Mayoral Column 26 June 2017

Published on 26 June 2017

Flood recovery works update

As promised in a previous column, this week I want to provide an update to our community around the progress of works to restore infrastructure following the 2016 flooding.

My last update highlighted that in addition to the completion of three smaller jobs, a further 11 projects valued at $500,000 had been awarded to contractors and were underway. I can now report that of these 11 jobs, 10 have been completed. The remaining projects for the restoration works will be put out to tender later this year.  

Maintenance on our road network also continues to take place to rectify a number of minor issues caused by the flooding to ensure our roads continue to be in a safe and useable condition.

Council is also advertising for two key flood recovery positions in the team, due to the recent departure of a couple of staff. Additionally, the team will be seeking further resources to deliver the flood recovery works program as quickly as possible.

As I mentioned in an earlier column, more than 2100 assets were damaged in the flooding, resulting in an estimated repair cost of around $10 million. The Commonwealth Government has committed to provide funding under the Federal National Disaster Recovery and Relief Arrangements to restore these assets.

Under the funding arrangements, all repair works must be undertaken by contractors (not Council). Council’s role instead is to scope the works (all works must also be approved by VicRoads) and procure the services of contractors to do the work.

Any repair works can only bring that asset back to its pre-flood condition, with any additional upgrades to that asset funded by Council. For example, an unsealed road damaged by flooding will be brought back to its original unsealed condition – it cannot be sealed under this funding arrangement. 

National General Assembly wrap up

Last week I attended the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra with Councillor Cheryl McKinnon and Chief Executive Officer Phil Pinyon.

I am pleased to report that the motion Loddon Shire Council put to the National General Assembly to advocate the Federal Government regarding funding of critical flood mitigation infrastructure for communities was successful. The motion was seconded by City of West Torrens in South Australia and was carried without debate.

You may recall from my last column, that the motion requested the funding should be on a 50 per cent share basis between relevant state governments and the Commonwealth. The motion also called for local councils to be exempt from putting in funding towards the initial cost of flood mitigation works (as councils are responsible for flood infrastructure once it’s constructed).

The National General Assembly also gave Loddon Shire the opportunity, as part of the Murray River Group of Councils, to talk about our regional priorities including with Federal Government representatives.

Topics included water security, energy availability and affordability for our communities and industries, investment in key regional roads to improve safety and economic efficiency, digital connectivity, infrastructure and tourism.

Loddon Mallee waste info app

The Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group (of which Loddon Shire is a member) has launched a new waste information app to help our residents make quick and simple waste and recycling decisions.

The information app provides you with a personalised bin collection calendar (with optional reminders), information on materials and their correct bin, and hints and tips. It will also provide waste and recycling services and facilities information (including contact details, opening times and maps), and lets you report a problem directly to Council.

The free app, which is available through the App Store or Google Play, aims to reduce contamination and increase recycling levels. Just search under Loddon Mallee Waste and download on your device.