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Councillor Column- 21 April 2020 – Councillor Greg Armstrong

Apr 21, 2020

Hilltops 2040 – A Strategic Vision.

While it may seem that the loo-paper lunacy of panic buying  has pervaded our daily lives and product  “bag limits” at the  grocery  store are the new norm, it has highlighted the terrible situation  that can develop  when Australian  manufacturing moves  offshore. I am sure that we will hear more on this subject in the fullness of time – in the interim I would encourage everyone to buy Australian where and when possible.

Despite the far reaching impacts of drought, absolute destruction of bushfires and now attack by Coronavirus the resilience demonstrated by communities all over the country is quite staggering. Australians have not forgotten how to have a “red hot go” – Federal Government included.

The Hilltops is not immune to the effects of pandemic, drought or bushfire  and there is a new style of “business as usual” across the region. Regrettably, this has resulted in many Council facilities being closed for use, meetings cancelled and has forced modification of consultation action plans to leverage available contact channels whilst maintaining allowable contact methods.

For reasons best known to the Department of Planning, the State has not considered the current pandemic sufficient reason to defer the essential Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) and associated consultation until the Covid-19 emergency has passed, nor has it advised Council of any extension to the deadline for this consultation. This is in stark contrast to the decision to defer  the  2020 Local Government Elections for  12 months.

With social distancing the new norm and gathering numbers being highly restricted, a more adaptive approach has been taken by Council to engage with the broader community in presentation of the Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) which is titled “Hilltops 2040”.
A new consultation Action Plan has been developed which will take advantage of traditional channels such as paper, radio and television along with webcast meetings, Youtube type videos, lists of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and electronic surveys.

Given the pressing mid-year deadline and seemingly inflexible position taken by the State, Hilltops Council will use it best endeavours to inform and seek feedback on the LSPS. Such feedback will be considered by Council and will also inform the Local Environmental Plan development process.
However you choose to commemorate Anzac Day 2020, please stay safe and stay well.

Lest We Forget.

Greg Armstrong