Message from the Shire President
April saw us hold our first Council Meeting with the assistance of video-conferencing technology. While it’s encouraging to see that our systems work, and we are able to do more with technology that we ever have before, many of us are still looking forward to a time when the risks of meeting face-to-face are lower.
At the meeting we passed a number of measures aimed at helping those ratepayers and community members who may find themselves in challenging situations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This – among other things – includes a 0% rate rise for the 2020/21 financial year, as well as more flexible terms around payments for those experiencing hardship. Council will also be reviewing its fees and charges as it prepares next year’s budget with a view to giving relief to clubs and organisations who have been unable to engage in their usual activities and earn income as a result of the ongoing restrictions.
As the curve flattens nation-wide, I want to thank our community for their assistance by complying with the relevant social distancing and travel restriction rules. We have a relatively large vulnerable population, and protecting those people has to be our first priority – I am proud to say that, to date, we’ve done a good job in this area.
I am also regularly reminded how lucky we are to be in a region where the economy is driven by something as essential as agriculture. In spite of the numerous challenges the current environment presents, farming activities will (indeed, must) continue. This provides our local economy with a degree of security that is increasingly difficult to find in these times. To that end, like many of you, I am looking forward to a break in the season and strong year for our primary producers.
– Cr Gary Cosgrove, Shire President
The Shire’s sealing works on Mingenew-Mullewa Road should be completed by 21 April. Our crew will then commence several smaller re-sheeting jobs across the Shire.
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Council passed a series of relief measures at their April Ordinary Council Meeting. These include:
- A commitment to not increase rates for the 2020/21 financial year;
- Waiver of any interest incurred on rateable property (rates) and sundry debtors for the remainder of the 2019/20 financial year, backdated to 1 April 2020;
- Placing a hold on debt recovery activities for the remainder of the 2019/20 financial year and encouraging debtors to seek alternative payment arrangements where required (noting this does not relieve debtors of any existing debts);
- Adopting a Rates Hardship Policy to provide greater clarity around assistance for those in financial difficulty;
- Implementing business-friendly payment terms to support business cash flow;
- A commitment to review fees and charges for the 2020/21 financial year, considering whether fees can be reduced, waived or deferred during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Investigating the establishment of an Emergency Relief Reserve for the purpose of funding critical response and recovery activities related to a state-declared emergency impacting the Shire of Mingenew;
Prioritising Local Government spending with businesses and contractors located within the Shire of Mingenew;
We are also actively advocating for measures to reduce the impact of State Government activities on our Shire and ratepayers, this includes:
- Requesting no increase to street lighting and utility tariffs in 2020-2021;
- Seeking a deferral of revaluations for the 2020-2021 financial year (but it is likely this will still occur);
- Asking for a freezing of the waste levy for the 2020-2021 financial year.;
- For further details on Council’s response to the COVID-19 situation, please check this web page.
Work has been continuing on designs for the revamp of the Skate Park, which seek to incorporate it and parts of Cecil Newton Park into a central recreation area for families and children of all ages. We are currently seeking feedback on our proposals. For more information, and to provide input, see this link.
Community Assistance Scheme Grants
Council has awarded a second round of Community Assistance Scheme grants. Congratulations to the following groups for their worthy projects:
- Mingenew Golf Club, who will be installing a sea container at the Mingenew Sports Club
- Mingenew Historical Society, who will be restoring and digitising a number of historical photographs and images from the area
The 2020/21 Community Assistance Scheme Grants will be developed as part of Council’s budget for next financial year.
Restricted burning is in place until 30 April 2020. Please see this web page for details and request a permit for any burning activities. Open burning season will resume on 1 May 2020.
A visit from the Midwest Aero Medical team on April 15 saw 142 members of our community vaccinated against the flu. Whilst the vaccinations provide no assistance against COVID-19, they will help to reduce the severity of this year’s flu season in Mingenew and reduce the risk of people facing both diseases at the same time.
If you are interested in a vaccination, can still contact the Silver Chain on 9928 1043 or Midwest Aero on 9956 8999 to arrange your vaccination.
Whilst the weekly face-to-face doctor visits are currently on hold due to COVID-19, patients are reminded that they can still have a phone consultation with Dr. Rosie and the team at any time during the week. Patients can still be seen in person in Geraldton if needed. Call Midwest Aero on 9956 8999 to book in.
Road Condition Reports
As the wet weather comes in, the Shire will update the status of its roads on this webpage and our Facebook page. You can also subscribe to be added to our text message service by completing the registration form at the Shire Office or downloading it from this webpage.
We ask that – when it is wet – motorists avoid non-essential travel on our unsealed roads, as this can cause damage to our road network, and diverts resources away from our ongoing road improvement efforts.
Shire officers have been testing and treating standing water for mosquito larvae and fogging. If you are have issues with mosquitos at your property, please let the Shire know (visit the office, call 9928 1102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can investigate and treat the issue.
Council Meeting Review – 15 April 2020
The centrepiece of April’s Council Meeting was the Shire’s COVID-19 response package, outlined above. Council also formally endorsed a procedure for holding electronic meetings, and made some amendments to its procurement policy – both in line with recent changes to the Local Government Act and Regulations in response to COVID-19.
Consideration was also given to the recent tender process for the Transfer Station, with no tender awarded. Further procurement activities will be taking place in the coming weeks in this space.
For all the details, you can check the minutes on the Shire website.< See More News