Message from the Shire President
As the newly-elected Shire President, firstly I want to acknowledge my fellow Councillors – to thank Helen Newton for the work that she did as outgoing President, to congratulate Bert Newton on his re-election as Deputy President, and to welcome Justin Bagley back in his second term. I also want to welcome our newest Councillors: Anthony Smyth, Hellene McTaggart and Carol Farr.
It is encouraging to see a new generation of community-minded people putting their hands up to join the Council here in Mingenew; they represent the future of our Shire and I look forward to working with them and – where I can – helping them to develop the skills and confidence to lead well into the future. Ultimately, we are all here for the betterment of our Shire and community, so it is important to me that we have a committed team working effectively now but also that we are laying the foundations for long-term strength.
I am also keen to focus on the ongoing economic development of our Shire during my term – through the encouragement of new business development and supporting the growth of existing business and industry. As part of this I also want to ensure that we are receiving adequate funding to deliver on key infrastructure. In my role as Chair of the Mid West Regional Road Group I am made very aware of the challenges local governments can face in securing critical road funding, so I am keen to ensure that the Shire of Mingenew is receiving its fair share, and spending it effectively.
Cr Gary Cosgrove, Shire President
Work on the current Coalseam Road widening project continues and we hope to be in a position to seal before Christmas or shortly thereafter. A second, smaller, widening and sealing project will commence during December at the southern entrance to the Conservation Park. In the New Year, following the work on Coalseam, we also plan to complete and seal the open gravel section on Mingenew-Mullewa Road.
Our maintenance grader continues to travel across the Shire. At the time of writing, we have just finished along Scroops Road and will be heading south to Mooriary and Yandanooka West Roads from there.
Mingenew Skate Park
Thanks to everyone who provided submissions regarding the Mingenew Skate Park. Our working group will be meeting early in December to talk through them and progress the project. We will provide future updates through our usual channels. It is hoped that this project will not only lead to an upgrade of the skate park facility, but also a general review and improvement of the various play areas throughout the Mingenew townsite.
Council recently completed its annual external audit. This process has become more rigorous recently, as the Office of the Auditor General has assumed responsibility for the auditing of the local government sector in Western Australia. This has added additional external audit costs and required greater internal resourcing as the audit scope and level of detail has increased. In light of this increased rigour, we are very happy to report an unqualified audit opinion for our 2018-19 financial statements. In addition, no management items were identified by our auditors to be addressed. This outstanding result reflects the hard work of the Shire’s finance team, as well as a strong focus from both Management and Council on improved governance practices.
Men’s Shed AGM
The Mingenew Men’s Shed recently held their first meeting in some time, electing a new management committee to oversee the Shed recommencing operations. The Shire has been working with the group to make some minor upgrades to power and safety infrastructure in the Shed, and to seek assistance from Men’s Sheds WA in supporting our local group to get back up and running. The new committee consists of Bill Bain (President), Jim Pascoe (Deputy President), Neal Boonzaaier (Treasurer) and Verity Ryan (Secretary).
You can contact the Shire for more information on the Shed, and we will be happy to put you in touch with members should you wish to join and make use of the facility.
Fire Season Reminder
There have been several recent fires within the Shire and more hot, dry weather ahead of us. If you haven’t already, please ensure you have a bushfire plan in place for you and your family. You can find more information on bushfire plans and a range of helpful tips on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website here.
Shire Equipment Theft
We are disappointed to report that during the night of Sunday 1 December locks were broken on Shire equipment being used for the Coalseam Road works, with fuel and a battery stolen. The Police are investigating and have some leads; it’s believed that the offenders were in a white vehicle towing a trailer. It is also likely the white vehicle has a large scratch down one side. As Shire assets, this equipment belongs to the ratepayers of Mingenew, so we ask – should you ever see something suspicious – that you report it to the Shire or the Police.
