Message from the Mayor 1 July 2020
Winter is upon us and the year is passing way too quickly! Much anticipated follow up rainfall is trickling in, and we live in hope that it does in fact arrive.
As we continue to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, our community’s safety remains paramount. Nothing has brought home the truth more than the COVID-19 pandemic - we are indeed lucky to live where we do!
It’s vital that we all keep following social distancing and hygiene rules in order to keep COVID at bay. As a Council, we continue to disseminate relevant information in our community through our various communication channels. Our messaging is informed by the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and State and Federal counterparts and is simple and consistent.
The easing of restrictions has seen a cautious re-entry to ‘normality’. While it has been warmly welcomed, it has also presented more challenges as we grapple with new rules. I congratulate our businesses for embracing the COVID rules and thank you all for so graciously following them. We know it’s been tough for our small businesses and I urge you to shop local as a priority.
Council is busy. Life goes on and we are continuing to deliver in a myriad of ways, each and every day. Council’s initiative to workshop pressing issues prior to our monthly Council Meeting is proving beneficial. It is, however, challenging via video link! Nothing replaces face-to-face engagement, but adaptability is the name of the game in our current environment.
During June, Council held both a Budget Workshop and an Extraordinary Council Meeting, finalising the draft budget. Prioritising the money we spend on infrastructure and associated maintenance on this critical component of Council’s business is not an exact science and requires much deliberation. As is clearly identified, we have $7 million worth of capital grant money to expend, which is a huge opportunity for a small rural Council.
Council has also been fortunate to secure a second $1 million dollars for Drought Communities Programme - Extension. This money will be injected directly into our three communities, helping to make vibrant and welcoming communities for residents and visitors alike.
The money also will enable us to retain the services of our Drought Support Officer, Sam Star, who is providing an invaluable communication stream detailing access and service links to a wide range of assistance and up-skilling opportunities.
Major Projects across the Council footprint continue to progress. The sporting change rooms at Darlington Point are completed and are an amazing end product - coupled with renewed vigour, the surrounds look first class and ready for action when, and if, that happens.
The Lions Park amenities and display pavilion in Darlington Point are also moving ahead, and certainly provide an impressive entry point to the northern entrance of Darlington Point.
Tenders have closed for the Sporting Precinct Development in Coleambally. The Bencubbin Road project is progressing to commencement and the Jerilderie Swimming Pool project is on target and on time.
In closing, I would like to congratulate the Southern Riverina News who have extended their reach into Coleambally and Darlington Point. Our local papers are a vital way of communicating with our people and it’s tremendous that we can reach our northern residents through print media again. Council will take a weekly full page ad to support the SRN in this initiative. I congratulate them on their foresight and wish them well in this new endeavor.
Congratulations to all of the 2020 Australia Day Citizenship and Community Awards.
Water and better management of the Murray Darling Basin has been on the agenda this week with the release of a key position paper on water. The paper recommends major changes to the way water is managed.
I would like to begin by thanking everyone who has provided feedback on the Town Revitalisation Project. Throughout the last two weeks we have received a tremendous amount of input and ideas about ways to revitalise our townships.
Another week at the coal face. While acknowledging the very real challenge and urgency of trying to contain this insidious virus, we must continue to do all in our power to support those trying to conduct business, those delivering our aged care and health services and those educating and caring for our children. Our community’s sustainability depends on it.
It’s Local Government Week 2020, and at Murrumbidgee Council we are using the event to highlight the broad range of services we offer to our community, including some surprising and little-known services.
We have certainly had an icy blast in the last week, which thankfully brought with it some good follow up rains. It is exciting to see the lights up and working at Jerilderie’s Monash Park. This project was funded by Council through a $158,000 grant from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund. The junior teams and key personnel are using the lights, which is great.
We’re already in September and are certainly getting on with things. Needless to say, we’re still very much in a state of uncertainty. The everyday need to conduct business is challenging and frustrating. Our geographical location quite clearly demonstrates strong pathways and linkages both to the east and south. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, a considered rationale will enable our region to move again. At Council, we, like other businesses, are continuing to deliver our essential services. We’re also continuing to advocate for movement with every other aspect.