Published on 27 September 2023
I would like to start this, my first Mayor’s report, by saying how proud and privileged I am to be the Mayor of Berrigan Shire Council. I would like to thank Councillors for entrusting this very special position to me.
I would also like to thank Councillor Matt Hannan for his commitment and significant contribution as Mayor for an outstanding seven years. Councillor Hannan, as Mayor, has led our community through a very difficult period in our history. In just the last four years we have dealt with impacts from bushfires, lockdowns, border closures and floods. As we come out the other side, with our communities rapidly expanding as a place of choice and our visitor economy starting to resurge, we are reaping the benefits of his solid and enduring leadership. Thank you.
Bringing considerable experience in governance and probity across government, I intend to guide our Council through new and evolving ways of thinking and doing things. We can and will be a Council that prides itself on its innovative approaches to both new and old problems. As Mayor I look forward to leading Councillors and Council staff in the provision of high quality, contemporary, professional and reliable service to our community.
My personal commitment to you is that I will actively advocate for the things that matter to the people of Berrigan Shire. To that end, I encourage you to engage with your Council and tell us what you want and need from us.
I appreciate that having just taken up the Mayoral role; however, I did want to talk about a few things that have been going on.
The Tocumwal Airshow could not have chosen a better weekend for visitors to enjoy the delightful Spring weather. The event is a great one for our Shire bringing thousands of visitors each year.
In August, Cr Matt Hannan, CEO Karina Ewer and I travelled to Sydney to meet with Ministers and advisors around a range of issues affecting our community.
We were very fortunate to be invited to meet Minister for Health and Minister for Regional Health, Ryan Park, to discuss ambulance services in Tocumwal. It was a very positive meeting where we were able to talk about the importance of health equity for regional communities and point to the latest population projections for Tocumwal. Thank you must go the Tocumwal Ambulance Steering Committee for continuing to advocate and drive this issue. We appreciate all of your hard work over an extended period. We anticipate a reply and positive outcome very soon.
We also met with the Water, Mental Health and Housing Ministers Advisors. Among other things, we discussed access to Mental Health services for young people in our community. The advisors took a great interest in our views. We also discussed the inequity of protections afforded to Sydney and Hunter water that are not extended to rural and regional Councils that operate water utilities.
At my request, Council has scheduled an Extraordinary Meeting, next Wednesday 4 October (to be held in the Berrigan Shire Council Chambers) starting at 9AM. I have asked that several important issues be scheduled on the agenda, including a paper to discuss the reinstatement of BPay on your Council bills. I recognise that this has been a point of concern for many people in our community and I want you to know that your Councillors have heard you.
Finally, I would like to thank all the people who have contacted me by text, phone, social media and, of course, in person. I thank you for your trust and support.
Cr Julia Cornwell-McKean
MAYOR BERRIGAN SHIRE COUNCIL