Firstly, thank you for the confidence you have placed in me by electing me your President. It is a tremendous honour and I look forward to working on behalf of all councils for the betterment of our sector. It has been wonderful hearing from and talking with those who have attended regional meetings, conferences and forums and I also thank you for your emails and calls.
I would like to acknowledge Cr Mary Lalios for her hard work, commitment and engagement with the sector as President of the MAV over the past two years.
I would also like to express my gratitude to several former MAV Board members who have worked tirelessly for our sector and local government. Cr Rod Fyffe was on the MAV Board for more than 23 years and was a stalwart of the Insurance Board; Cr David Clark served on the Board for eight years, including six years as Rural Deputy President and two years on the ALGA Board; Gary Norton was on the Board for six years and has also recently retired as a councillor and Cr Tom Melican was on the Board for four years.
We have welcomed four new Board members: Cr Jennifer Anderson (Rural North Central), Cr Nathan Hansford (Rural South Central), Cr Murray Emerson (Rural North West) and Cr Mike Symon (Metropolitan East).
Congratulations to both Cr Jami Klisaris and Cr Ruth Gstrein, re-elected Deputy President (Metro) and elected Deputy President (Rural) respectively at the first meeting of the new Board.
Whilst this is my first “Our MAV”, I have provided regular updates on pertinent issues including two updates on recycling, the MAV advocacy regarding the community care system, the MAV State Council and this week on the Rates Review and Federal Election Campaign.
This is an exciting time at the MAV. We are looking to make changes at the State Council; we have a new look strategic plan; we are advertising for a policy/advocacy director; and with a commitment for transparency, your new Board has agreed that Board minutes will be published on the MAV website.
On a sad note, many of you will already know that after 19 years at the MAV, Gavin Mahoney has decided to move on. Gavin will be a great loss to the MAV and the sector. He is a former councillor and Mayor who has been a great support to councillors, councils, the Board and the administration.
Much of my time since the election has been devoted to the recycling and waste crisis. Together with the MAV CEO, I have met with the State Minister for the Environment Lily D’Ambrosio three times, including a roundtable with representatives from all the various State agencies involved with recycling and the seven waste resource recovery groups. These meetings have been productive. We will continue to meet with the Minister fortnightly and another roundtable has been scheduled for the second half of May. I will continue to provide timely updates.
Existing members of the various MAV advisory committees are encouraged to look at the new meeting schedules – you do not need to re-submit an EOI – and we would welcome expressions of interest from those who have an interest in one of the committees.
I would like to promote the great local things our sector does, so I would be grateful if you could share with me any good ideas, innovations or even a positive local news story.
The Federal election provides councils with the opportunity to engage with candidates and enlist support for initiatives and projects which will benefit your communities. I would encourage you to speak to your local candidates and use the MAV and ALGA election material which has recently been shared and is available on the members-only Extranet.
Finally, I would like to welcome seven new councillors to local government:
- Cr Jade Benham – Swan Hill Shire
- Cr Steven Finlay – South Gippsland Shire
- Cr Stephen Gardner – Mount Alexander Shire
- Cr Frank Hirst – South Gippsland Shire
- Cr Licia Kokocinski – Hepburn Shire
- Cr Nicole McKay – Swan Hill Rural City
- Cr Marcia Timmers-Leitch – Knox City.
We are in challenging but also exciting times. Local government has always been agile, clever and community-focused and we have a wonderful sector with so many inspirational people and councils providing innovative projects and programs. I look forward to meeting you over the coming months and learning about the great things happening at your council and in your community, and the way the MAV can support you.
With kind regards,