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Councillor Column – 8 August 2023 – Mayor Margaret Roles

Aug 11, 2023

For Immediate Release 8 August 2023
Authorised by Mayor Margaret Roles

On the 26th July, 2023 Hilltops welcomed five new Australian citizens at a citizenship ceremony – the third such ceremony to be held in Hilltops this year.

The Hon Andrew Giles MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, in his message to our new citizens referred to the privilege of sharing ‘this beautiful country with the world’s oldest continuing culture.’ Australian culture extends back more than 60,000 years and by embracing the diversity of the old and the new, as a society we prosper and grow from the contributions made by all of us.

The conferees included long term and recent residents of Hilltops – all of whom add to the economic, social, and cultural depth of our local government area (LGA). Our world is not static but always evolving. As a community we must make sure that we also look to and plan for, the future and not become caught in a ‘warp of time’.

Planning for the economic and social security of our LGA is vital for the continued prosperity and stability of the region. The financial sustainability programme which emerged from the October 2021 resolution of Council has seen the embedding of restructuring of the council workplace.

Attention is now turning to delivery of Resolution 21/24(f) “…commence discussions regarding the consideration of a Special Rate Variation (SRV)…” Council will decide on whether to lodge a Notice of Intent (NoI) to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to apply for a SRV in November 2023.

An important part of this discussion is community engagement. Such discussion is part of IPART’s criteria for application for a SRV and will also help inform Council’s decision on whether to lodge an application.

A range of strategies for community engagement will be undertaken in the next months, including over 20 workshops being facilitated across the Hilltops, an opinion survey and SRV Community Reference Group.

Establishing a Community Reference Group will enable Councillors to better understand community sentiment about a possible SRV. Expressions of interest for this group are now open and can be found on the Hilltops Council website under the ‘Have Your Say’ page. https://www.hilltops.nsw.gov.au/council/have-your-say/

I encourage everyone to participate in the discussion. As I have mentioned above, your feedback will inform Councillor’s decision about a possible SRV. It is important to keep in mind that the level of service that we as a community expects, is dependent on the financial limitations of Council to provide these services.

There are hard decisions ahead for all of us and we must keep in mind that our decisions will become part of our future Hilltops storyline- which belongs to us all.

Margaret Roles
Mayor