Message from the Shire President

August is always a busy month, the first week usually features the Western Australian Local Government Association’s (WALGA) Annual Conference. This year – in response to increased scrutiny of the role of local governments across WA – there was a strong focus on the breadth of services that local governments provide. Whilst, traditionally, the 3 Rs (Roads, Rates and Rubbish) used to be all that we involved ourselves with, modern local government is a different beast – incorporating housing, youth services, aged care, facilities management, community development, tourism and a lot more besides.

Speaking of tourism, I can also report that our current advertising campaign has been proving successful. I received numerous positive comments at the conference regarding our television commercial ‘Make Mingenew the Middle of Your Wildflower Season’, and the sheer number of tourists visiting our town in the past few weeks certainly suggests that it is having an impact.

No doubt this is helped when local businesses also try new things to attract and retain visitors. On this topic I want to extend my congratulations to Carol and Brett Farr and their team at the Mignenew Spring Caravan Park for a recent – very well attended – live music night. Whilst the Shire will always endeavour to encourage visitors to our area, once people arrive we rely upon the efforts of our local businesses and community to help ensure that their experience lives up to our ads. Initiatives like live music, events and extended trading hours all help in this regard.

Of course, the other reason that town has been so busy was the 37th Mingenew Midwest Expo. I want to pass on my compliments and congratulations to the board, exhibitors, suppliers and countless volunteers who help to deliver this event. Whilst the rain may have dampened numbers, it didn’t dampen spirits and another successful event was delivered.

Lastly, I would like to thank all who have – or will be – nominating to stand in the October local government elections. It is not always easy being a Councillors, but it is a highly rewarding role – and a necessary one. I wish you all the very best.

– Cr Helen Newton, Shire President.

Roads

As tenders are being prepared for major works on Coalseam Road this financial year, our crew is currently in maintenance mode, trying to improve some of our worst gravel sections and do some pothole patching, ahead of this year’s harvest.

We are also in the process of applying for funding for next financial year to upgrade a number of intersections on Yandanooka North East Road, improve our Shire’s section of Burma Road and continue improvements on the Mingenew-Mullewa Road – as per our recently-adopted 5-year Road Plan.

Main Roads will be providing an update to Council regarding ongoing bridge upgrades (Yarragadee and Coalseam Bridges in particular) in September – so expect to hear more about this in next month’s update.

Rubbish Collection Changes

Just a reminder: Effective 23 September, Cleanaway will be taking over from Avon Waste as our rubbish collection agency. The biggest change will be collection day for domestic bins moving from Thursday to Monday. One of the other changes under the contract will be the availability of collection for some rural properties along selected routes. You can find out more on our website here.

Mingenew Bank Building

The Shire is commencing an Expression of Interest campaign to find a new occupant for the vacant bank building in Mingenew. The Shire would like to use this as an opportunity to further the aims of our Strategic Community Plan 2019-2029 and see the building utilised in a way that promotes the aims of that Plan and supports and strengthens the economy and social fabric of our community.

Full details, including the expression of interest form, can be found on our website (click here) or by contacting the Shire.

Council Meeting Review

It was a big agenda this month, with both our Audit and Risk Committee and Ordinary Council Meeting taking place. Our Audit Committee meeting saw the receipt of our Interim Audit and 4-yearly Financial Management Review – both of which pointed to a generally stable and robust system of financial and management controls within the organisation. It also provided an update on the delivery of our 3-year internal audit plan, the chief deliverable of which is a vastly improvement HR Policy and Procedure framework for the organisation. Whilst the content of the audit meetings can sometimes be viewed as very dry, as the local government sector modernises and comes under increased scrutiny from both the Auditor General and the general public, it is critical that we have contemporary management systems and processes in place.

The Council meeting itself featured several planning items, key among them an amendment to the Shire’s outbuilding policy which saw increased height restrictions introduced for sheds build in town. The Shire also adopted its Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2019-2024, another statutory requirement and a key document to ensure that we are providing adequate service to those in our community with special needs.

Finally, Council endorsed a submission to the Select Committee into Local Government, a State Government committee established to investigate the function of Local Government in WA. You can learn more about this, and make a submission yourself if you wish, at this site (submissions close 13 September 2019).

Tourism Update

We are well and truly into tourism season! There are a lot of visitors coming through town and – thanks to some recent rain – the wildflowers are looking impressive. Thanks to our volunteers from the Tourist and Promotions committee for their efforts in this space – there is a new gazebo being built at Drover’s Rest, shuttles of everlastings around the main street and some new droving static displays in production. The Tourist Centre has also reopened for the season, which is an invaluable service that this volunteer group provides.

Heavy Vehicle Access to CBH and around Townsite

At this year’s Expo we commenced consultation around some proposed changes to heavy vehicle access to CBH and surrounds. We are seeking community feedback on this matter to help to inform next steps. The primary issues being addressed are stacking distance problems for long trucks at the Mingenew-Morawa Road intersection, the impact of Boolinda Rd being blocked by trains and concerns regarding heavy vehicle traffic in the town centre.

The process is still in the very early stages, and community input is vital to the process. We have a feedback survey available for any interest people to complete online here.

For more information, including proposed mapping, and a downloadable version of the survey, visit the Shire website (click here) or come by the Shire office.

2019 Local Government Elections

Ordinary Elections will take place to fill two Town Ward and two Rural Ward seats on Saturday October 19 2019. Electoral rolls closed on August 30, Candidate nominations opened on September 5 (closing September 12).

One key change this election, as a result of amendments to the Local Government Act 1995, is that prior to nominating in the 2019 local government elections, all candidates will be required to complete the online candidate induction.

The candidate induction has been developed to assist people who are thinking about becoming a local government councillor to better understand the role. It outlines the responsibilities of council and councillors as well as election and campaigning rules. The induction will also serve as a refresher to those who have previously been a councillor and informs them of any recent changes to their obligations in the role.

The candidate induction is free and is available on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ website (here). For those who do not have access to the internet, please visit the Shire offices to complete the module online. It is important that all prospective candidates complete the registration form at the end of the candidate induction. This will ensure your completion is recorded by the department and you can nominate.

For those who do not have access to the internet, please visit the Shire offices to complete the module online. It is important that all prospective candidates complete the registration form at the end of the candidate induction. This will ensure your completion is recorded by the department and you can retain the confirmation email for your records.

All candidates nominating for council will be required to declare that they have competed the candidate induction at the time of nomination, which will be verified with the Department. Our website has a wealth of information on both voting on, and running in, the election. We encourage you to visit our elections page or contact Shire’s Governance Officer on (08)9928 1102 to find out more.

Website and Communications

We have been updating our contact lists for our email and text message database. We have finalized our new lists, so if feel you are missing out on important text messages with Shire updates, please complete the ‘Community Register’ form here, or simply come into the Shire office for a form.

Likewise, if you haven’t already, be sure to follow the Shire on Facebook for a range of regular updates. You can find us here.

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