Mayoral Matters March 2022

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I hope everyone was able to enjoy Labour Day in some capacity on Monday. Everyone I speak to in the community appears to be busier than ever so I think it is important to remember that Labour Day was part of the eight hour day movement which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation and eight hours for rest and frankly, we could all do with a reminder that there are only so many hours in the day and it is essential for our wellbeing to take time off and spend time with our loved ones to do the things we enjoy.

Coincidentally, I have had the very great pleasure this past month of attending two celebrations that mark the importance of a well lived and loved life and the family unit. One event was the astoundingly special 70thwedding anniversary of Bruce and Margaret Coates and most recently on Labour Day, I attended the 100thbirthday of Mrs Gwen Cole. Both of these families are multi-generational and come from the St Arnaud district so there is certainly something to be said for an active country life in our pristine environment.

This month my fellow councillors and I have had ministerial visits from both the State and Federal Government. We welcomed the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development Ms Danielle Green MP to an inspection of the State funded St Arnaud Caravan Park upgrades followed by a visit last Thursday from Federal Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster. Dr Webster announced funding for the Central Park female friendly changerooms and the North Park Skate Park upgrade. It is wonderful to see so much importance being given to outdoor recreation and especially to know that many long running capital works projects such as Lord Nelson Park Multipurpose Facility and the North Park Netball Courts will soon be open for our sporting communities to enjoy. I am particularly looking forward to the Black Tie fundraiser this weekend run by the Lord Nelson Park Fundraising Group.

On Friday afternoon I presided at an Australian Citizenship Ceremony in St Arnaud for Donna Schroeder from the USA accompanied by her husband Fritz-Juergen Johannes Schroeder from Germany and Lucia Pickthall from the Philippines. I really relish this role and this ceremony was special with many community members in attendance to witness and welcome our newest Aussies. The ceremony finished with a marvellous rendition of Advance Australia Fair by the St Arnaud Community Choir. The singing was led by Donna who is the director St Arnaud Community Choir. Fritz’s son Chris joined the choir with his guitar, and they sang the much loved I Am Australian by the Seekers. You can watch a video of the singing on our Facebook page. Today, I will attend a citizenship ceremony for Augusta Obiano from Nigeria at the Stawell Town Hall.

I encourage everyone with an interest in council business and a desire to engage with the many and varied activities that we undertake to keep abreast of the Have Your Say and Community Information Sessions coming up such as the North Park Skate Park Information Session, the Stawell Tourism Action Plan, the Rating and Revenue Policy, the Asset Management Plan and the Art and Culture Action Plan. Further information is available on our website or by contacting customer service.

Lastly, most of you would be aware via the news that Japanese Encephalitis has arrived in our shire and I would like to reiterate the message from the Department of Health that this virus is spread to humans through mosquito bites. Whilst it may cause a rare and potentially life-threatening infection of the brain, most JE virus infections are asymptomatic. Symptoms usually develop 6 to 16 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and it cannot be spread directly from person to person nor caught through eating pork or pig products. We will aim to keep you advised by sharing information on our website or you may wish to refer to the following State Government pages:

Japanese encephalitis in Victoria | health.vic.gov.au

Information for the public – Japanese encephalitis in Victoria | health.vic.gov.au

You can maintain a level of protection from the virus by wearing long sleeved garments and pants and wearing insect repellent when you are in areas where mosquitoes are active.

Stay well, enjoy everything our great shire has to offer and I look forward to seeing you all out and about in the community this month.

CR TONY DRISCOLL

Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor

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