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Council Column – 23 February 2021 – Councillor John Walker

Feb 23, 2021

March 2021 marks a year since Anthony O’Reilly took the reigns as General Manager of Hilltops Council. We welcomed Anthony and his young family knowing he has the credentials and aspirations to bring stability and leadership to steer out the first term of the amalgamated Council.

The merger of the former Boorowa, Harden and Young Councils with their differing local cultures and management styles and systems was always going to be difficult despite assurances by the state government consultation to the contrary. Those reports quantifying the reasons to merge missed the real dynamics of the task. The reality was that the former council areas had to merge to assure the stable future of the smaller towns.

In September this year the community will go to the polls to elect new Local Government Councillors for the second term of Hilltops Council. After twenty plus years I will be retiring from my Councillor role at that time but encourage anyone interested in standing to start to familiarise themselves with the operations of Local Government ready to be inspired by the legacy left by this foundation Hilltops Council as you see it.

In my mind the appointment of Anthony was made at a critical time and has prepared a solid foundation for the future success of Council. There are still a few ripples to iron out but the last twelve months has seen confidence and professionalism restored from a tumultuous start. The large senior staff turnover had identified a vacuum left in local corporate knowledge at a time of implementing rates harmonisation on zoning equalisation.

For those contemplating representation in Local Council I encourage you to take the next step because the heavy lifting has been done and the merger turmoil calmed. A solid foundation has been laid – the need now is to reconnect with our community by stronger local representatives.

Opportunities to learn more about getting involved will soon become available through Council.
We all have the opportunity to contribute to the future of the Hilltops region. This region has the potential to rapidly grow in harmony – the only thing lacking is inspirational leadership.

Get involved.

John Walker