Mayor's Column – 24 February 2023

Published on 05 April 2023

Mayor Isabelle Tolhurst headshot

Hello to all residents, ratepayers, and visitors to the Borough of Queenscliffe on Wadawurrung Country. This week it’s back to official business, with our first Ordinary Meeting of Council for 2023 held on Wednesday. Members of the public are encouraged to attend in person or online to our monthly meetings, and questions can be directed to Council on any matters of interest and concern through public question time.

Last week we welcomed Kelvin Spiller to the Borough, who was appointed to the position of Acting CEO to support while Martin Gill is on medical leave. Kelvin comes with extensive experience in local government (having worked at more than 20 Councils and with 26 Mayors) and his focus on relationship building with Councillors, staff and the community provides great confidence to the organisation during this time.

We also welcomed Minister for Local Government, The Hon Melissa Horne MP and Member for Bellarine, Alison Marchant, to Wirrng Wirrng (Queenscliffe Hub) for Library Lovers Day. This day honours libraries, librarians, and celebrates the value of these truly public spaces. Minister Horne also delivered news that Geelong Regional Libraries will receive around $121,000 of funding for a Digital Literacy for Seniors Program, which is part of a $2million package providing digital training programs for seniors across the state. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index indicates that older people are most likely to be excluded from digital activities, making programs that focus on building knowledge, confidence and safety online essential.

Queenscliff Climate Action Now’s Community Solar Program launch went off with a (very renewable) bang, with more than 200 people joining to hear from delivery partner, Vortex Electrical, on options for purchasing and installing solar batteries, panels and heat pumps across 3225. Programs like these are essential to helping our community achieve the Climate Emergency Response Plan’s three ambitious targets. Congratulations to QCAN and all providers for such a well-attended event.

At the weekend I joined Point Lonsdale Surf Life Saving Club (PLSLSC) for their Pink Patrol celebrations, a day recognising the contributions of women to surf life saving clubs and efforts. There was impassioned discussion about breaking down the barriers to long-term participation of women, but I’m pleased to say the PLSLSC may be leading the way with gender parity on their Board and a high proportion of female members, volunteers and leaders in the club.

On the subject of our community leading, a Freemasons fundraiser dinner for Coast Guard Queenscliff on Saturday evening welcomed 150 guests to the Borough, and raised an impressive $15000 for their new flotilla. Guests gave generously to the cause on the sparkling summer’s evening, and we continue to live up to our reputation as a community who cares deeply for each other and shows up when it counts.

A final but important event of note, is that earlier this week Councillor Ebbels, Councillor Grout and I joined leaders from the region in a discussion on the Voice to Parliament. With addresses from Deputy Prime Minister Hon Richard Marles MP, Christine Couzens MP, Libby Coker MP, Wadawurrung Elder Corrina Eccles and Professor Mark Rose we were invited to consider a basic question: “Do we want to listen to Aboriginal people?” This simple question has resonated with me and will guide my thinking and discussions with community as we collectively go on the journey to the referendum.

The referendum is part of the Government's commitment to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, which seeks to have voice, treaty and truth-telling embraced across Australia.

With 2023/34 budget planning underway, the next few months are both busy and essential to the delivery of our Council Plan. Council welcome submissions to inform our decision-making and spend, and we’ll be communicating progress regularly.

Have a great week, and get in touch if you want to chat. Go well. 






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