We have had some reports from local residents regarding service dropouts on their phones and internet services. We are conscious of the need of reliable telecommunications for operating of farming businesses, emergency services communications and general day-to-day modern living. We are passing this information to Telstra to try to have issues examined and rectified. If you are experiencing issues, please let us know and we will gladly pass that information on. To assist, please let us know the type of problem you are experiencing and the address/location.
Council Meeting Review
As the first Council Meeting following the recent election, there were a number of important procedural matters to address at the November Council Meeting. Chief among these was the election of a President and Deputy President. Through the secret ballot process, Gary Cosgrove was elected President over Helen Newton four votes to three and Robert Newton was re-elected as Deputy President unopposed. Congratulations again to both appointees, and thanks to Helen Newton for her hard work and guidance during her term as President.
In addition to the election of the President and Deputy President roles, there are a number of committees that Councillors are members of, and these were filled over the course of the meeting. Those appointments were as follows:
- Audit and Risk Committee: Cr R Newton (Chair), Cr A Smyth, Cr H McTaggart and Mr Maurice Battilana (external member)
- WALGA Northern Country Zone Delegates: Cr G Cosgrove and Cr J Bagley, with Cr C Farr as proxy delegate.
- Joint Development Assessment Panel: Cr G Cosgrove, Cr C Farr and Cr J Bagley, with Cr H Newton as proxy.
- North Midlands Regional Road Group: Cr G Cosgrove and Cr J Bagley, with Cr A Smyth as proxy.
- WA’s Wildflower Country Incorporated: Cr C Farr, with Community Development Officer and Chief Executive Officer as proxies.
- Mingenew CRC Management Committee: Cr H McTaggart and the Community Development Officer, with Cr H Newton as proxy.
- Mingenew Silver Chain Branch Committee: Cr H McTaggart and the Community Development Officer, with Cr C Farr as proxy.
- Mingenew Tourist and Promotions Committee: Cr C Farr and the Community Development Officer, with Cr A Smyth as proxy.
- Shire of Mingenew Bushfire Advisory Committee: Cr J Bagley with Cr A Smyth as proxy.
- Shire of Mingenew Executive Management Committee: Cr R Newton, Cr G Cosgrove, Cr J Bagley, with Cr H McTaggart as proxy.
- Shire of Mingenew Local Emergency Management Committee: Cr A Smyth (Chair) and the Chief Executive Officer (or his/her nominee), with Cr R Newton as proxy.
The Council Meeting also saw the completion of our current quarter’s Internal Audit project, the development and adoption of a Customer Service Charter for the Shire. This document outlines the type and level of service that we strive to deliver as an organisation to our customers and stakeholders. It also provides information about how members of the public can help us to deliver the kind of service they would like to receive. You can view a copy of the Charter on the Shire’s website here.
Council also received the audited financial statements for 2018-19 and reviewed the draft Annual Report. This document will be finalised and presented at the December Council Meeting for adoption, and a date (likely in February 2020) will be set for the Annual Electors’ Meeting. We will provide an update in next month’s newsletter (or you can check the minutes when they are uploaded to the Shire website here.
Number Plate Changes
From 1 January 2020, the Shire of Mingenew custom logo number plates will be updated to reflect the Shire’s current logo and branding. Vehicle owners are not required to take any action, as any existing plates will remain valid, however new plates issued next year will feature the new logo and “We’ll see you in Mingenew” message.
Shire Christmas Shutdown
A reminder that Christmas is almost upon us! Please be aware that the Shire offices will close for the year on Friday 20 December and reopen on Monday 6 January 2020. During this time there will be a skeleton staff on hand to conduct required maintenance and address any urgent matters, but our offices will be closed. Should you need to contact us during this period, we will have an after-hours phone service operating on the Shire’s regular number (9928 1102). This will allow you to be transferred to and pass messages on to the relevant staff member for urgent matters during the break.
Shire Contact Lists
With fire season upon us, we will be utilising the Shire’s text message service as well as social media to alert people to any incidents. If you have not already registered for our public messaging database, we suggest that you do so to receive the latest updates. You can simply contact the Shire or visit our website; see the Public Communications tab here.< See More News