Mayoral Column

Published on 03 June 2024

Mayor Stuart King

A game changing funding injection for the region

Last week Council was informed that we will receive a substantial funding commitment from the Federal Government’s Growing Regions Program.  This injection of over $5million is set to transform the Riverfront precincts in Swan Hill and Robinvale into iconic and visionary spaces for future generations to come.

Several exciting projects are set to come to fruition as part of this project including:

  • Pental Island Pedestrian Bridge

Construction of a new pedestrian bridge will re-establish the connection between Pental Island and the Pioneer Settlement. 

  • Pental Island Cultural Tourism – Stage 1

Pental Island – Area one is the priority delivery stage that will enable the realization of a new Aboriginal, Cultural Tourism and Educational experience.

  • Swan Hill  Ten Steps & Mooring Platform

Renewing the iconic Ten Steps and a new public mooring platform at Riverside Park in Swan Hill that includes the removal of existing flood damaged infrastructure and addresses existing riverbank erosion.

• Robinvale River Terrace

A new public gathering space overlooking the Murray River within the Robinvale Community Art Centre precinct.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Growing Regions Program for their generous support of our vision to rejuvenate our riverfront spaces and improve public safety, access and amenity.

Community Grants Program

A reminder that our Community Grants Program is currently open for applications. 

The program offers an opportunity for community groups and event organisers to access up to $5,000 in funding. Our initiative aims to empower local initiatives and foster growth within our community.

It is structured into two key categories to cater for everyone. Firstly, the Event Support Fund stands ready to assist both budding and established events that contribute to the social and economic fabric of our region. Whether it's a cultural festival or a sports event, this fund is designed to provide the necessary support to make these endeavours a resounding success. Secondly, the Community Development Fund is here to lend a helping hand to eligible community groups and organizations embarking on a variety of projects. From infrastructure enhancements to program expansions, this fund is dedicated to fuelling positive change within our community.

The deadline for applications is fast approaching, with submissions closing at 5:00 pm on June 5th, 2024. I encourage all eligible parties to seize this opportunity and submit their proposals for consideration.

Together, let's continue to build a thriving and vibrant municipality.

Draft Economic Development Strategy

Last week Council released its draft Economic Development Strategy, a visionary plan aimed at further steering the region towards prosperity and progress.

The draft strategy is a result of extensive community engagement, and it reflects the aspirations and priorities of our municipality. 

I encourage residents to provide feedback on the draft Strategy by Friday, 14 June - the community’s input is vital in shaping the vision for the region's economic future. At the heart of this strategy lies our commitment to shaping a future that reflects the desires of our residents and the needs of our businesses. 

Click here to have your say!

Potential cat containment curfew

As we continue to strive for a community that balances the needs of both residents and their pets, Council is currently considering a significant change in cat management. The proposal of a 24-hour cat containment order has emerged from extensive community consultation aimed at addressing cat-related nuisance issues and promoting responsible pet ownership. This measure would require all cats within the municipality to be confined to their owner's property unless appropriately restrained in a cat carrier or on a leash.

Residents have been invited to contribute their thoughts and concerns regarding this proposed 24-hour cat curfew. It is crucial that we consider the preferences of our residents as we move forward with potential measures to address cat management. Feedback received will inform our decision-making process as we work to create a safer and more harmonious environment for both residents and their pets.

Further updates will be provided as we progress towards a decision, ensuring transparency and community engagement throughout the process.

Tackling the house crisis

The housing crisis gripping rural and regional Victoria continues to present challenges to communities across our state. Council finds itself at the forefront of this issue, grappling with an urgent situation exacerbated by the region's growth in agriculture, manufacturing, education, health, and potential mining jobs. Despite the promising job opportunities, the scarcity of housing has hindered individuals' ability to relocate to our area and fill these vital roles.

Last year, Council facilitated a forum that brought together over 120 concerned citizens. This gathering served as a platform for our community members to voice their concerns and brainstorm potential solutions collaboratively. It was heartening to witness the enthusiasm and dedication displayed during this forum, as residents came together with a shared determination to address the housing crisis head-on.

Building upon the momentum generated by the forum, Council is proud to unveil the proposal for Housing Action: Greater Swan Hill. This initiative aims to harness community engagement and foster partnerships among residents, local businesses, government agencies, and stakeholders to tackle the housing shortage comprehensively. By pooling our collective expertise and resources, we are confident that we can generate innovative solutions that will make a tangible difference in addressing this pressing issue.

Vic Grid Consultation

Last week Vic Grid presented to Council and conducted a community workshop regarding proposals for future renewable energy projects and transmission lines in our region.  This process is still in community consultation, and I encourage all in our municipality to visit the Engage Victoria website to learn more and have your say.

NBN pits

As previously mentioned in this column significant improvements of the NBN network are underway in Swan Hill at the moment.  I am pleased to report that many of the temporary NBN Pit installations have now had permanent footpath repairs made around them and these works are still ongoing for another few months.