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Bass Coast Local News:
Mayor's Message - 5 May 2017

State Government released its budget last week.

By Portal Admin - 16th May 2017 - Back to News

I am normally a very positive person – but my optimism has taken a battering after the State Government released its budget last week.

I have found it almost impossible to conceal my bitter disappointment in Wonthaggi being overlooked in both the education and health funding announcement. I hadn’t even contemplated that the State Government would not find funding for a new Secondary College for Wonthaggi.

The years of work from both the community and council, combined with the more recent expressions of encouragement and positive signals from the Government led me (and many others) to be convinced that Wonthaggi would finally be granted its much needed senior high school. Our hopes were dashed.

Let me assure you, that last week’s frustrations have only strengthened Council’s commitment and resolve to advocate tirelessly for this urgently needed community infrastructure.

On a much brighter note, last week I was lucky enough to join two living legends (and walking encyclopedias on all things relating to local history), Sam Gatto and John Jansson, on a Wonthaggi Wanderers tour. I would like to congratulate the Bass Coast Branch of the National Trust and all the work they do in bringing our local history to life. We are lucky to have a team of dedicated individuals as custodians of our precious and rich history.

I’d also like to thank them for enlightening me on our local stories. What a delight. What a history. Did you know that this town was an ‘experiment in Socialism by a conservative Government’? I certainly didn’t. If that whets your appetite, then I strongly urge you to pop into the Wonthaggi Historical Society to hear more.

Local history plays an important role in understanding the challenges our ancestors faced and the development of a culture. Wonthaggi was a town built on people from all walks of life, coming together in this place to work and establish their trade and families. These experiences are not so different to the challenges and experiences newcomers face today.

Last Wednesday we saw 18 individuals join the ranks of Australian citizens at our Citizenship Ceremony in Wonthaggi. It was a delight to officially welcome these new citizens to Bass Coast Shire, although many had lived here for many years. I know they will be a great addition to our community and contribute to our rich, varied and diverse local community.

Looking to the future, the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA) met recently to discuss their shared goal of achieving a highly adaptive capacity to climate change. Simon Richardson, Mayor of Byron Shire, gave an informative and eye-opening presentation.

Byron Shire has created the first community owned clean energy generator, and has set a target of zero landfill. The success of these ambitious projects provides an inspiring example to look towards, and from which to learn.

I had the privilege of meeting Women in Local Government Association at Parliament House last week, which highlighted some interesting facts. To begin with, women in local government are under-represented with only 38% being councillors.

However as Mayors, we have 32 female out of 78 Councils representing some 40%. Yet, disappointingly, there are 14 Councils in Victoria which have no female representation and 13 which have only one woman on Council. So whilst improvement is certainly happening, the journey towards equal gender representation continues.

Cr Pamela Rothfield, Mayor

Bass Coast Shire Council


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