Published on 25 October 2023
It has certainly been something of a whirlwind in this, my first full month, as Mayor of Berrigan Shire.
On 29 September, joined by Deputy Mayor Councillor Carly Marriott and CEO Karina Ewer, I was pleased to meet with The Honourable Jennifer Aitchison MP Minister for Regional Transport and Roads. Meetings such as this are usually short and sweet, but rather than stick to the designated 30 minutes the Minister spent over an hour with us. We had extensive discussions about the challenges of our road network, particularly in relation to freight and its importance to our local economy. Other discussions included Berrigan Shire’s funding allocation for road repairs.
It has also been a month for Ministerial correspondence with letters going out to The Hon Ron Hoenig MP, The Hon Paul Scully MP, The Hon Ryan Park MP, The Hon Rose Jackson MP, The Hon Sarah Mitchell MLC and The Hon Prue Carr MP. Starting at our October Council meeting we will be including a register of correspondence in our agenda so that you, our community, are aware of all the advocacy work we do at the Shire.
I also wrote to Helen Dalton about the transfer of ownership of the Rural Fire Service Fleet to the State Government. It has been a longstanding concern of Berrigan Shire that the state has required us to account for the fleet but we neither control nor own it.
Our CEO, Karina Ewer, made a submission on Berrigan Shire’s behalf to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications about the Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023. Water security is critical to our region and we will continue to work with our neighbours to ensure the message is heard loud and clear in Canberra.
As you well expect as the new Mayor of Berrigan Shire I have been asked to meet with a range of organisations. This month I met with the Chief Inspector of Murray River Police District who spoke around a number of matters impacting on our shire. Noting the tragic deaths over the past year in our neighbouring shire in Victoria, Moira Shire Council, I suggested that a road safety campaign would be well-received in our community. The Chief Inspector agreed and we will work together on this initiative.
I also met with the Cluster Manager of Murrumbidgee Local Health District who brought me up to speed with the arrangements in Tocumwal and Berrigan which are within his remit. I spoke with the Manager about the need to ensure health equity in our community and that I remain committed to campaigning to improve the challenges that emerge from being a community that has a strong reliance on cross-border arrangements for our health care.
Finally, at Council’s extraordinary meeting in October, we decided to reinstate BPay to your Council rates notices until the end of the financial year. As I am sure you understand, Council is constantly looking for cost savings to ensure we can keep our rates as low as possible. Payble was identified as an option that is significantly cheaper than BPay and more efficient for our staff. However, Council recognises that Payble does not yet have the full functionality that you need (for example, direct debit from savings accounts) so the decision has been taken to reinstate BPay as a transitional arrangement. While this decision was not made in time to appear on the next bill, you can still use BPay by entering the BPay code:
Biller Code: 89961
Reference Number: This can be found in the Aust Post Billpay box, on the bottom left of your rates notice.
Payble is accessible by scanning the QR code on your bill or on your desktop using the following URL https://pay.berriganshire.nsw.gov.au/biller/berrigan-shire-council. There is no need to scan the QR code or to make your bill payments on your phone if you do not want to.
Cr Julia Cornwell McKean
MAYOR BERRIGAN SHIRE COUNCIL