Mayor’s Message – May 2019
It is King Island Mayor Julie Arnold’s intention to keep residents and ratepayers regularly informed about issues facing their Council with a regular monthly column.
General manager consultant report on council:
In order to help the new Council and Acting General Manager set priorities in dealing with the myriad of issues, some quite old, facing Council a recommendation was sought from the Minister of Local Government and the Director of Local Government, for a suitable person to mentor the council (both elected members and staff) about how to efficiently work towards a compatible and productive future. Greg Preece, a retired, experienced General Manager who holds positions with the Board of the Premier and Cabinet and the Tasmanian Grants Commission and with a solid background in local government, both from an engineering and management perspective was suggested.
Councillors agreed to invite Greg Preece to the King Island Council, and seek his experienced, objective and professional opinion on our organisation.
Following his visit, Greg has prepared a preliminary report on the Council which will help set priority areas for council and deal with some legacy issues. It has been agreed that Greg is to visit again to complete some areas of work still outstanding.
I hope, with Councillors’ agreement, to share these reports with the Minister for Local Government and the Director of Local Government, so they can understand the depth and breadth of the issues facing council and exactly which areas we have set as priorities and our plans for dealing with all the outstanding issues.
Waste management, tenders, consultant and budget:
The waste management area is an essential and large component of the King Island Council’s budget. Concerns need to be considered under two headings. Firstly, the critical, immediate requirements to achieve compliance with Environmental Protection Authority at the Parenna and Charles Street sites. Tenders are being sought for costs and lists of work needed to bring the council up to date. It is expected that these costs, which have developed over several years, will be substantial and will need to be treated as priorities in the 2019-20 budget.
Secondly, the Council needs to develop a cohesive waste management strategy for the future. An updated report, including residents responses to the waste survey, is due to be presented to council in June. This will be wide ranging and consider options for the future including waste treatment methods, recycling, a tip shop and landfill processes.
King Island Scheelite meeting:
The Acting GM and I have had a meeting with board members of King Island Scheelite, they advised us that their company has secured markets for 20% of their first four years output and that they hope to complete their funding in the next three to five months with the aim of being operational in 2020.
They also advised me they are reviewing the houses they own at Grassy to assess repairs and changes needed to meet their staff housing requirements.
Shipping: TasPorts, Bass Island Line, TSL:
Council has had meetings with TasPorts and their King Island Community Advisory Board representatives to discuss the expressions of interest process currently underway for a new ship. However, subsequent to the meeting we have formally asked for more information on the process and reiterated the need for involvement from the King Island community in the process.
We also met with Tasmanian Shipping Logistics representatives and had discussions along similar lines.
Both were productive meetings, where all parties reiterated their commitment to King Island and are confident about the completion of the expressions of interest process currently underway.
General Manager recruitment:
Councillors and staff have met with representatives from Blackadder Recruitment (a company specialising in local government recruitment) regarding the recruitment for a new King Island general manager. The discussion centered around the attributes Councillors see as necessary for a new general manager to succeed. Information packs and media schedules have been prepared and distributed for final agreement.
Deputy Mayor ballot:
The election for the position of Deputy Mayor will be the subject of a vote by Councillors by secret ballot at the next Council meeting on the 21st of May. The acting general manager will be responsible for counting the votes.
The King Island Council has been made aware that the distribution of grant funds announced by the National Party, totalling close to $7million is unsure. We have just received correspondence that Labour has not committed to making these grants and Treasury, who develop the Deeds of Agreement to formalise the grants, has advised severe timing restrictions would be placed on spending the grants. Given two of the projects would require the development of detailed business cases, negotiation of construction costing and completion of construction it is unlikely that Council would be able to meet Treasury’s current timing requirements.
I know how disappointing this is for residents and will be continuing discussions with the hope that once the dust has settled from the Federal election that we may still be able to achieve some payments toward our projects.
Airport jet turnarounds:
During the month, two chartered jets due to bring high profile tourists to King Island were denied landing rights.
I have been advised by the Council’s Airport Managers that this was due to technical issues with the pavement.
While it is imperative to ensure there is no damage to our runways, the loss of reputation to King Island and the loss of income to our tourist operators, is more than unfortunate.
The Acting GM is working with the airport managers to develop a short, medium and long term solution to be discussed with Councillors as soon as possible.
Sale of King Island Dairies to Saputo:
I was formally advised by Lion of the conditional sale of King Island Dairies business to the Canadian firm Saputo. Finalisation of the sale is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board, but expected to finalise by September.
Given the importance of our understanding the plans Saputo will have for King Island, I have asked that I be provided with the chance to have direct discussions with the relevant Saputo executives as soon as appropriate.
—Cr Julie Arnold, King Island Mayor.