Lesley Hewitt

There are several items on this month’s Council agenda that are of importance to Birch Ward residents.

There will be a decision to establish a Daylesford Community Facilities Project Advisory Group to provide advice on the design and development of a library and a multi-function assembly hall in the Daylesford Town Hall. It is proposed that the Advisory Group have 4-8 community members and be chaired by Cr Bray and myself as the two current Birch ward Councillors. The agenda (which you can find at the link above) also includes the proposed Terms of Reference and the proposed Expression of Interest Form. I know that Birch Ward residents have a strong attachment to the Town Hall and an interest in what will happen there so please check out the agenda report. Of course, like all agenda items, the report includes an officer’s recommendation which may or may not be supported by a majority of Councillors.

The agenda also includes the quarterly financial report and the mid-year budget review. These documents can be difficult for people to get their heads around but detail how ratepayers’ money has been spent (including the storm recovery for the three events we have had in the Shire in the last couple of years) and our unrestricted cash (which is what is available to spend on unbudgeted items). Check out the reports in the agenda and if you have any questions there are two options – submit a question to the council meeting (Details on the Council webpage. Questions must be submitted by 10am on the Monday before the Council meeting) or email a Councillor directly. (My email is lhewitt@hepburn.vic.gov.au).

We held our annual International Women’s Day event last Thursday (IWD is held annually on the 8th March) inducting five women onto the Heather Mutimer Women’s Honour Roll. Congratulations to Anne Bremmer, Michelle Clifford, Marj Green, Nikki Marshall and Yvonne Sillett. All these women have, over many years, made a great contribution to our community life. It was a celebratory event with an inspiring address by Associate Professor Paula Gerber and performances and speeches by several young women from the Daylesford Secondary College. For me however there were sombre undertones to reflect on – coincidentally it was also the day that a young man was charged with the murder of Samantha Murphy, a local Ballarat woman who had been missing for over a month. For me, this was a poignant reminder that whilst we celebrate women’s achievements and contributions there is still work to be done to address violence against women and to ensure gender equity.

Finally hats off to the Hepburn Shire librarians who again organised Rainbow Story Time at the library as part of Chill Out and a big thank you to the Rainbow Community Angels who turned up to support the event in the face of a small protest. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive community – it’s one of our values – but the protest was a reminder that we can’t take that inclusivity for granted and we all need to stand up and ensure that the things we value are maintained.

Easter is coming up and I wish for everyone a peaceful break… and some rain.


Cr Lesley Hewitt is a Daylesford resident 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.