Lesley Hewitt

This month I participated in Council’s citizenship ceremony and as the current deputy mayor had the honour and privilege of conferring Australian citizenship on nine new residents. Our new residents came from Britain, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, USA, Slovenia, Malaysia, and Netherlands and are already part of our community, contributing to the life of the Shire. It is always interesting to hear about the path that people take in coming to the decision to become an Australian citizen and to be reminded of what our own obligations are as Australians citizens to contribute to community and civic life. Aunty Marilyn Nicholls, a Dja Dja Wurrung elder, welcomed everyone and it was significant to have Aunty Marilyn, an elder representing the oldest living continuous culture welcoming our newest citizens. After the ceremony participants celebrated with an afternoon tea of lamingtons, Anzac biscuits, green and yellow jelly slices, and sausage rolls supplied by Emma James Catering from Trentham.

You may have received a letter from the Shire inviting you to register for the Future Hepburn Engagement Pool. Registration means that you could be randomly selected to join the structure plan Community Panel which will help develop the structure plan for each of the towns. If you are not selected for the Daylesford- Hepburn -Hepburn Springs panel then there are other opportunities to be involved including interviews, workshops, and webinars. If you did not get a letter (1000 were sent) and are interested  you can still register at https://particpate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/futurehepburn

You can find the agenda for the August Council meeting here at Ordinary Meeting of Council – 15 August 2023 (hepburn.vic.gov.au) There are several agenda items that may be of interest to Birch residents. The adoption of the Annual Plan includes projects and initiatives that cover the whole Shire including the rollout of FOGO (food organic and garden organics) bins, implementation of the cat curfew and a review of short-term accommodation. Projects specific to Birch ward include development of stage 1 Central Springs Mineral Reserve ($300,000), essential structural maintenance and electrical works for the Daylesford Town Hall ($1m), and scoping and planning of Birch ward and staff facilities ($200,000). An exciting initiative that the Shire has signed up for is the Young Mayors trial project. This trial involves the peer election of a youth council. More details will follow but it is an excellent opportunity for young people to learn about and participate in civic matters. The agenda also includes consideration of the appointment of two new members of Hepburn Shire’s Disability Advisory Committee. I’ll take this opportunity to publicly thank those members who have resigned – Lainey Curr, Steve Kelly, and Fiona Porter – for their contribution. They have made a significant difference to the work of the Committee and I wish them all the best with the next things they move on to.

Lots of wattle out now – a reminder that winter is coming to an end and spring is approaching – a particularly beautiful and energizing time of the year.

A reminder that I can be contacted at lhewitt@hepburn.vic.gov.au or on 0408793941 if you have any Council related issues you want to discuss.

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.