Mayoral Column 29 October 2018

Published on 29 October 2018

Drought preparedness and support welcomed

Loddon Shire Council has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford of a $25 million drought preparedness and support package for farming communities in Northern Victoria. The package also supports families in East and Central Gippsland.

The package includes targeted support for mental health, small business planning and support for parents in farming communities to manage the cost of living pressures.

There is more than $2 million for mental health and wellbeing services, with $180,000 funding dedicated to the National Centre for Farmer Health to deliver health checks to farmers.

Northern Victorian farmers will also be able to apply to the Drought Infrastructure Grant Program which has had an $11.8 million boost.

There is also $1 million to provide expert technical and business support to help farmers make early decisions around farm management, including animal health, feed budgeting and land management.

Additionally, the drought assistance package includes $1 million for wild pest and animal control programs.

Neighbourhood safer places

At its meeting on 23 October, Council adopted the most recent Loddon Shire Council Neighbourhood Safer Places Plan – September 2018, following an annual inspection by the CFA of current Neighbourhood Safer Places (NSPs).

The plan includes and confirms designated NSPs within our municipality in the townships of Boort, Bridgewater, Inglewood, Pyramid Hill, Serpentine and Wedderburn.

Neighbourhood Safer Places are located at:
• Boort – Recreation Reserve (oval only)
• Bridgewater – Memorial Hall (grounds only)
• Inglewood – J Sloan Park Playground (between the swimming pool and tennis courts)
• Pyramid Hill – Mitchell Park Recreation Reserve (oval only)
• Serpentine – Recreation Reserve (Janiember Park) (oval only)
• Wedderburn – Donaldson Park (oval area only)

NSPs are places of last resort when personal bushfire survival plans cannot be implemented or have failed. They are not community fire refuges or emergency relief centres. They do not replace any planning you have in place to respond to a fire nor a response to emergency alerts – including evacuation warnings.

I urge our community to visit the CFA website to find out more about NSPs at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/neighbourhood-safer-places/ 

Young Farmer of the Year congratulations

I’d like to congratulate Mycelia Organics founder Chris McLoghlin who was named Young Farmer of the Year at the recent Australian Farmer of the Year Awards held in Canberra. Mr McLoghlin also won the award for Excellence in Technology.

Mr McLoghlin, who is also Mycelia Organics’ Director of Development, operates the company over three sites, including at Newbridge (the ScatoPlus mushroom compost facility has recently come under the Mycelia Organics banner). The other sites are located at Lockwood and Diggers Rest.

In addition, Mr McLoghlin helped found escaVox, which aims to improve supply chain tracking for the chilled goods industry. He has also been involved in the development of compostable packaging solutions and software and hardware solutions to help automation and efficiency in harvesting of mushrooms.

Did you know?

Council must undertake an annual review of all designated Neighbourhood Safer Places within the municipality, and request the CFA to undertake its own yearly assessment of each of these NSPs against the CFA Fire Rating Criteria.

This is to ensure that each NSP remains suitable for use during the upcoming fire season.