Our community came together last week to pay respect to those who died in the Christchurch massacre. It was a moving ceremony, filled with grief and sorrow, but also filled with hope and with a determination that harmony should prevail in our multicultural communities.
Swan Hill region has many cultures, religions and races within our borders, living together in harmony. We need to ensure this continues and that judgments and racism are excluded from all aspects of our daily lives.
This harmony will be celebrated beautifully tomorrow at Riverside Park, and I encourage people to come along and show their support for our multicultural, inclusive and diverse community.
Dozens of cultures will be represented at Harmony Day, through their food, dance, music and dress.
Mildura-based Indigenous rapper Philly will be there and I’m told that he pledges peace, love and unity – a perfect fit for Harmony Day.
A wonderful Welcome to Country is being planned, while Asanti Dance Theatre – a Melbourne-based African performance group – will run drumming and dance workshops before being the final act.
Of course, there will be the ever popular cultural food market, this year featuring contemporary Aboriginal cuisine along with food from Iran, Afghanistan, the Phillipines, Korea, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, plus the popular Rotary barbecue.
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow from 4pm until 9pm at Swan Hill’s Riverside Park.
Gallery, interpretive centre update
If you missed it last week, Deputy Prime Minister was in Swan Hill to announce $16.8 million for projects across seven local councils (pictured above)
I’m proud to say that our Council led the charge for this funding, bringing all those council groups together and working on the applications.
For Swan Hill the main win is funding for our iconic, new art gallery and interpretive centre. The building will also incorporate an information centre, Pioneer Settlement entrance, outdoor event spaces, a bush tucker garden and, a little further up the river, the Yamagata garden.
Council staff are now working with stakeholders including the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery Advisory Committee, the Wandarrah Action Group and its own cultural and tourism staff to finesse building designs.
We will keep you posted.
Being proud of Robinvale
There has been some negativity around as a result of immigration raids in the area, and the ongoing challenges with housing.
There is no shying away from the fact that these are real issues with real life impacts.
As a Council there are some things we can do directly to alleviate these problems and we continue to do these – policing potentially illegal rooming houses, working on strategies to improve housing availability, and working in partnership with local groups and government departments who are also trying to assist.
Indirectly we can help the community to improve its capacity, the towns’ livability and community facilities.
There is also plenty that everyone in the community can do. Possibly the simplest is to be proud and to talk up your town. Community pride and positivity goes a long way in create great communities, and communities that outsiders are attracted to. In Robinvale, there is much to be proud of.
The diversity and inclusiveness of your community is obvious and something to be celebrated. Great events like the Mallee Almond Blossom Festival and Ski Race bring activity and vibrancy.
Perrin Street will be getting a facelift from this weekend. Construction of the new community library at Robinvale College is getting closer.
And of course, Federal funding announced last week will make a big impact. Council officers are finalising detailed plans for the Bromley Road beautification and hope to go out to tender in the next few weeks. There will also be a new heritage trail, and a giant artwork installed on the community centre.
We have a new, enthusiastic representative for the Robinvale community on Council – Cr Jade Benham was officially sworn in last week.
There are many applications with Council for planning and building approval of new houses, on-farm accommodation and a backpackers’.
And despite all the challenges that face irrigated agriculture around the country, investment in the Robinvale region continues. Grape harvest is underway and the weather has been ideal for horticultural harvests.
These are just a few – what else are you proud of in and around Robinvale?
Bromley Road submissions
We have received an amazing response to our call for public comment on the potential sale of Bromley Road land.
I want to thank the community for getting so involved in this local decision-making process. We received 99 submissions plus a petition.
Councillors will hold a Special Council Meeting in Robinvale at 6pm on 8 April at the Community Centre to hear and receive submissions. A final decision on the potential sale will then be made at the May Council meeting, which will now be held in Robinvale.