visit

Reconciliation Action Plan survey

Council wants your thoughts on a proposed Reconciliation Action Plan, including how Council could proceed with the development of the plan.

Reconciliation Action Plans generally guide organisations in building greater awareness, understanding and respectful relationships between our wider community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

While a Reconciliation Action Plan is a new development for Council, there has been an ongoing commitment to reconciliation activities. This includes flying the Aboriginal flag during Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC week, and more recently, adopting a policy and acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land at Council civic functions, business activities and in Council publications. 

You can complete the survey online at

Hard copies of the survey are also available from the Boort Resource and Information Centre (BRIC), Pyramid Hill Neighbourhood House, Inglewood Community Neighbourhood House, Wedderburn Community House and Council’s Serpentine and Wedderburn offices.

Surveys close at 5pm on Friday 29 June.

For more information regarding the survey, please contact Council’s Policy and Strategy Officer Christine Walters on 5494 1239 or email

To find out more about Reconciliation Action Plans and to view an example, visit 

Don’t forget to register your business

Following on from a recent discussion in our community regarding the need for more hairdressing and beauty services (such as manicures, waxing, spray tanning and makeup), Council would like to remind residents that businesses providing these services must be registered with the Shire.

Whether you’re operating a mobile salon visiting clients in their home, operating a business from your own home or a salon down the street, registration with Council is required under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008. Registration also ensures these businesses are operating to the required health standards and helps protect residents from the risk of infectious diseases being spread via inappropriate practices.

If you’re not sure if the business you are using for hairdressing or beauty services is registered with Council you should request to view their registration certificate.

To find out more, call Council’s Public Health Services on 5494 1200.

Separation Tree sapling planted

Last Monday 4 June it was an honour to attend a ceremony to plant a sapling grown from the seed of Victoria’s historic Separation Tree.

The 400 year old Separation Tree, located in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, marked the site where people gathered on 15 November 1850 to celebrate the news that Victoria was to become a separate colony from New South Wales.

A river red gum, the Separation Tree was extensively damaged by two vandalism attacks in 2010 and 2013 and despite efforts to save the tree, in January 2015 it was announced the tree was dying.

Saplings from the seed of the tree were propagated and are being distributed around Victoria in a partnership between the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Victoria Day Council.

One of those saplings now has pride of place at Boort on the north western corner of the lake near Federation Walk.

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