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Council Column- 16 July 2020 – Councillor Tony Flanery

Jul 16, 2020

The new General Manager Anthony O’Reilly has had a baptism of fire since taking on the job earlier this year, and it isn’t going to get any easier in the near future.

Anthony had to implement COVID restrictions within days of his arrival which has limited his ability to circulate within the community in order to get a good understanding of how different sectors   operate. Then there has been the budget constraints to handle as well as issues associated with meeting statutory deadlines for the submission of reports to the State Government, which unfortunately Hilltops Council has been pushing the envelope to meet. I think most who have been closely involved would agree, there has been a determination to get council operations working more efficiently and engage more rigorously with the community.

The audited financials for the previous financial year have been completed without issue and the 2020/21 budget is out on public display.  The preliminary statement to the finalisation of the LEP, (Long-term Strategic Planning Statement- LSPS)  has now been submitted to the State Government so we can now work towards finalisation of the LEP.

There is still a significant amount of capital works which we have received grant funding for which will continue this year such as bridge replacements, new tennis courts at Harden, the Murrumboola Creek work, continued work on the pool at Young as well as the library project and money for road upgrades. They all take a lot of organisational skill and resources, but importantly they are adding crucial jobs to the local economies of Boorowa, Harden and Young at a time when the general economic outlook is being severely tested by the COVID restrictions.

The cancellation of the major tourism events, Woolfest, the Kite Festival and the Cherry Festival will all have a significant impact on the revenue of some businesses in the local towns and villages. At the July meeting, Council will consider novel plans to encourage tourism into the local community to help ease the impact of these cancellations. I am sure many in the community will have interesting ideas on what can be put in place to market the region, so we would welcome community input.

The turnaround in the seasonal conditions from last year to this year should give the region a significant boost come harvest time. Let’s hope the good falls of rain continue.

Councillor Tony Flanery