Message from the Shire President

As 2020 draws to a close, we can reflect on what an extraordinary year it has been. Whilst COVID-19 caused all kinds of disruptions to the way we live and how our Shire operates, we’ve still managed to accomplish quite a lot: land sales, significant funding windfalls which are resulting in some great new projects and ongoing improvement in the way that our Shire operates. Even in this challenging year, we are finishing in better shape than we started.

Over the past month Council has adopted its annual report and financials for the 2019-20 year and I am pleased to see that we are delivering another unqualified audit result. Our staff have grappled with significant changes in accounting standards, brought in late and retrospectively, by the State Government, and still managed to complete the required processes to a high standard and on time.

I am also pleased to report that the Shire has offered our CEO, Nils Hay, an extension to his current contract (which is due to expire in mid-2021). We will look to conclude contract negotiations in the coming weeks to secure his services for several more years.

This month I was fortunate enough to attend the Mingenew Primary School’s annual presentation night. It is great to see our school community so strong, and to know that Mingenew, despite its small size, offers such a positive learning environment for our next generation. My hat goes off to the staff, parents and community members who provide such great support to our children.

The month has also seen some strong interest in a recent planning approval Council provided to a food and coffee van operator in our Shire. The process has highlighted some differences in how people view the role of Council when making such decisions. From a legislative point of view, Council’s role is to consider planning decisions on their merits under the relevant planning laws. These laws, broadly, do not give Councils the scope to make such decisions on the basis of commercial implications, and the role of Council is not to regulate competition. Whilst we can always improve our decision-making processes,  Council’s role is one of facilitating economic activity, through the administration of the relevant planning legislation, construction of infrastructure, promotion of the Shire, and through encouraging initiatives to help local businesses work together more effectively.

As the year winds to a close, I want to wish all of you a safe and merry Christmas, and every success in 2021.

– Cr Gary Cosgrove, Shire President

2021 Council Meeting Dates & Electors’ Meeting Date

Council has adopted the following meeting dates for 2021. All meetings will be held at the Shire Council Chambers at 21 Victoria Rd, Mingenew.

Elector’s Meeting:      Mon 8 February (5.30pm)

Council Meetings (all held from 4.30pm):

  • 17 February 2021
  • 17 March 2021
  • 21 April 2021
  • 19 May 2021
  • 16 June 2021
  • 21 July 2021
  • 18 August 2021
  • 15 September 2021
  • 13 October 2021
  • 17 November 2021
  • 15 December 2021

Transfer Station Transition Process

The process of transitioning from our current landfill to a manned transfer station facility is progressing – as anyone who has visited the tip site lately would have noticed. In the new year we expect to see the new facility operational, and this will mean some changes to the way things have operated previously. This will include:

  • Reducing the hours that the tip is open
  • Restricting (and controlling) the type and volume of waste accepted
  • Charging to accept some waste types and/or introducing charges for those who are not Shire ratepayers
  • Manning the site to better monitor and manage this

Many of our neighbouring shires have already moved to a similar model, and this process will bring Mingenew in line with modern waste management approaches and current waste management legislation. In addition to the regulatory pressure which is making these changes necessary, we have also recently been receiving significant amounts of waste, like tyres, at the landfill.

It is acknowledged that some of this is coming from outside the Shire, due to the fact that our tip is open 24/7 and free.  The current lack of a control mechanism means that it is going to be the Shire (and ratepayers) that are required to pay for these to be properly disposed of. By transitioning to a transfer station, we will be in a position to better manage situations like this.

For more details, you can view our Draft Environmental Plan here and contact the Shire. No transition date has been finalised yet, and it will be well-advertised when known.

Littlewell Funding Boost

We are pleased to report that we were successful in securing funding through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal a $10,000 grant for seating and shelters at the Littlewell Reserve. This will provide rest and picnic facilities for visitors to the reserve.

Mingenew Youth Precinct Update

Those following the project will note that the flying fox equipment has been installed. Unfortunately, due to the timing of the install, we won’t have the soft-fall in place until the new year. Thanks to all who have pledged to contribute either financially, or in kind, to this project – particularly the Ward Family whose donation and drive for the flying fox made it all possible.

For more information contact Margaret Rowe, Community Development Officer on 9928 1102 or cdo@mingenew.wa.gov.au.

Community Assistance Scheme Update

Council has selected successful applicants for the second round of our annual Community Assistance Scheme funding program. It was an over-subscribed application process this time around, which meant that some worthy applications missed out. We are pleased to report that the following projects were fully funded:

  • Mingenew Sports Club Revamp
  • Mingenew Historical Society Oral History Project
  • Mingenew Silver Chain Committee Prescription Delivery Service

If you have been down the main street, you may also notice a previous project by the Mingenew Historical Society has been completed, with the addition of several photos on the ‘Mice of Mingenew’ interpretive sign on Midlands Road, opposite the bakery.

