YARRIAMBIACK Shire joined other councils from around the nation for the Australian Local Government Association National Assembly to put forward motions to improve key areas of concern for councils across the country in Canberra this week.
Mayor Graeme Massey and Chief Executive Officer Jesse Holmes attended on behalf of the Yarriambiack Shire.
Mr Massey said there were many motions put forward, which will be of benefit to the district if successful.
Some of the motions put forward included raising Federal Government financial assistance to local government to one per cent of taxpayers money; recycling and waste management; changing droughts to be classified as a natural disaster and changing how areas are declared; encouragement to developers to provide more affordable housing to regional areas; extension to the current mental health program; improvement to black spot phone coverage to provide 100 percent coverage; providing further renewable energy sources and improving energy prices; and regulation of the gambling industry, especially online.
“The National assembly board will meet and discuss the motions before approaching the relevant minister to discuss and potentially negotiate the motions put forward,” Mr Massey said.
“Western Victoria was well represented with nearly 100 percent of councils in attendance,” he said.
Mr Massey said drought classification was of great importance to the Yarriambiack Shire, which was fortunate to be classified as a drought affected area, but surrounding areas such as Hindmarsh Shire were less fortunate.
“Currently drought classification is based around council areas but we want to change that to regions not based on the councils, for example Hindmarsh Shire is in the same situation that we are but missed out of funding as part of the shire area received to much rain,” Mr Massey said.
Price gouging on fodder was another motion put forward with councils voting to lobby government to prevent the high prices especially during drought times.
“Some drought affected farmers might get lucky if they can receive donated fodder but the prices are up over $400 a tonne at the moment, and we don’t feel they should be making a profit on drought,” Mr Massey said.
Councils also voted to look at introducing a bed tax on hotels and caravan parks.
“Although it would be great for councils in large tourist areas, we probably don’t have enough beds for it to be of benefit to us,” Mr Massey said.
Horsham Rural City Council put forward a motion for the Federal Government to support investment in rural cities.
Mr Massey said the Yarriambiack Shire Council was supportive of the motion, which would bring a large amount of funding for big projects and would then be of benefit to surrounding districts.
“The idea of the motion is that if Horsham or other rural cities received funding, then the surrounding council residents would be able to benefit as sometimes it is better for a central point to receive a larger amount of funding rather than handing out smaller amounts to surrounding areas,” he said.
The Australian Local Government Association is expected to come to a decision soon and will notify councils of their progress.