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COUNCIL COLUMN – 5 October 2021

Oct 6, 2021

For Immediate Release 5 October 2021
Authorised by Councillor John Walker

With less than two months remaining of the first term of the amalgamation of the former Boorowa, Harden and Young Councils to form Hilltops Council some may reflect as I have on the wisdom of that initial proposal and decision. To ponder over that decision or the claimed sustainability motivation criteria would seem foolish at this point of time except to review and learn for the future betterment of our region.
It would seem to me that while this new identity and structure that has been created by State authorities is still stabilising the social health of our community has been adversely impacted. 
Our very strength through community based organisations with intermit knowledge of community strengths, from whom so much is given, so much is also required but without a network or understanding with which to implement services.
By way of example of this is that like in many other areas of the state a homelessness crisis has been identified within Hilltops – and I personally thank all those working hard within this sector to address a basic need for others – but without an acknowledgment and plan by State to address this social housing crisis now matters can only worsen.
Amalgamation in many ways fragmented the intricacies of community engagement through organisational networks leaving many isolated.
It has been easy for state bureaucracy to laden local government with added responsibility through meaningless social plans but fully funded actions plans are required by State and Federal authorities and stop crucial responsibility and cost shifting. “Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate” and get serious to address this critical homelessness issue in Hilltops.
The strength of our region has always been our people – bureaucracy needs to learn to utilise these valuable resources.

Councillor John Walker