Brian Hood

The key outcomes from the 21st November Council meeting were –

  • Council entering into a memorandum of understanding with Cresfest to provide financial and operational support to the Shire’s latest signature event. Cresfest is up and running and celebrating all things musical and artistic.
  • A report on performance against Council Plan objectives for the first quarter of 2023/24 discloses that 32 of the plan’s 34 objectives are progressing on track, with the remaining two not yet scheduled to commence. A solid start to the year !
  • The adoption of a significantly revised risk management policy. In yet another initiative to bring Council’s governance up to required standards the previous ten-year old policy has been substantially overhauled.
  • A report on the first quarter 2023/24 financial statements discloses that Council has invested $14m to date on storm and flood recovery works, mostly on our road network. This is despite receiving only $9.5m from state and federal governments. Council continues with repair works and securing additional funding. Progress on the capital works budget is also off to a good start, with expenditure and commitments of over $10m by the end of September.
  • Council noted a condolence motion marking the passing of former councillor and Mayor Tim Hayes who made a wonderful contribution to the Shire.

Much has been said and written regarding the tragic accident that occurred on 5th November. As formal investigations are ongoing and as council works thoroughly through a number of complex matters and as the remarkable efforts of many have already been acknowledged there is one aspect I publicly acknowledged at the November meeting. That is to acknowledge the support extended by our federal and state government leaders. In the day after the event I received a phone-call of support and offer of assistance from the Premier Jacinta Allan; our federal member Catherine King rearranged her commitments and returned that day from Canberra in order to attend the vigil; and state member Mary-Anne Thomas rang and attended the vigil and has offered support. Their ongoing support, and personal commitment to our shire, is much appreciated.

As Mayor the past month for me has seen the continuation of the critical work on developing town structure plans; participation on a VLGA webinar panel on housing and the proposed short term accommodation levy; presentations from the LGI on governance; updates from the state government on road repair works and upcoming grant funding opportunities; representing Council on Remembrance Day and a flag-raising ceremony for trans awareness week.

Delightfully the past month has included many community events – the Great Lyonville Bake-off; the rejuvenated Swiss Italian festival; the Kingston food and wine festival and another successful new residents welcoming function in Creswick. All important and enjoyable celebrations of our shire’s culture and diversity. It was also very pleasing to see the Great Storm book recognised in the Resilience Australia awards. The book is a fitting memento of the June 2021 storm. And I congratulate the Daylesford Rotary Club on a wonderful art show.

I am honoured to have been re-elected as Mayor. Councillors have now entered the final, fourth year of our term and challenging strategic and financial considerations lay before us. It will be critically important that we address those challenges strategically and with the longer-term vision in mind as we strive to strengthen this organisation for the community’s benefit.

Cr. Brian Hood, Mayor Hepburn Shire