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Mayor Massey will serve another year

MAYOR Graeme Massey has stepped up to the top job for another year, before the 2020 Local Council elections next October. 

Councillors voted unanimously in Wednesday’s council statutory meeting to retain Cr Massey as the head of the Yarriambiack Shire Council. 

Cr Shane Roberts was voted Deputy Mayor, while Cr Helen Ballentine will step down from her role. 

Cr Roberts has been representing the Shire from the Hopetoun Ward for the past three years during his first term in the Yarriambiack Shire Council; councillors also voted unanimously on electing Cr Roberts into the position. 

Mayor Massey said in trialling times, the councillors agreed retaining his position would be the best for the organisation. 

“We decided a few months ago, given the situation we’re facing next year, the other councillors thought it was necessary that I would stay on being Mayor,” Cr Massey said. 

“I agreed to do that; for continuity  purposes, they feel my leadership at this time is quite valuable.”

He said given the Inspectorate report released last week, the shire officers and council will be facing many challenges in 2020. 

“It’s challenging we’re really keen to get started, we need to restore the community and ratepayers faith in us as councillors, given what happened with the inspectorate report,” he said. 

Council will continue to work on the pressing issues rural shires are facing in a changing landscape. 

“We’ve also got normal challenges that face our council of our size in rural areas,” he said. 

“That is financial sustainability, meeting our obligations as a collector of rubbish and waste disposal, looking after our roads and make sure we can access all the state funding to improve our roads situation. 

“We’ll also be looking at expanding tourism in relation to the Silo Art Trail in taking advantage of other facilities the region offers and trying to convince people to stay in this part of Victoria for a little bit longer.”

Newly elected Deputy Mayor Shane Roberts thanked the councillors for nominated him into the position. 

“I would like to congratulate the Mayor for serving another year - I think you’re the right person to lead us,” Cr Roberts said. 

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be elected through the Ward system and my communities put faith me.  

“It’s like taking it to the next level being elected by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and other councillors, I thank you all for that.” 

Councillor Kylie Zanker said she’s confident Mayor Massey will be the most suitable leader for 2020. 

“You (Mayor) have such a calm level approach and your dedication for our shire, I’m confident as you as our leader and as the front for our council, your passion and dedication will definitely be needed in the next 12 months,” Cr Zanker said. 

Yarriambiack Shire Council Chief Executive Officer Jessie Holmes said the transition into her position was made easier with the help of councillors and the Mayor. 

“My first 12 months as CEO has been greatly assisted by you as the Mayor and the support I have received from you has been remarkable,”  Ms Holmes said. 

Mayor Massey said it’s too early at this stage to say whether he will run for the position again in the 2020 elections. 

He said as the State Government is considering their amendments to the Local Governance Act, he is unsure about the future structure of the shire council. 

“Speaking for all councillors, we’re not sure how or when the local government bill, when it becomes an act, will be in the Yarriambiack shire in respect to whether we retain our existing ward structure or whether we have to go un-subdivided,” Cr Massey said. 

“The message seems to be we’ll be un-subdivided. Which is a different consideration for council when they stand for office.”

Having an un-subdivided structure means council  can retain seven councillors from anywhere in the shire, voted in through proportional representation.

Their current structure means they must have councillors representing the wards within the shire, which are Warracknabeal, Dunmunkle and Hopetoun.  

Mayor Massey said council wishes to retain the ward system, mainly due to the geographical size of the shire. 

“We concede that the current system works very well and we asked strenuously to retain that system,” Cr Massey said.  

“We’re not too sure if the act is going to apply to us or if we’re going to 2024 for the recommendations regarding the structure of council.”