Mayoral Matters - March 2019

Published on 12 March 2019

Mayoral Matters - March 2019

As we get closer and closer to Easter, it’s an opportune time to provide an update from Northern Grampians Shire Council as there’s been plenty of great things happening within our community.

The Easter holiday period is obviously a busy time for our region, so it was fantastic to be able to work with the Andrews Labor Government and Stawell Athletic Club to create a new agreement that will see the prestige, prize money and broadcast arrangements retained for the Stawell Gift.

The Gift is the centrepiece of the many events that happen around our shire at this time, so we’re looking forward to working with both parties into the future to create a sustainable operating model for the Gift.

We recently made a trip to Canberra where we had 17 meetings with a great number of government ministers, shadow ministers and their advisers, which included the offices of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Education and Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan, among others.

We highlighted projects such as the Western Highway duplication, multipurpose sporting facility developments at Lord Nelson Park and North Park, the Heath Street Bridge project in Halls Gap as well as road upgrades and improved internet connectivity for our smaller towns.

Other strategic projects that were tabled include an upgrade to the electrical grid to attract further renewable energy investment, the East Grampians pipeline to support agricultural production, Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory and a housing and land development strategy to create housing to attract more families to our shire.

We were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic reception we received in Canberra, so we hope that this will translate into some positive commitments during the election campaign and beyond.

Our review of our roads, rates and waste services continues, with some great feedback coming from the community. We’ve run six of these sessions so far and have a few more to go, with people really appreciating the opportunity to speak to the CEO and Councillors on a number of topics.

Another milestone was reached at the site of the Bulgana Green Power Hub in Joel Joel, with the planning permit for agri-business Nectar Farms being approved.

This will now allow the development and construction of a $90 million hydroponic vegetable farm in Joel Joel, with the farm to be powered by renewable energy thanks to the wind turbines being erected at the site as we speak.

Using battery technology, this facility will be one of the first and largest grid-scale batteries in the world, so we are incredibly excited about its development and the outcomes it is going to have for our community.

Cr Kevin Erwin

Mayor of Northern Grampians Shire Council