Mitchell Shire Council’s new advocacy approach has reached a milestone with the endorsement of core priorities for this year, including roads, public transport, access to services, infrastructure, education, jobs and investment, environment and policy.
For the November Victorian election, the council will focus its public advocacy on roads, public transport, youth mental health and homelessness.
This includes increased road maintenance for VicRoads and funding for council roads, internet connection and mobile spot reduction, as well as gambling policy reform to introduce a regional cap for Mitchell, support the National Gambling Alliance and increase investment from gambling revenue into social services.
Mitchell Shire has also highlighted advocacy goals specific to the local area, including car parking at Seymour station, a new Puckapunyal Tank Artillery Museum, and a Seymour revitalisation program.
This would involve an education precinct, a government centre, the old Goulburn River bridge, town centre master plan, structure plan projects, public realm improvements, Australian Light Horse Memorial Park upgrades, Seymour Rail Heritage Centre, riverside precinct and Granite Park development.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the priorities included a mix of shorter and longer term priorities that needed government support to help ensure the current and future liveability of our community.
‘‘We are one of the fast-growing municipalities in Victoria and we’re planning for our population to increase from 45000 people to 230000 people,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘A critical role of council is to advocate to state and federal governments and work with industry, business and community leaders to ensure our community can access high-quality services, programs and infrastructure.
‘‘This growth presents a new dynamic and urgency to our advocacy efforts. By formally endorsing these priorities, we hope to help current and future government representatives and decision-makers better understand the critical needs in our community.’’
Cr Sanderson said the priorities had been developed based on input from a wide range of sources, including the recent council plan, various council strategies and action plans, consultation with the community, service providers, organisations and business representatives.
‘‘It’s been very hard to get the list down to a manageable level, but we think we’ve got a good mix of projects and initiatives that have a critical need for progress over the next 12 months or so to ensure they can be delivered in the future,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘We’re sending our priorities to all ministers and shadow ministers and we’ll be discussing them in more detail at every opportunity. We’ll also be providing the list and more detailed information to our local candidates in the lead-up to the state and federal elections and asking them to confirm their position on them.
‘‘We’ll also be providing the list to community members, service providers and organisations to help them present a united voice on behalf of our community and to discuss ideas on ways to progress our three core priority areas for the state election — roads, public transport and access to services for youth mental health and homelessness.’’