East Gippsland Shire Council has taken the call for a better deal for our shire directly to Canberra MPs, with Mayor Cr Mark Reeves, Cr Tom Crook and CEO Anthony Basford using online meetings last week with ministers to progress Council’s advocacy priorities.
The meetings gave Council a chance to advocate for:
· infrastructure funding;
· the Bairnsdale Aerodrome project;
· upgrades to Great Alpine Road;
· housing needs, including the impact of bushfires on housing stock;
· an update on bushfire recovery
· an arts and culture centre/arts precinct; and
· disaster impact on insurance premiums and related funding options.
Cr Reeves said the discussions with federal MPs offered an opportunity to ensure that the voices of the community are heard in Canberra.
“We have a relatively new government that is in listening mode and finding its feet,” Cr Reeves said.
“The opportunity to have an audience with various ministers and advisers is one we took with both hands. We want to make sure the federal government is aware of the opportunities and challenges we have here, and what funding needs for East Gippsland should be considered and followed through on.
“When there are 500 local government authorities across the country, it’s incumbent on us to be pushing our case in Canberra on federal matters that are important to East Gippslanders – both now and in the future.
“These discussions also add weight to our to our annual advocacy when in Canberra with the Australian Local Government Association.”
Meetings were held with: Advisers to Catherine King MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government; Senator Anthony Chisholm, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Education; Darren Chester MP, Member for Gippsland and adviser to Julie Collins MP, Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Small Business. A face-to-face meeting with Kristy McBain MP, Minister for Local Government and Regional Development, is scheduled to be held in Gippsland in early April.
A meeting with Murray Watt MP, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, was deferred due to his requirement to attend the House for debate.