There seems to be some confused about the Southern Highlands Destination Strategy and how it was developed and adopted.
A very senior officer of the council would elaborate as follows: "The Southern Highlands Destination Strategy is meant to be a blueprint strategic document establishing the preferred business sectors that resonate with our community and agreeing on high level objectives (the WHAT). Once this was adopted by council then council staff would work with the the business sectors to develop the actions under an action plan (the HOW) based on short, medium and long term timeframes (the WHEN).This is exactly how the community strategic plan was developed 10 years ago (the WHAT) followed by three delivery plans the latest being the 2017/2021 Delivery Plan (the HOW and the WHEN). This is common practice in government agencies so that when unforeseen situations occur all you are tinkering with are the actions and not the higher level strategy which if solid should not need altering. A plan provides action and outcomes but a strategy provides a blueprint."
Wingecarribee Shire is about to commence its Pie Time Festival, a tourism program that has won a National Tourism Award. If you don't understand the Southern Highlands Destination Strategy then you would do well to leave it alone.I am sure the new general manager will completely understand the strategy that has been put in place. No doubt with her qualifications and experience she will be implementing strategy as soon as possible.
The administrator should take the time to "settle" and leave any changes, particularly any changes to the Southern Highlands Destination Strategy to the new general manager.
I was very disappointed that the Station Street project was cancelled.This was a 30 year project by previous councils and the traffic engineering staff had advised that the area was "red lining" at morning and afternoon peak traffic periods. Is gridlock next?
The other problem with the estimates of costs is that council would not know the actual cost of the project until tenders were called. So throwing around figures such as $42M and $36M was unwarranted. Management also estimated $25M and I am sure the State Government would have come to the party with additional funding to ensue the project went ahead.
The biggest disappointment is that council will now forfeit $7.5M dollars in grant funding from the project as management had always advised council that the funds could not be reallocated to any other council projects. I wish the administrator all the very best of luck in the world when he meets with the local member but I can't see $7.5M being reallocated to other council projects.
Unfortunately, the Minister for Local Government's actions to appoint an administration may have already cost this community $600,000 in ratepayers money. I believe that the first order of business that the new council should be requesting is to seek a report on the total costs to the community that the suspension of council has caused. It should be very enlightening for all those people that called for the council to be sacked. Particularly those candidates standing for council.
Peter Nelson, councillor (suspended)
And other comments on council...
I am reminded of the old adage 'in a democracy people get the leaders they deserve'. I think this is a wonderful time to look forward and see the opportunity for the people of Wingecarribee to be represented by councillors we deserve. Given the roles of mayor and councillor are presently being performed by an administrator, the upcoming election presents a golden opportunity for Wingecarribee electors to install a fresh council that is responsive to their concerns and needs.
It is easy to criticise things we are unhappy about but it is important to realise we have an opportunity to direct the future of our region in this election. I believe it is important that ALL VOTERS thoroughly investigate the competencies of those putting themselves up for election, to ensure we are represented by the best people for these important roles.
Thankfully, in this coming election we have fresh faces with proven track records to choose from. My friend, Kaye Tompson, will be standing as an Independent candidate in the election. With extensive experience with a major company as well as dedicated service to social enterprise, we can be assured that Kaye will be focused on eliminating wastage and poor decisions, and being responsive to the community's needs.
Others also bring fresh ideas and hope. So we can make an effort to get involved and informed about each candidate running for these elections. Let's elect the leaders (councillors) we truly deserve on September 4.
Flooding is a long standing issue. An expensive plan was commissioned and adopted by council in 2009 with completion to be in seven years. So far very little has been done and the major item to reduce flooding still far away. Can we discuss this now the old councillors are gone?
