Victorian Bushfires 10 year anniversary
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.
We will forever be changed because of the 2009 bushfires - some of the worst in Australia’s history – with the impacts still felt today.
On Monday evening I attended the State’s commemoration event. It was an opportunity to reflect and remember the 173 people who lost their lives and the countless others who were injured and affected. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones. I’d like to pay my respects for the bravery of the many first responders – the firefighters, police, other emergency services and everyday heroes who selflessly helped their neighbours and strangers alike.
This week is also about reflecting on how communities have united to rebuild – their resilience, mateship and hard work. I was Mayor of the City of Whittlesea in 2009, and I witnessed firsthand all the bravery, sorrow, sadness, pain, wonderful community spirit and hope. Twenty-seven councils were directly affected to different degrees, and councillors and council officers from all over the state volunteered to assist with relief and recovery.
Many council staff were involved in the immediate aftermath – from opening relief and recovery centres to support affected people, conducting assessments, coordinating clean up and rebuilding activities. I would like to thank everyone in the local government sector who has worked tirelessly with affected communities in the immediate aftermath and over the past 10 years to understand local needs, provide support and help with the rebuilding, renewal and ongoing recovery of our communities.
We all have a story to tell and we should share it. Everyone’s journey through recovery is different, and many people will be feeling a range of strong emotions at this time. Support services can be accessed via the Better Health Channel or the DHHS website.
I’d like to warmly welcome councillors elected in December and January as a result of by-elections – including to replace former councillors who were elected at the November state election.
Congratulations and welcome to Cr Megan Bridger-Darling (Maribyrnong), Cr Helen Healy (Mildura), Cr Brian Mitchell (Wodonga), Cr Anne Marie Cade (Glen Eira) and Cr Sophie Tan (Greater Dandenong) elected in January and Cr Wayne Oakes (Corangamite) elected in December. Further by-elections will also occur in March for Hepburn Shire, Swan Hill Rural City and Knox City councils.
MAV Board elections
The MAV Board elections have commenced, with nominations opening last month and closing this Friday at 4pm. Keep an eye out for ballot papers in the post from 15th February.
All candidate details will be published by the VEC after the close of nominations. The new board and President will be elected on Friday, 1st March.
Australia Day Honours
I’d like to congratulate all recipients who received Australia Day honours for their service to local government. From Victoria, five current councillors received an OAM in the General division:
- Cr Len Cox, Yarra Ranges Shire
- Cr Chris Hazelman, Greater Shepparton City Council
- Cr Des Hudson, City of Ballarat
- Cr Drew Jessop, City of Hume
- Cr Jackie Watts, City of Melbourne.
Margaret Abbey, former CEO of Murrindindi Shire also received a Public Service Medal for her outstanding service to local government and contribution to the community through the period of recovery after the 2009 Victorian bushfires. Margaret is the first female local government CEO to receive the PSM. Congratulations Margaret!
Legal services tender
Last October we announced that MAV Procurement had established a panel of legal services suppliers for the benefit of member councils. Seventeen firms have been appointed to the panel which provides legal services covering eight areas of law and 26 legal service categories aligned to the specific needs of councils. This month we expect to issue an electronic guide for councils outlining how and when to engage appropriate legal firms – it’s in the final stages of development.
To access the successful suppliers, pricing and categories, please refer to VendorPanel or contact the MAV Procurement team via email to email@example.com.
Finally, interviews are also progressing to appoint new independent members to the MAV Insurance Board and the MAV audit committee. We will update members once these appointments have been completed.
In closing, if you need anything feel free to contact me.
Respect. Remember. Reflect.