Mayoral Column 30 July 2018

Published on 30 July 2018

Be vigilant about farm theft

Farmers and community members are being asked to be vigilant about crime in rural areas, following a spate of burglaries this year, including thefts from farms and break-ins in some of our towns.

These thefts have included livestock and farm machinery as well as burglaries at businesses, at Pyramid Hill and Boort.

According to an ABC report, more than $1.5 million worth of livestock is stolen from farms across Victoria every year. However, due to under reporting of theft, the number is likely to be higher.

Understandably, this is an issue causing great frustration for our farmers and our rural communities. If you notice any suspicious activity, please get in touch with the Police. If you have any information relating to a farm theft (or break-in) please contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

Community Grants Scheme funding allocated

Twenty-six groups across the Shire will receive full or partial funding for their community projects, after Council allocated almost $142,000 in grants through the 2018/19 Community Grants Scheme.

This includes $10,000 towards the Stage 2 kitchen upgrade for the Wedderburn Bowling Club/Wedderburn Tennis Club and $10,000 towards the Inglewood Football Netball Club netball lights upgrade.

There were also $10,000 each in grants towards the installation of reverse cycle air-conditioning units at the Boort Memorial Hall and Pyramid Hill Memorial Hall, painting of the interior and exterior of the Serpentine Memorial Hall and the Pyramid Hill Preschool kitchen upgrade.

There was also an allocation of $9,821 towards the development of permanent sheep yards at the Rheola Recreation Reserve.

The funding allocations mentioned are just a small number of the 26 groups who have been given a financial boost to get their projects underway.

Council started the scheme to assist recreation, sporting and service organisations to deliver projects that improve the quality of life for residents. Since the Community Grants Scheme started in 2000/01, Council has provided around $2 million to support almost 700 community-based projects, worth more than $5 million.

Annual infrastructure program adopted

At its July meeting last week, Council adopted the Annual Infrastructure Program 2018-2019, which sets out the priority projects for Council over the coming financial year. 

The 2018/19 annual infrastructure program includes $380,000 for local road gravel resheets, $315,000 for local road shoulder resheets and $1.35 million for local road reconstruction – asset preservation and upgrade.

There is $45,000 for replacement of the guard rail on a bridge on Gowar Logan Road, $237,000 for township street improvements (to replace and install new footpaths) and $350,000 for urban and township drainage.

Additionally, there is $1.25 million for local bridges and culverts (which includes $650,000 in grants from the Commonwealth and State Governments for Woodstock Road Bridge over Murphy Creek), $603,725 for reseals on the sealed road network and $100,000 towards parks and gardens. There is also funding of $290,000 for public buildings owned and managed by Council.

Community satisfaction survey

The results of Council’s most recent community satisfaction survey are in, with 460 residents providing their thoughts about a range of Council services.

According to residents, Council’s top five performing areas included waste services (weekly rubbish collection and fortnightly recycling collection), immunisation, kindergartens and playgrounds.

With a score of 54, Council’s lobbying on behalf of the community was equal to the average for councils across the state and above the average for small rural councils.

Areas that residents named as needing improvement included financial management, leadership and regulatory services.

Council also received a lot of feedback about roads in our Shire, particularly in relation to roads that needed attention. Unfortunately, Council has been unable to follow up some of these issues as a particular road was not identified.

If you do identify an issue with a road, please contact Council on 5494 1200 so its friendly customer service team can put you in touch with the right staff member to report the problem.

Where roads were identified, Council is following up these comments by inspecting the road. If an issue is identified as a defect it is then resolved through Council’s general maintenance program (and within the timeframes set out in Council’s Road Management Plan).

Council will be conducting these community satisfaction surveys with different community members every quarter – this is to ensure we get a range of feedback from as many of our residents as possible. Therefore, you can expect to be asked to provide your feedback about once per year. 

Council also recognises that it is important for our community to understand the breadth of services it delivers to residents. Therefore, from the next Mayoral Column onwards, I’ll be including a “Did you know?” fact about Council. I hope this will help provide you with more information about Council, what it does, what it has achieved and its overall role in our community.