Mayoral Column 16 October 2017

Published on 16 October 2017

Fire Action Week 2017 – the right time to prepare

Further to my column a couple of weeks ago regarding preparing your home for the upcoming fire season, the Victorian Government has declared this week to be Fire Action Week.

Fire Action Week 2017, which started last Friday and runs until the 20 October, is Victoria's annual fire planning and preparation awareness week. It signals the start of the Victorian Government's annual summer fire campaign in partnership with emergency services.

Fire Action Week is an opportunity to better understand your fire risk. Talk to your family, friends and neighbours about your plans, and make sure you know when to leave and where to go to stay safe.

Make sure you know where to check Fire Danger Ratings (Vic Emergency website and app). Over summer, you'll need to check the ratings daily to understand the fire risk in your area. Remember, as ratings increase, so does your risk of fire.

Leaving early means leaving before a fire starts on high-risk days, not when you can see flames or smell smoke. Leaving early means avoiding panic, being trapped or making wrong decisions that could be dire.

Use Fire Action Week to prepare your home and property – taking the right steps now will help make your decisions in an emergency easier and clearer. This includes clearing long grass, leaves, twigs, branches, loose bark, undergrowth and vegetation, clearing gutters and removing rubbish and other flammable material from around your home, such boxes, furniture and woodpiles.

For more information on how to get prepared, visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au

Murray Basin Rail Project

Works are continuing on the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project, which will improve rail freight services and reduce the costs of carrying freight.
 
Works on the Mildura and Hopetoun lines were completed as part of stage one last year, and stage two of the project is currently underway. This includes upgrades to the Maryborough to Yelta and Ouyen to Murrayville freight lines and work to reopen the Maryborough to Ararat freight lines.
 
The next stage of the project will involve works in the Loddon Shire, including gauge conversion and upgrade works on freight lines from Dunolly to Manangatang and Korong Vale to Sea Lake.
 
The Yelta to Dunolly line is currently not open to rail traffic so there are more trains travelling via the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines. I ask locals and visitors to stay alert and please make sure you always obey the warning signs at level crossings and take care around trains. 
 
At its peak, the Murray Basin Rail Project is expected to employ more than 400 people, with at least 15 per cent of the workforce recruited from the north west of the state. Teams will also stay in the area where they’re working. This, of course, will have a positive economic impact on our region, including a boost for food and accommodation providers. Local businesses are encouraged to register their interest in supplying goods and services to the project – again, this is great for our region.
 
For more information regarding the Murray Basin Rail Project visit www.vline.com.au/murraybasinrail, email murraybasinrail@vline.com.au or call 1800 800 007.
 
Local businesses can register their interest in supplying goods and services to the project via opportunities@mcdmartinusjv.com.

Council’s customer service – your feedback needed

Council is asking the community to provide feedback regarding its customer service and areas for improvement, via a short survey which is open now.

The survey, which only takes five minutes to complete, asks for your thoughts on Council’s current customer service and how it could be improved.
 
All responses are confidential, and I encourage community members to fill out the survey so Council can get feedback from as many residents (and visitors) as possible.

The feedback will help shape Council’s Customer Service Strategy and Customer Service Charter, therefore ensuring that Council is delivering what our community expects in terms of good customer service.

If you’re attending upcoming events such as the Wedderburn Open Gardens, Pyramid Hill Fiesta and Inglewood Alive Festival, keep an eye out for a Loddon Shire staff member. This staff member may ask you to fill out the survey and provide your experience of Council’s customer service.

The survey is open until 13 November. Community members who fill out the survey have the chance to enter the draw to win a hamper of local produce valued at $100.

Surveys are available online from www.loddon.vic.gov.au, or you can complete the survey online at Council’s Wedderburn office during business hours.

Hard copies of the survey are also available from Loddon Shire Council offices, community centres and post offices throughout the Shire. Hard copies can also be mailed to residents. 

For more information or to get a hard copy of the survey mailed to you, call Council on 5494 1200.

Community workshops regarding Council’s customer service will be held in the approaching months. Details around the dates and locations of the community workshops will be advertised in the coming weeks.