It s a great honour to be called to this service by my fellow councillors and to work alongside such a capable deputy as Dianne Newman.
In recent weeks, I have not relented to the enormous pressure placed on me to speak before the council vote because I did not believe it appropriate to discuss such matters from the position of the deputy mayor.
To do so would have been divisive and I believe the interests of the community were best served by refraining from arguments that were being stoked in the media and other forums.
Being elected by my fellow councillors means I have a responsibility to remain deeply engaged with the whole community in the years ahead, so that the Glen Innes severn region can have its needs met from local government and where necessary with the assistance of NSW Government.
I have a track record as a councillor in speaking up for the needs of the community and refusing to accept second best. It is not the role of council to be meek and mild in our dealing with Government but to ensure that our community is treated fairly and on the same basis as every community in NSW.
The key messages coming from the community strategic planning process were to:
- Grow our population size
- Retain essential services such as health and education
- Improve efficiency of councils road infrastructure
- Support and boost economic development
All small country towns have problems with growing their economy and thus employment These problems are likely to be increased over the next few years by changes in agriculture brought about by climate change, and new developments in robotics, information technology and artificial intelligence.
It is the task of this council to find innovative and imaginative solutions to these problems.
The biggest (and quickest) driver of economic development is an increase in population. The Population of Glen Innes has been flat-lining or declining for decades.
At present, the biggest hindrance to increasing our population (especially for families and older people) is the lack of medical services The 200 patient waiting list for a doctor and the lack of a resident medical officer at the hospital is a big negative for prospective new residents and businesses.
The needs of the residents must be met it is not good enough that we have to wait for a doctor, travel vast distances to see specialists, especially when we are aging sick or injured.
I will be starting a new Petition to increase the 1600 signatures we gathered last year to 10,000, this will then be handed to Adam Marshall and tabled in Parliament.
I am determined that our voices will be heard in the matter of our health services.
Our other project, the Youth Centre, is moving along slowly with the establishment of a youth advisary committee of council, and viewings of the proposed centre.
Our Council has a 10 Year Plan, a four year operational plan and a delivery programme for 2017-2021, a strategic plan for 2017-2027 containing
- Community services
- Economic Development
- Infrastructure management
- Environment and heritage
- Council sustainability, transparency and communication
Our council is in the process of maintaining and improving our roads network and upgrading our bridges lobbying government for more funding is crucial to this.
We have seen in the last two years the White Rock Windfarm and solar farm and seen the establishment of Sapphire wind farm who have brought a financial boost to our towns and villages and offered community donations each year.
I thank our previous council who established the best water storage facility in the New England, Eerindi Ponds, During the drought our town had no water restrictions because of this.
We have plans for a regional Netball Facility and sports centre. We have a plan for improving the footpaths and bike paths, road crossing and have improved the roundabouts.
We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to, I want us to stay focused and bring to the table respect and communication.
I want our ratepayers and residents to be happy with their council and to appreciate the work that we do.
I with my deputy want us to all to work together to bring this town into the 21 st century.
These are the values of council:
Women like myself and Dianne are answering the call for women to step up and become decision makers for our communities.
We are calling for equality in the workplace. We want equal pay. We need to call out disrespect, discrimination, harrassment and abuse.
We need to show our children and grandchildren how to behave.
Enough Is Enough