Nothing quite like being baptised by fire – in my first week of being Mayor and in the very first meeting we were appointing an acting CEO – things went a little awry and we had a full gallery for the first time in approximately 20 months and an Unscheduled meeting later that same week.
Things have levelled out a little now which will hopefully give me a chance to find my feet in this position that I am humbled and privileged to hold.
As a teenager being educated at Swan Hill Secondary College I never thought that I would be Mayor. I’m sure all of my teachers would’ve agreed with me, although I do remember once being told that “I wouldn’t amount to much if I couldn’t find a job where I talk for a living!”
Consequently I went into radio and now Local Government, so although I’ve taken the long way around via a few other cities, States, Territories and countries, to get here, here I am.
I’ve never made any secret that progress and development are my priorities and reinvigorating our small towns and vibrant villages are high on the priority list also, along with optimising our biggest tourism assets. The rivers and lakes in our region. I’ve always maintained that the stretch of Murray River from Boundary Bend to Euston is the best stretch for skiing and water sports, although at the moment it’s a little difficult to navigate with the speed and ferocity at which it’s flowing, but it is our biggest tourism asset.
Our agriculture and manufacturing sector are our biggest economic drivers which also need to prioritised for the sake of regional growth and prosperity. We should be screaming from the top of the frost fans about the amount of product that comes from our region and I certainly do that at every opportunity. I also means we have to have our finger on the pulse when it comes to advocating on behalf of our agribusinesses and manufacturers, but not only that, where would we be without our small family operated businesses.
It’s these business that I certainly appreciate when shopping for just about everything. You don’t get personalised advice and discounts from an Amazon algorithm. A discount coupon won’t tell you that instead of buying a mass produced pair of boots you can have some made specifically for your enormous feet that will be still slightly feminine, but the owner of the small business you’re shopping at will, and they do.
Whilst we’re on the subject, I do want to take the opportunity to urge you to shop locally this festive season. I heard a term “Brick Bait” this morning, which apparently means that you’re encouraging people to shop instore rather than online! Since when does this practise now need it’s own phrase. We should be doing it already. Those stores are the ones that donate to your local footy, netball, basketball, little athletics clubs, community groups, schools etc etc. They’re the ones who help fill the schools with their families children, who offer employment to all manner of people, and who have roots which run deep under our community.
We shouldn’t need a special term for shopping in store at local small businesses, it should be our default.