The Council year runs on an annual cycle and May and June are when officers and councillors work on the Annual Budget for the next financial year. As reported in the Wombat Post and elsewhere, the draft budget is on public exhibition on the Participate Hepburn website ( You can still view the draft budget but public submissions closed last Thursday. A Special Council Meeting to adopt the budget will be held on 27th June 2023 at Victoria Park, Daylesford.

Hepburn Shire Council’s income is made up of Council rates and grants from federal and state government. We are all aware that the cost of living is going up. There are labour, skills and materials shortages and Council is not immune to these. Everyone’s budget is tight. And there are lots of competing demands. There will be some hard decisions for Councillors to make in the budget and I appreciate those residents who have taken the time to read the draft budget, ask questions and put in submissions detailing their personal priorities .

I know that for many, financial details are difficult to understand. Here is a link to an easy-to-read fact sheet from the Essential Services Commission that uses clear graphs and data to examine Hepburn Shire’s revenue, expenditure, and financial sustainability over recent years. You can use it to check Hepburn’s data against other small shires. It’s worth looking at as it examines the impact of rate capping and highlights the difficulty that small rural councils (including Hepburn) have in providing both the services expected by the community and staying financially sustainable in the long-term.

Council has released its draft Affordable Housing Strategy for public comment and this can be found at Affordable housing – a home in Hepburn Shire. As we know, affordable housing is not just an issue for Hepburn Shire. Right across the country action is needed at all levels of government to address this problem. Submissions on the Shire’s draft Affordable Housing strategy closes at midnight Sunday July 9th, 2023. A number of residents and ratepayers have been involved already in the drafting of the strategy but please have a look and put in your views . Council asks for a lot of comment, and I’m always reminded of the quote attributed to Robert Johnson, an engineering expert: “The world is run by those who show up”.

Congratulations to the Daylesford Football and Netball Club for staging their 3rd Annual Pride Cup on 27th June. It was a great day with some excellent speakers, that highlighted how important sport is in helping people feel included and involved in their community.

Congratulations also to the Daylesford Historical Society for their photographic exhibition during Reconciliation Week. The display included beautiful and poignant portraits of some of the Dja Dja Wurrung ancestors. Of note was the portrait of Tommy Farmer who was involved in the search for the three Lost Children in 1867.

The next Council meeting is on 20th June and the agenda can be found at Ordinary Meeting of Council – 20 June 2023 ( There are two planning items, a decision on outdoor dining and street trading and a response to a petition on Cornish Hill heritage amongst other items for decision.

I can be contacted at or on 0408793941 if you have any Council related issues.


Lesley Hewitt is the Deputy Mayor of Hepburn Shire and an elected councillor for Birch Ward.

Councillor Columns are a regular feature in The Wombat Post. We offer this space as an information channel from Council to the community. Councillor Columns are not subject to editorial review by our editorial committee but are published as we receive them from our elected Councillors.