09 September 2021
To the Community and Ratepayers of the Shire of Irwin the time has come for us to deliver the 2021/2022 Annual Budget.
After an exciting year delivering a wide range of services and infrastructure projects, I have great respect for my fellow Councillors and Shire Staff for their hard work and commitment to delivering these projects efficiently.
The continual uncertainty of the COVID world and our fight for economic sustainability required a lot of hard work by our CEO and Staff to deliver a balanced (minor surplus) budget.
Council has continued to seek positive outcome in the areas of coastal erosion, self-funded coastal nodes, rural road resheeting, Moreton Terrace revitalisation, foreshore enhancement all while maintaining a high level of service delivery.
Coming off last year’s 0% rate increase, Council’s resolution of a 4.9% rate increase for the 2021/2022 Budget will allow the opportunity for Council to sustain current and future outcomes that enhance our community’s development.
On behalf of the Council and Staff I would like to thank our ratepayers for the overall support of the Shire in challenging and uncertain times. We look forward to another year as the Mid West becomes an exciting region for economic opportunities.
The Moreton Terrace Upgrade Project continues to progress, despite supply and contractor issues. I think it is important to acknowledge the efficient way this project is being completed. At a time when projects across the Country are being delayed due to a lack of staff and supplies, the Moreton Terrace Upgrade Project has kept on track. As a comparison in another Shire, their main street upgrade of a similar length of road took 12 months to complete and cost over twice as much to complete.
This was a project the Shire could have walked away from, but instead we decided to challenge ourselves because it needed to be done. There were drainage issues that needed to be addressed, the road seal needed replacing and we had an obligation to ensure the future of the heritage listed Moreton Bay Figs. The figs were found to be choking and needed more green space around them, the result was we lost a few parking bays along Moreton Terrace, but we have given the trees the room they need to thrive. The Shire was also keen to give back to the local business community by enhancing the local infrastructure.
I would personally like to acknowledge the hard work of the Shire of Irwin CEO Shane Ivers and his staff who worked tirelessly to put together two funding packages, under the Drought Communities and Regional Road Group funding programmes, then put the project out to tender to achieve this result we see today.
I understand that it has been trying at times for businesses situated along the Terrace, and for the public trying to navigate the works, however we appreciate your patience and understanding and believe the result will be well worth it.
Over the past few weeks Surf Beach has taken a beating with several large swells battering our coastline. I am very pleased to say that our recent stabilisation effort to mitigate coastal erosion has been a success.
This was an issue I raised with Council late last year, noting that if nothing were done we would lose Ocean Drive, which would end up being a multi-million dollar problem. Luckily with a $250,000 from a Local Roads and Community Infrastructure grant secured in the 2020-21 Federal Budget we were able to complete 150m of stabilisation to In-Situ Construction and maintenance works. Using a unique local design that had never been attempted before and local contractors to complete the work, the results this Winter have spoken for themselves.
I am pleased to say that the Shire has now received the final Foreshore redevelopment masterplan, which includes the extended entry statement and the Irwin River walking trail. The plan will be released soon for public comment.
The Dongara Health Centre redevelopment is now underway, with a focus on providing of primary health care that keeps people well, in the community and out of hospital.
The redesign will upgrade existing facilities and will include a contemporary emergency department, Emergency Telehealth Service videoconferencing facilities, group therapy rooms, allied health consultation rooms and treatment spaces, an ambulance bay, six additional aged care beds, a new palliative care room and support and communal areas.
This is a fantastic initiative for our region and I would like to congratulate the WA State Government and the WA Country Health Service for making it happen.