Mayoral Column 18 April 2016

Published on 18 April 2016

Lobbying for vital irrigation infrastructure

Agriculture, agribusiness and associated tourism ventures are the lifeblood of Loddon Shire.

Decisions made about water, and the irrigation systems which feed our farming sector, have the power to make or break us.

The Goulburn Murray Water Connections program provides a critical link in meeting the irrigation needs which underpin the productivity of key water intensive livestock, cereal and milk production industries within our municipality.

Council is committed to securing a sustainable agricultural future for Loddon Valley and has submitted a firmly focused response to the mid-term review of stage 2 of the Goulburn Murray Water Connections project.

It’s crucial for our Shire’s future prosperity that the project, developed to build a modernised irrigation connections system, is delivered as it was designed and promised in the Loddon Valley area.

As such, Council’s submission details the reasons the project must be completed across the entire region as initially outlined.

Loddon Shire acting CEO Marg Allan, Terrick Ward Councillor Cheryl McKinnon, Wedderburn Ward Councillor Gavan Holt and I have been actively lobbying on behalf of the large number of farmers within our Shire who rely on the delivery of an efficient irrigation system to feed future productivity.

In recent weeks we have presented the case for supporting high value agriculture in Loddon Shire by meeting with Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan.

Our Council will continue to impress upon all concerned the importance of this once in a lifetime opportunity being delivered as it was designed and promised.

The submission “Response from Loddon Shire Council to the mid-term review of the GMW connections project stage 2” is available to view on our Council website here.

Inglewood fuel spill update

Council will continue to meet with Inglewood residents on a needs basis, as work within the vicinity of the recent chemical spill continues for what is expected to be several weeks.

A community meeting held last week helped residents understand potential long term issues surrounding ground water, vegetation and odour and what needs to be done to minimise the spill’s environmental impact.

Work to be undertaken in the coming weeks includes removal of fuel contaminated soil, sections of the drain and soil underneath which may contain fuel.

Under EPA guidance, Council has built a temporary secure bunker for the contaminated soil to be stored at the Inglewood Tip.

We’ve also been assisting Vic Roads with traffic control and will ensure drainage infrastructure removed throughout the operation is replaced.

Residents who may benefit from counselling following the incident are encouraged to contact Inglewood and Districts Health Service on 5431 7000 to arrange an appointment.

For any other concerns or queries you can talk to a member of our incident recovery team by phoning the Wedderburn Council office on 5494 1200 or Serpentine Office on 5437 7999.

Taking a stand against domestic violence

The Loddon Mallee region has the second highest incidence of reported family violence in the state.

While reported incidents within Loddon Shire are lower than some other municipalities within the broader region, every single incident, reported or unreported, has broad reaching and long lasting ramifications for those affected.

At our Council meeting in November last year, we resolved to become a signatory to a commitment statement for The Loddon Mallee Action Plan for the Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women 2016 – 2019.

However, it is an issue Loddon Shire has long demonstrated an active awareness of, through initiatives such as introducing a family violence clause in its staff enterprise agreement in November 2011.

Last Tuesday, Loddon Mallee Women’s Health CEO Linda Beilharz presented Council with a plaque acknowledging Council’s commitment to the Loddon Mallee Action Plan.

To date, the plan has resulted in a number of preventative actions being taken in Loddon Mallee to address family violence and its contributing factors.

Some of these include the development of the Loddon Mallee Takes a Stand Workplace Resource Kit and Bystander Training, providing education focused resources for our schools, supporting public awareness media campaigns and joining together for White Ribbon Day.

By signing the plan we have committed ourselves to taking a leadership role in helping to educate and re-educate our communities about this important issue.

Standing united with others by signing a commitment statement is just a first step.

Hard rubbish collection dates

Our hard rubbish collection dates are always eagerly anticipated and we have one coming up at the very start of next month, so read on and diarise it so you don’t miss out!

Residents of Boort, Pyramid Hill, Mitiamo, Dingee, Serpentine, Borung, Wychitella, Korong Vale, Wedderburn, Inglewood, Bridgewater, Newbridge, Tarnagulla, Laanecoorie and Eddington are welcome to place items such as white goods and old bed frames on the nature strip on Sunday 1 May.

Residents in the Logan area may deposit hard waste at a collection point located on the Logan Kingower Road, opposite the Avoca Forest Hotel.

Fenton’s Creek residents can leave hard waste at a collection point located adjacent to the Fenton’s Creek Hall on Sunday 1 May.

Council staff will begin collecting hard rubbish from these locations on Monday 2 May, but excessive or unsorted piles will be left untouched.

Residents are also reminded that perishables, tyres, oils, batteries, paints, chemicals, car parts, mattresses, televisions, computers and garbage won’t be collected.