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Council Connections - Mayor's Message 20 November 2019

20th November 2019

Community Remembers Local Leaders

It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of Vi Groundwater, a great lady of our district, a lady whose devotion and dogged advocacy for the betterment of Hinchinbrook Shire and its residents could not and will not ever be questioned.

Vi was elected as a Councillor in 1988 and continued to serve the district for a further five terms, resigning her post in 2004. During that period Vi served as Chair of the Finance and Executive Committee and Chair of Corporate Services.

Vi’s passion for the people of the district, past and present can best be remembered by her inspiration and determination in establishment of the Herbert River District Museum at Halifax. Vi will long be remembered by all as many things, a great mother, wife and friend, but above all a friend of our district who made a difference.

Rest in peace.

Sadly, this year has seen the passing of two other well-known and respected identities whom served as Councillors on Hinchinbrook Shire.

Charles Herman Hecht served as a Councillor

between 1982 and 1985, working tirelessly on various local and Government committees for the betterment of the cane and also poultry industry.

John Cazzulino served during the period 1976 to 1982 and was a great supporter for the education and aged care facilities at Trebonne.

Both gentlemen were known for their tenacity in lobbying for the needs of their ratepayer constituents, particularly in their respective localities of Bambaroo and Trebonne. As a community, we acknowledge and remember the generous and valuable contributions made by these gentlemen.

Business Operations Review

With a view to ensuring sustainability and effectiveness of Council’s operations and service into the future our Chief Executive Officer and Management Team have worked with an external consultant to conduct a review of operations and measure our performance as an organisation. A catalyst to this review has been the customer satisfaction surveys and other community consultations undertaken earlier. There was a particular focus on business improvement based on productivity and efficiency enhancements for the community.

Throughout this review process, staff were encouraged to identify issues within the organisation and offer solutions. There were in excess of 50 workgroup and 110 individual employee meetings held, with staff overwhelmingly identifying the need for change and improvement both in Council’s organisational structure and business operations.

Consultation with staff is continuing, with no final decisions made regarding staffing resources to support a new functional structure. Each staff member, whether their position is intended to be affected by the proposed structure or not, has had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the potential impacts with management staff.

The review is an essential aspect to ensure that our community is served by an efficient and effective organisation. Whilst such a thorough examination of our organisation can be unsettling for some, it is a great opportunity for us to have a good assessment of ourselves and how we serve the community. Whilst the review assesses potential cost savings in our operational costings, it also aims to establish improvements to our staffing through professional development and training opportunities while also realigning staffing duties. The review has also assessed succession planning of our staffing needs and service delivery standards for the community.

I applaud the work undertaken to date as it is always challenging to have a thorough and robust examination of such a diverse organisation as Local Government.

The review has been carried out effectively and with full transparency for the long term benefit of not only our organisation but more broadly the community.

Agricultural Day

Thursday 21 November 2019 is National Agriculture Day. Bendigo Bank, Ingham will be hosting the CWA ladies who are holding a bake sale in front of the Bendigo Bank from 9.00am to 11.00am to assist in raising money for the upcoming Christmas Country Fair.

It is requested that locals wear green shirts and make a gold coin donation at Bendigo Bank, Majestic Café or JKs Deli. Following the Christmas Country Fair the QCWA Abergowrie and Long Pocket will donate funds raised to an organisation of their choosing.

Basque Book Launch

On Sunday 17 November 2019, I attended the launch of a book ‘Australianuak: Basques in the Antipodes’ by renowned American author William (Bill) A Douglas at the Basque Club of North Queensland, Townsville.

The book is an anthropological memoir of the Spanish Basque immigration to Australia.

The launch was attended by the Spanish Consul from Sydney, and our very own well respected local historian Bianka Vidonja Balanzategui.

Unfortunately, due to timing issues, we were unable to accommodate a launch here in Ingham, home to many Basques over time with Trebonne once regarded as the Basque capital of Australia.

We have arranged for a copy of the book to be made available to our Hinchinbrook Library.

Need to print the Council Connections page? Click on the link below for the printable version. 

COUNCIL CONNECTIONS -  20 NOVEMBER 2019

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