Mayoral Column 16 November 2015

Published on 16 November 2015

Photo caption: Peter Magnone behind the wheel of a new water truck carrying out maintenance works in the Prairie area.

Inglewood Alive an example of community spirit

There’s nothing quite like a community festival to bring people together and the Lions Inglewood Alive Festival is set to do just that.

Now in its fourth year, the annual event is poised to draw local families and tourists to enjoy Inglewood’s old style charm and community spirit.

The Festival is a wonderful example of how people can band together to turn a negative into a positive, with the event being a legacy of the recovery project designed to bring people back into town after the devastating floods which impacted the Shire in January 2011.

Many will recall caravan parks being wiped out and roads made inaccessible, having dire consequences for individuals and businesses alike.

While government funding for the festival was initially provided to help offset losses, the community has embraced the event, which is now made possible only through the financial and practical support of our tight knit community.

To keep that community spirit alive and well, make sure you pop Saturday 5 December on your calendar and come along to Inglewood.

You’ll be treated to a host of events including the Wimmera Axemen’s Victorian Championship Wood Chop, classic vehicle and engine displays, live entertainment, market stalls, rock and roll dancing, face painting and jumping castles for the kids.

To date some 40 stalls have registered their intent to line Brooke Street, which will be closed off to traffic.

If you would like to add to the growing number of stalls by making a booking, phone Joy on 0408 501 641.

Income support for farmers at hand

Members of our farming community feeling the pinch may be able to take advantage of government assistance available through the Farm Household Allowance.

While I acknowledge that farmers traditionally have a reputation for being proudly independent, I would encourage them to seek available assistance when facing hardship which impacts the family.

The Farm Household Allowance is a farmer specific income support payment with a substantially more generous asset test than for other social security payments.

While many district farmers are currently facing drought, you don’t need to be in drought to apply for the Australia-wide allowance.

Payments are tailored to suit the specific circumstances of farmers and their partners, providing up to three years of household income.

I would encourage farmers and their partners to refrain from self-assessing their eligibility.

Instead contact the Department of Human Services for further information or application assistance by phoning 132 316 or visit humanservices.gov.au/farmhouseholdallowance.

Bpay option for debtor accounts available

Residents of Loddon Shire Council have more payment options available to them following the introduction of Bpay for debtor accounts.

Council introduced the initiative after receiving several requests for the service to be made available to residents.

After carrying out testing to ensure the payment process will run smoothly, we’re now pleased to be able to offer this time efficient option, previously only available with rates charges.

While residents are able to begin using Bpay for debtor accounts right away, residents can expect to receive a flyer about this new initiative with their November statement.

Bpay can be particularly convenient in country areas like ours where it isn’t just a hop and a skip down to the bank and we expect many to take advantage of this convenient payment option.

New fleet equipment being put to the test

Residents may have noticed Council workers road testing new fleet equipment in the last couple of weeks.

This follows the works department receiving items ordered as part of Council’s Plant Replacement program.

Among the ordered equipment are two new water trucks to be added to the existing fleet.

One of these recently had its first run as part of grading works taking place on Uptons Road in the Prairie area. The second is due to arrive early in the year.

Three new combination rollers have also been ordered to replace equipment ready for retirement.

One of the rollers earmarked for retirement was moved across from the Shire of Korong during the Council amalgamation process and has been in service since 1984.

Two new replacement tractors, designed to tow the combination rollers, have arrived and are being put to good use by crew members carrying out road grading works.

Automated level control has also been fitted to Council graders, allowing for greater efficiency when undertaking road construction works.