Edward Westwood, Bowral
A fairer Wingecarribee Shire
Peter Cunningham, in his recent letter titled, "Politics in Australia" has laid bare his ignorance about politics in Australia for all to see. He clearly has never read the policies of the Australian Greens whose four pillars are:
1) Ecological sustainability
2) Grassroots participatory democracy
3) Social justice
4) Peace and non-violence
Neither the ALP nor the L/NP hold these values. Indeed, it is only the Greens that have a Federal Job Guarantee policy "To establish a Federally funded, locally administered, job guarantee scheme that will provide a job for any unemployed Australia who wants a job, with no element of compulsion. All worker entitlements and training would be included."
The Greens is the only party with a policy that guarantees a job for anyone who can't find one in the private or public sectors. This policy will provide economic and social justice. Neither major party offers that! Instead they punish the involuntarily unemployed, reduce support for tertiary education and promise austerity policies designed to plunge more Australians into poverty. They call that fiscal responsibility.
In contrast, the Greens prioritise a balanced economy, placing social, economic and environmental justice and equity above all. If these values resonate with you, then vote #1 for the Greens candidate, Heather Champion, in the upcoming WSC election. Her election will be the first step in ushering in a new era of a fairer Wingecarribee Shire, NSW and, ultimately, a fairer Australia!
Gregory Olsen, Bundanoon
Oh what a night!
Last Friday night I braved the cold with 330 people to witness an extraordinary musical "DOWNTOWN" by year 11 students in the performing arts theatre at Chevalier College. Singing ,dancing by a very talented cast of fifty was supreme. The show was the ultimate amateur production and equal to many professional shows I have attended in Sydney, London's West End, & Off Broadway in New York.
The audience reaction to the performers was electric and I am sure all who attended left knowing they had witnessed something special.
You've done it again Chevalier. Bravo !
David Lyons, Lindfield
Reconciliation Week: a reflection
As Reconciliation Week wraps up I find it important to reflect on my personal experiences locally. The decision of the Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group to request several Aboriginal flags from our local federal member, Angus Taylor was a good one as it enabled us to approach several clubs and associations with the "Let's Walk Together" offering of a flag to be flown in Reconciliation Week, Anzac Day, NAIDOC and Australia Day. Each approach was accepted positively. The Mittagong RSL Club purchased a flag themselves using it as an opportunity to replace a weather-worn Australian flag. An Australian flag was included in the gift to the Bundanoon Community Association. The response across the Wingecarribee Shire has been hearting.
It is now 29 years since Prime Minister Paul Keating said:
"That is perhaps the point of this Year of the World's Indigenous People: to bring the dispossessed out of the shadows, to recognise that they are part of us, and that we cannot give indigenous Australians up without giving up many of our own most deeply held values, much of our own identity - and our own humanity."
"Down the years, there has been no shortage of guilt, but it has not produced the responses we need. Guilt is not a very constructive emotion. I think what we need to do is open our hearts a bit. All of us. Perhaps when we recognise what we have in common we will see the things which must be done - the practical things."
Locally raising the flag and entering into discussion has been a "practical thing".
Another practical step would be accepting The Uluru Statement which calls for the 'establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution'.
A national survey recently found over 70 per cent of Australians surveyed support First Nations peoples' constitutional recognition, with 60.7 per cent supporting the Voice to Parliament proposal, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart was 'endorsed by unprecedented Indigenous consensus.
I have personally experienced a few challenges in the past week with statements like "They are not my Uncles of Aunties!" I point out there is no objection to calling priests and nuns Father and Sister as being a recognition of service in a religion. Another comment was "It was not an invasion!" "Where were the armies?!". This misunderstands the breadth of the word invasion. I ask "what is the invasion of privacy? There is no army." However things are taken without the right to the detriment of a person or persons.
The thing that troubles me the most is the tendency to generalise, labelling a whole race with the negatives, illnesses and so on of part of a race. As an example, all Australians are not dole bludgers even if there is some that are.
I have several times been appointed to deal with failing schools . Always the principle of listening has been a basic step. We have watched this with the appointment of the administrator of the Wingecarribee Shire Council. A key first step has been listening. It has had a good effect.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a good strategy for improvement worthy of our support. It is a listening process.
Let us commit to continuing to contribute to "Australia A Work In Progress"