Mayoral Column 20 January 2014

Published on 20 January 2014

Jobs training a top priority

A ground-breaking jobs summit held at Boort last April has paved the way for a continuing series of valuable industry skills training programs in Loddon Shire.

Agrifood Skills Australia – organiser of the Boort initiative – works with rural industry, government, education and training providers to meet the skills and workforce needs of industry.

Last year, it launched AgriFood National Regional Initiatives, a new economic and employment effort which aims to confront the ingrained employment and job retention problems endemic to regional communities.

The initiative was rolled out across four regions – the Loddon Mallee, the Western Downs in Queensland, the Warren-Blackwood electoral district in south-west Western Australia and Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

At the time, Loddon Mallee Regional Development Manager Graeme Lynas described the move as “a game-changer for the Buloke, Gannawarra and Loddon Shires”.
Since then, Council’s Rural Co-ordination and Development Manager, Brian Hinneberg, has joined the local steering group.

The latest in AgriFood NRI’s training opportunities in Loddon Shire is running at Wedderburn Community House this week.

A Farm Chemical Users course delivered by GO-TAFE is planned for tomorrow and Wednesday, covering such areas as the safe use of chemicals, legal requirements, protective equipment, chemical types and boom spray applications.

The eight-part “Digital Strategy101” course resumes on 11 February at Inglewood, with the following three sessions planned for Boort, Wedderburn and Pyramid Hill between now and mid-March.

Others in the pipeline include a “Managing Your Office” workshop in Tarnagulla, promising valuable tips on setting up an office, systems and processes, record-keeping, filing systems, archiving, good communication and how to hold farm meetings.

A workshop planned for Pyramid Hill in mid-February will focus on advanced spray application, while others elsewhere will look at grain handling and training for relief milkers on dairy farms. 

For more information, phone Graeme Lynas on 0427 403 100.

Join in the celebrations

The details of next Sunday’s Australia Day ceremonies around the Shire have now been well publicised, so please plan to join with your local community in congratulating our local award winners and celebrating our national day together.

In Boort and Wedderburn, there will also be the opportunity to welcome several new Australian citizens.

Eyes on the water

This weekend, the Bridgewater Water Ski Club will again host the Australian Masters Water Ski Championship, featuring some of Australia’s best skiers in trick skiing, slalom and jumps.

The day has been supported by Council with a $1,000 grant under the latest round of its Events Sponsorship Scheme. 

Sponsorships from local businesses have allowed prize money to be offered, with the best short-line slalom score receiving $500 and the longest jump distance $500.

Entries have been received from Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and across Victoria.

Club publicity officer Lee Bray said all ages would be represented.

“We have possibly Australia’s youngest tournament skier with seven-year-old Isabella Shaw, from New South Wales, in the under 10 category,” Lee said.

“We also have Australia’s most senior tournament skier in Maggie Storey competing in the over 65 division.

“The program starts with slalom at 8.15am on Saturday, followed by trick events at around 2pm and concluding with jumps at around 4pm. 

“The finals on Sunday will follow the same format.

“Due to the closure of the Bridgewater Public Caravan Park, the event is best viewed from the northern (or Inglewood) side of the river and catering from Bridgewater Bakehouse will be on-site.”

Bowlers rolling on

Boort Bowling Club will celebrate its centenary next Sunday (26 Jan.) with a day of sport and socialising.

The club still plays on the ground in Godfrey St it was originally granted by the Council of the time in 1914.

President Ken Birt said he was expecting around 60 players on the day, as well as visits by a number of former members who are no longer active.

“We’ll play combinations of triples starting at 12.30pm, with afternoon tea to follow,” he said.

“We expect to see players from Echuca, Gisborne, Wycheproof, Wedderburn, Charlton, Donald and Kerang, along with our district teams.”

Prize money of $1,000 is on offer and, again, the day has been supported by Council under the latest round of its Events Sponsorship Scheme. 

Entries, at $10 per player, close this Thursday (23 Jan.) at 6pm. To register, or for more details, please phone Ken Birt on 5455 2224 or Dawn Cooper on 5455 2151.

Honour an achiever

The deadline for nominations for the Victorian Young Achiever Awards for 2014 is now just days away.

This is an opportunity to recognise young people in Loddon Shire up to 28 years of age who are making a significant contribution to their local community.

There are seven categories to be decided, after which the overall winner – the Victorian State Young Achiever of the Year – will be chosen.

Award winners will be announced in May at a gala dinner at Etihad Stadium, where each winner will receive a trophy plus $2,000.

Nominations are open until this Wednesday (22 Jan.). For more information or to download a nomination form, visit

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