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24 November 2021
By DEAN LAWSON
Horsham mayor Robyn Gulline has re-emphasised a need for more people to call the Wimmera centre home as a regional priority.
Cr Gulline said on starting a second term in the mayor’s chair, industry and businesses were crying out for people to fill jobs and finding a way to address the issue loomed as a continuing challenge.
“We don’t have enough people to fill the jobs we have available,” she said.
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“Businesses I’m talking to are not operating at capacity because they simply cannot get the staff.
“There are businesses that want to expand, that want to relocate to larger premises and new businesses eager to come here.”
Cr Gulline said Horsham, as part of a strong regional collective, needed to be as prepared as possible and adaptable to embrace opportunities and meet challenges that would come with industry and enterprise diversification and growth.
She listed the potential of mining operations, an expansion of renewable-energy generation in the region, industrial value-adding in and beyond the agriculture sector and keeping communication channels open with other levels of government as important focus areas for Horsham Rural City Council.
She agreed Horsham had to maintain a major leadership role in the region, acknowledging the natural connectivity between municipalities, towns and communities.
She also committed to continue a fight for a return of domestic passenger rail services in Horsham and the Wimmera in general.
Cr Gulline said the State Government had been adamant there were no plans for Horsham passenger rail and that an interstate Overland service would continue to fill the role.
“It is not over and we will continue to work with the government and keep trying,” she said.
“We’ll see what happens next year in the lead- up to the election.
“We are committed and the community is desperate for it to happen. Somebody is always asking us about it.
“I know it’s a problem, I know it’s a priority, and I’m telling the politicians that every chance I get.
“We just have to keep advocating as a community as loud as we can to whoever will listen.”
The Horsham council returned Cr Gulline with a clear majority for a one-year term after an election at a statutory meeting last week.
Cr Gulline won the vote with four votes from other nominees, Crs Di Bell, two votes, and Claudia Haenel, one.
Cr Gulline said it was a privilege to be re-elected as mayor for a second term and she was looking forward to leading the council in the progression of key projects for the region.
“It’s an honour to be elected mayor for the second year. I will continue to engage with the community at every opportunity and work together to make decisions for the benefit of our community,” she said.
The council decided against electing a deputy mayor.
The statutory meeting was in-person at the Horsham Civic Centre and this month’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions meant a limited public gallery was allowed to attend.
Cr Gulline said in her brief pre-election speech that councils had faced a challenging year with the introduction of a new Local Government Act and the creation of community visions and council plans.
“COVID-19 has continued to force us to be creative with our activities and meetings,” she said.
“On top of that, we were six of seven new councillors who have had so much to learn and understand about our role and about the council, from the budget through to complex planning permits.
“The highlight of the past year for me has undoubtedly been meeting and speaking with community members, of all ages and walks of life, the majority of whom I had never met before, in a diverse range of settings, whether it has been formally at functions and events or incidentally through community engagement in Roberts Place, in shops, the supermarket or even just walking down the street.”
The entire November 24, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire November 24, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!