Mayor’s Message – July/August 2019
King Island Mayor Julie Arnold reports on July and August meetings and council workshops:
Budget and Annual Plan:
A large portion of Council’s time in July was spent in working toward a Budget and Annual Plan for 2019-20. Although we are not totally satisfied with the result, and will keep working toward a more sustainable target, acceptance of the Budget allowed rate notices to go out so as to safeguard the Council’s cashflow.
If anyone has queries about either the Budget or the rates notices, please do not hesitate to contact Council staff, Greg Alomes, the General Manager or Councillors. If they are unable to immediately answer the query it will be followed up until an answer is provided.
General Manager Now On Board:
Greg Alomes started officially with Council on the 5th August. Prior to that date, he and I had weekly telephone meetings to bring him up to date. Greg and his wife Heather have started meeting people in the community and finding their feet.
Greg maintains an open-door policy and would welcome the opportunity to speak with people about issues concerning them.
Greg has meet with staff and Councillors to develop the priority lists for moving forward and dealing with the competing demands on both staff and resources.
King Island Scheelite:
In July I had an up-date meeting with the Chairman of King Island Scheelite, Mr Johann Jacobs. Whilst all funding is not yet in place, construction is still expected to commence first quarter of 2020. A new general manager, Mr Chas Murcott has been appointed and Greg Alomes, Gordon Denholm, our Acting Senior Manager Operations and I met with Chas to exchange information about some lease and gravel stockpile issues.
We can look forward to a mutually constructive and beneficial relationship with KIS.
TasPorts and Bass Island Line:
Greg and I met with Stephen Casey, TasPorts Chief Operating Officer, to discuss the way forward given TasPorts have decided not to accept any of the tenders resulting from the recent exercise. We have agreed that the interests of King Island are of primary importance and have started reorganising the governance issues to ensure King Island’s voice about the capabilities of a new ship are heard loud and clear.
We will be having regular, formal meetings with TasPorts to ensure our message is not lost.
Ms Sally Darke, who is a Director of Bass Island Line visited the island as part of the Tasmanian Community Funding executive. Greg and I took the opportunity to again emphasise the difficulties and costs the community is facing with the current shipping situation.
Lions 50th Anniversary and Tour of Projects:
I was an invited guest to the Lions 50th anniversary dinner and Installation of Office Bearers. It was a very enjoyable evening and I again applaud the energy and dedication of all our volunteer organisations. The community would be immeasurably poorer without their selfless work.
Tasmanian Community Fund Visit:
The Tasmanian Community Fund was established in 1999 following the sale of the Trust Bank. The Fund provides grants to not-for-profit organisations and is administered by an independent board.
Greg and I presented a 45 minute review of King Island, covering it’s history, people, industries and issues to the Fund Board. The Fund has granted monies to a number of King Island organisations almost annually since 1999, and I have had the pleasure of signing a number of letters of support from Council to accompany grant applications this year.
Air Access Issues:
As part of the budget decisions, costs to air operators were increased by 4.5%. I spoke personally with Leigh Faulkner, Malcolm Sharp and David Brooksby representing REX. All parties understood Council’s stance and were supportive of the increase amount.
Subsequently we have exchanged formal letters with REX and have drafted letters for the other airlines.
Greg Alomes and I were invited to attend the REX Board Dinner and were warmly welcomed. One of the guests was The Hon Mark Coulton MP, Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Assistant Trade and Investment Minister.
Minister Coulton asked if there was one thing Federal government could do to help King Island what would it be? I said we needed help with our Air and Sea Access and spoke in detail about the extra costs and delays and the way in which access problems impact our potential growth. The Minister has asked to be kept “personally informed”.
The impact of new legislation on goods coming to the island by air from Victoria has been an issue grappled with over the last few weeks. Whilst a potential solution has been found it has only been through the concerted efforts of Greg Alomes, Rosemary Hallett and Cole Smith (Biosecurity). They are to be commended.
Councillor Working Groups:
I think all residents are aware of the impact new Government legislation has on our small island. I have spoken with councillors and we have set up Councillor working groups to investigate and recommend solutions/positions on issues as appropriate. Currently three working groups – each made up of the Mayor, the General Manager and two Councillors – are working on a response to the Government State-wide Waste Strategy and intended Waste Levy the new Local Government Legislation, and Issues of Council Structure and Priorities.
Wave Swell Energy:
The planning permit for the wave energy converter to be located in Grassy Harbour has been approved and the permit issued.
I would also take this opportunity to remind King Islanders I am available at the CWA Hall every Friday afternoon from 2pm to 6pm. Greg Alomes is happy to join me should a resident have an issue they would like us to address jointly. Greg is also available by appointment at the Council Chambers at a time convenient to a resident.