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Council Column – 14 January 2021 – Mayor Brian Ingram

Jan 14, 2021

I would like to wish the entire Hilltops community a very happy new year.

For some, travel plans over the break were disrupted due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. The lead up to Christmas was very uncertain and somewhat concerning as we watched numbers increase following the northern beaches outbreak. Thankfully, due to strict restrictions, the numbers have now decreased. This is a timely reminder that the risk of exposure is still very real. It is important that we all continue to do the right thing by maintaining strict hygiene and social distancing practices and adhering to public health orders and advice.

We are in unprecedented times and have faced many challenges associated with the pandemic. We have all adapted our usual way of living and doing business, we have grown stronger together, and we have shown that we are a resilient, united and caring community.

For Council, our main priorities for the year ahead are related to our financials and the upcoming budget, rate harmonisation, and delivery of a number of infrastructure projects including the Murrimboola Creek upgrade in Harden, and in Young the Milvale Road upgrade and Tresilian Park inclusive playground.

The coming year will be a busy time with challenges and I look forward to working hard to meet these challenges.

This week is very exciting on the youth front with our youth movie nights at the pools in Boorowa, Harden and Young. These free events for 12-18 year olds are the first to be delivered as part of our youth program funded by the State Government. Ticket bookings have been very strong which is great to see.

Also on events, Australia Day is fast approaching. This is a significant day that is celebrated widely across the Hilltops. Current restrictions mean that we will not be able to deliver Australia Day events in their usual format as outdoor events are now restricted to 100 people. We are working closely with organising  committees from each area and the state government to plan COVID safe events for the community. At this stage the look and feel of these events has not been finalised, however I can confirm that exemptions have been applied for to bring the number of attendees permitted at each event to 300. The outcome of these applications have not yet been advised. We will advise the community as soon as plans are in place for the day.

I look forward to the year ahead and working with the community, my fellow Councillors, General Manager Anthony O’Reilly and staff and believe that as a community we will have many successes and achievements this year.

Brian Ingram