Mayoral Column 18 May 2015

Published on 18 May 2015

Draft budget released

Council has released its draft budget for 2015-16 for public comment. Copies of the Draft Budget will be available for inspection from Monday 18 May 2015 to Monday 15 June 2015 at the Shire Offices Wedderburn and Serpentine between 8.15am and 4.45pm and at post offices, resource centres and neighbourhood house premises within the municipality.  The Draft Budget can also be accessed on Council’s website at: http://www.loddon.vic.gov.au/Our-documents/Financial-reports/Budget.

It will include a proposed roads, streets, bridges, and drainage capital works program of $4.8 million, which includes expenditure on local road construction of $1.63 million, resealing works totalling $970,000, road gravel resheeting worth $560,000, urban drainage to the value of $430,000, bridges and culverts worth $420,000, township street improvements of $320,000 and road shoulder resheeting totalling $250,000.

In 2014-15, Council budgeted $4 million for its Capital Works Program. With only seven weeks left in the financial year, Council has completed 90% of the works.

As part of this program, 25km of gravel roads and more than 20km of gravel shoulders have been resheeted costing $950,000.

We have also seen a number of major rehabilitation works completed on Council’s sealed road network at the cost of $1.32 million.

The projects that have been completed in this financial year include the Borung Hurstwood Road, Rheola Llanelly Road, Pyramid Yarraberb Road and the Bridgewater Raywood Road.

Council has also completed urban drainage projects worth $250,000, its resealing program of $580,000 and bridges and culvert works totalling $200,000.

Loddon Shire Council is committed to providing a well maintained road network for its residents.

Businesses unite as a network

The Loddon Valley Business Network held its inaugural meeting two months ago, with business operators providing great feedback to Loddon Shire Council.

The Shire is hopeful the network will become a tourism driving force, working towards a cohesive business community united in increasing visitor bed nights and boosting the local economy.

The next event will be held tonight (Tuesday 19 May) and includes a demonstration to business owners on the use of Instagram.

The evening will also include the launch of the Loddon Valley eBook and app, along with three local operators presenting to the business network event.

To register attendance, contact the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on 5494 1257 or email ssteel@loddon.vic.gov.au.

The event will be held at Blue Eucy Museum, Grant Street Inglewood between 6pm and 9pm.

Smoking bans in public spaces

Smoking bans have been implemented to protect Victorians from second-hand smoke.

The bans, established under the Tobacco Amendment Act 2014, are now in force.

Smoking is now banned on the grounds of, and within four metres of, an entrance to hospitals and community health services, schools, childcare centres, kindergartens and preschools, and many government buildings including courts and police stations.

People caught smoking in these off-limit areas risk on-the-spot finds of $147. The maximum penalty under the legislation is five penalty units, which is currently $738.

I urge everyone to avoid smoking near school and preschool entrances in Loddon Shire. We want to make sure the places where our children learn and grow are smoke free.

Too many Victorians still die from smoking. These bans are a key step in reducing the harm caused by tobacco.

Businesses get digital

Loddon’s business operators were invited to take part in a digital marketing workshop as part of Bendigo Regional Tourism’s Digital Marketing 101 Program.

The workshop, which was held at the Blue Eucy Museum in Inglewood, had a number of business operators attend.

Loddon Shire Council encouraged tourism operators to attend the workshop to help with the professional development for their business.

It is great to see business operators being so proactive in the use of technology for their media and marketing initiatives.

Ambulance services

The recent inquiry into ambulance services in Victoria has revealed that Loddon Shire has one of the slowest ambulance response times in the state.

The issue of an ambulance service has long been a vexed question in the Wedderburn community.

Last Monday, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health in Victoria, Mary-Anne Thomas MP, attended a very well-attended public meeting in Wedderburn on the issue.

Attendees at the meeting raised their concerns, and it was promised that these would be taken back to the Health Minister.