Mayoral Message - May 2024

Published on 01 May 2024

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Yass Valley Council kicked off this month with several IP&R information sessions in Binalong, Yass, Gundaroo, Murrumbateman and Bowning.

Community members were invited to bring along any questions they may have had regarding the 2024/25 Operational Plan and related Integrated Planning and Reporting Documents which the Council Executive Team and Councilors answered diligently. Residents used the opportunity to raise issues and discuss priorities relating to these documents. Thank you for all community members who attended the community meetings. These sessions were created to ensure a level of open communication and transparency between the community and council for a better future.

While in Binalong on the 6th, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with School Principal, Renee Arabin about the benefits for pupils who are currently attending the local school and some of the challenges they are facing. Renee took the opportunity to draw my attention to their fundraiser. The 2024 Art Exhibition was held at the school on Friday, May 10, 2024. The event (which had a catered dinner) was a resounding success. A huge congratulations to all involved in this wonderful event.

I was pleased to see the town of Binalong receive global recognition after local resident, 31 year old Jeanine Kimm set the record for her gender, shearing 358 sheep over the course of eight hours. A total of 1.2 tonnes of fine wool was sheered on the day. Congratulations to this champion! The Yass Valley is lucky to have such a person in our residence.  

In the middle of May, I travelled up to Sydney with CEO, Chris Berry to attend the Capital Region Join Organisation meetings at Parliament House. The CRJO is made up of Council’s that surround the ACT as well as representation from the ACT Government. The meetings included presentations from six Government Ministers, including one by Premier Chris Minns. The meetings also had presentations and discussions with our local member Wendy Tuckerman MP, Dr Michael Holland (member for Bega) and Dr Joe McGirr (member for Wagga).

The following day, I managed to time my visit perfectly that afternoon to catch up with the blokes at the Men’s Shed who were having their tea break. It was great to catch up, look over current projects and have a yarn with some great fellows. New members and visitors are always welcome at the Yass shed (next to the Community Centre on Yass Valley Way). The shed is open on Tuesday mornings and Thursday and Saturday afternoons.

That evening, I was thrilled to join the crowd at the Yass Scout Hall to celebrate the presentation of the Kings Scout Peak Award to Ms Emily Young. Emily is the first Yass member to receive the award since 2018! This award takes commitment, hard work and leadership to achieve and the Yass Scout Group should be proud of this young leader. Thank you to the Yass Scout Group for the invitation to attend the presentation. Congratulations to Emily for her achievement.

On May 19, I was pleased to welcome cyclists who were participating in the ‘Ride to Give’ on their arrival into Yass. With approximately 80 participants, the first leg of the ride commenced in Young and arrived in Yass at 3pm. The second leg travelled from Boorowa to Crookwell before finishing in Goulburn with the third leg travelling to Gunning, Gundaroo and finally finishing in Canberra. The 485km travelled from Young to Canberra was travelled to raise funds for Boys to the Bush (a charity organisation raising money for rural kids).

On May 22, I was excited to join in the National Simultaneous Storytime reading at 12pm. It was an honour to read ‘Bowerbird Blues’ to the lovely children from Yecca and Montessori who gathered at the Soldiers Memorial Hall for this occasion. Our reading session was followed by lots of dancing. A big thank you to the hardworking staff at the Yass Library who organized this reading.

As we approach the upcoming council election in September, it is anticipated that some individuals will seek to raise their profiles by highlighting certain decisions – or the lake thereof- made by the council. They may also criticise some of our priorities. This is to be expected; I have done the same myself in the past.

However, I am concerned about the fairness and appropriateness of attacking council officers. No one is perfect, but our management team comprises conscientious and trusted employees who work diligently to deliver the best possible outcomes for our ratepayers and residents. They are committed to implementing and acting in accordance with council decisions and policies.

I acknowledge that this council, like most others, will always be a target for criticism, and perhaps rightfully so.  I have offered plenty of criticism myself in the past, but it has always been directed at council decisions and actions – or the lack thereof – rather than at the employees tasked with implementing those decisions.

In almost every instance of council amalgamation, there is constant agitation by residents to restore their former councils, as they often perceive that they were better off under the previous administration. Cootamundra-Gundagai and Tumut-Tumbarumba are two examples that come to mind.

Our councillors are all local people, for the most part, are active in voluntary roles within the community. They pay the same rates, use the same water, drive on the same streets and roads, and rely on the same services, constantly seeking to improve them. Most view being a councillor in Yass Valley LGA not as a political role, but as an extension of their commitment to the community.  Like the council staff, they are simply doing their best for our residents. However, while councillors can respond to their critics in public forums, staff do not enjoy the same freedom of express.

I ask that we continue to treat people with respect, regardless of conflicting opinions.

Until next month,

Allan

 

 

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