As you are aware, last week we went into lockdown for the sixth time.
It is frustrating when outbreaks are confined to Melbourne and Sydney and the impacts on our local businesses are so severe. I was relieved when some common sense prevailed on this occasion, however this close down period will still be felt broadly.
My thoughts go out to all our local businesses and I take this opportunity to thank residents for your continued efforts.
I encourage everyone that can do so, to please support local businesses – there survival depends on you. Our tourism, retail and hospitality workforce has been hit hard again – we need to support them now, more than ever.
Book in for your vaccination now – it’s your best defence and our only way forward.
Help for business is available
Council has appointed a COVID-19 Support Officer, Sarah Rogers.
Please contact Sarah if your business needs help being guided through the current pandemic by phoning: 5036 2455 or emailing: email@example.com
Border bubble frustration
Last week changes were made to the Victorian/NSW border bubble arrangements. New changes now effectively stop NSW residents from entering Victoria – with a handful of exceptions. Likewise, Victorian residents can only enter NSW for the same few reasons.
The decision has created a lot of confusion and frustration in our community and it has had another detrimental impact on our already struggling local economy.
Council expresses our frustration, but we acknowledge that these issues arise as part of being a municipality on the border.
As an active partner on the Murray Tourism board we will be supporting advocacy efforts with both State and Federal governments to ensure a consistent message in relation to the real impacts and to achieve better outcomes for the Murray visitor economy and our communities.
We are focusing on the following key areas within the overall advocacy approach to government:
- Urgent need for an agreed framework on triggers for moving in and out of a lockdown specifically as they relate to the border region
- Consistency in the treatment of the border region
- Desire for the NSW border region to be treated under the same rules as Victorian rules where possible (green border bubble travel permit system)
- Agreed direct business support measures to be available under various predetermined conditions and restrictions framework to ensure long term sustainability
- Prioritisation of investment in key tourism infrastructure projects
- Dedicated marketing funding support to aid recovery efforts
Community Vision and Council Plan
Thank you to all those in the community who have attended a face-to-face or Zoom community workshop or have completed the online survey – your visions and aspirations for our region are exciting!
So far we have conducted 4 community workshops and have 105 surveys completed.
I encourage those who are yet to share your long term views of our community and region to visit https://letstalk.swanhill.vic.gov.au/community-vision
Phase 1 of consultation will close on Monday 16 August at 5pm.
The next stage in developing the Community Vision and Council plan requires consultants RMCG, to review contributions and collate your valuable feedback and ideas.
This information will be used to produce the draft Community Vision and draft Council Plan.
Phase 2 of consultation will give the community another opportunity to comment on our Draft Community Vision and Draft Council Plan – stay tuned for more information on this!
Mallee Hydrogen Technology Cluster
On Wednesday, 4 August I attended the Mallee Hydrogen Technology Cluster forum.
The forum included a presentation on hydrogen and a discussion on industry opportunities for the rapidly emerging new energy storage method.
Hydrogen applications in agriculture, manufacturing, transport, gas and for export are all part of global, national, state and regional conversations. It is now viewed as an alternative and important part of the energy sector.
I learnt that with this new energy transition we could gain over 1 tonne of hydrogen plus oxygen to the atmosphere with 55 megawatt hours of electricity converting 10,000 litres of water – which is pretty impressive!
The Mallee Hydrogen Technology Cluster will cover the North West of Victoria, across the Mildura Rural City Council, Swan Hill Rural City Council, Buloke Shire Council and Gannawarra Shire Council areas.
The clusters establishment cements the Mallee’s position as a viable and strategic location to foster hydrogen capabilities – it was a very informative forum.