Changes to Ranger Services in 2021

The Shire has engaged the services Of WA Contract Ranger Services Pty Ltd to perform the Ranger duties in the Shire. Matthew Sharpe and Kylie Spark will be performing all duties as requested by the Shire from 1 January 2021.

WA Contract Ranger Services provides Ranger duties to over 30 Local Governments in the wheatbelt and look forward to working with the community.

They will initially take some time to introduce themselves around the community, including door to door dog and cat registration checks. WA Contract Ranger Services also offer in home microchipping of dogs and cats at very reasonable rates.

The Rangers are also closely affiliated with A1 Wheatbelt Dog Rescue and can assist with the re-homing of unclaimed/unwanted cats and dogs.

Matthew can be contacted 7 days a week for Ranger emergencies on 0459 678 154 however all complaints must be made directly made to the Shire office.

Fire Season

Fire season is upon us. Please keep in mind these key dates:

Prohibited Burning:   1 Nov 2020 – 31 Jan 2021

All burning is prohibited during this period.

Restricted Burning:    1 Feb – 15 Mar 2021

Permits are required for burning activities during these times.

Permit Issuing Officers:

Murray Thomas         9928 1122 | 0428 281 157

Nick Duane                9972 6058 | 0429 726 058

For more information consult the Firebreak Notice sent out with the annual rates notice and available online here or contact the Shire.

Shire SMS Service

To improve our public communication the Shire sends out text messages for key fire, road and community-related matters. It’s easy and free to get on the list. If you would like to be added to the database, please fill in a form at the Shire office or complete one online here.

COVID-19 Registration Requirements

As most people will now be aware some WA businesses and venues (including community facilities) are required to maintain contact registers.

To assist, the WA Government has developed the Safe WA app, which will use QR codes for visitors and staff to register their attendance. Keep an eye out for QR barcodes and written registers at relevant Shire facilities.

You can learn more about this new system here.

Tidy Blocks

With fire season here, in addition to ensuring your block is safe, it’s a great time to do some tidying.

Our Environmental Health Officer and Ranger will be conducting inspections to identify any locations which may harbour vermin, provide habitat for snakes or mosquitos. These blocks typically:

  • Contain debris or rubbish, including places where water collects and stagnates
  • Are overgrown or untidy

What will Council do?

We will contact property owners and request that they address any issues that are found. We can also help to discuss possible solutions. Council can assist with transportation of large items to the rubbish tip and with block slashing through private works arrangements. We may also be able to assist with the treatment of standing water to eliminate mosquitos.

In general, we much prefer to help owners tidy up rather than issuing infringement notices.

What can you do?

Store materials on your block in a tidy manner and tip out any standing water, reducing the places for vermin, snakes and mosquitos to live and breed

  • Remove debris/rubbish from your block
  • Keep the vegetation on your block trimmed so that it doesn’t become a home for vermin or, come the end of the rains, a potential fire hazard
  • Contact Council if you have large items, like car bodies, that you need help to remove

What is the outcome?

  • There are less places for vermin, snakes and mosquitos to breed
  • There are less overgrown lots and a smaller fire risk
  • Our town looks tidier and more appealing
  • Mingenew is a safer and more pleasant place to live and visit

We know that most of our residents work hard to keep their properties tidy, and we are confident that these are outcomes everyone would like to see. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at the Shire and we will do our best to help.

Fixed Wireless Coverage for Mingenew

Just a reminder that the Shire, with assistance from the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program, has completed an upgrade of a telecommunications near the Mingenew townsite. This upgrade has made Node1’s Fixed Wireless internet service available to residents and businesses in town.

Fixed wireless broadband is already available to many in the rural parts of the Shire through the State Government’s Digital Farms program, which the Shire project built upon.

For more information, click here.

Mosquito Activity

Shire officers have been testing and treating standing water for mosquito larvae and fogging. If you are have issues with mosquitoes at your property, please let the Shire know (visit the office, call 9928 1102 or email enquiries@mingenew.wa.gov.au) so that we can investigate and treat the issue.

Council Meeting Review – December 2020

Council’s November meeting saw a range of items passed, including:

  • Adoption of the Shire’s annual report for 2019/20 (you can view the report on our website here)
  • The allocation of funding in the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Phase 2 program. This will see funding put towards the installation of public WiFi in the main street, a renovation of the library and reception area of the Shire office and over $130,000 of gravel resheeting. The works will all take place between July and December 2021
  • Consideration of Shire feedback to further legislative review processes, including the Select Committee into Local Government
  • The review of the Shire’s (significant) body of administration and finance policies
  • Endorsement of a contract extension for the CEO

For all the details, you can check the minutes on the Shire website here.

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