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Mitchell Shire councillors advocate in Canberra

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Mitchell Shire Council representatives attended the 2023 National General Assembly of Local Government, NGA, in Canberra last month.

Mitchell Shire Council Mayor Fiona Stevens, deputy mayor Louise Bannister, chief executive Brett Luxford, and director of advocacy and communities Mary Agostino attended the assembly for a week of events, which showcased the partnership between the federal and local governments.

The 2023 theme was ‘Our Communities, Our Future’, encouraging ideas for new federal programs and policies that would support councils to build stronger communities in the future.

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Councillors attended several lectures and presentations including by Governor General David Hurley and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Catherine King.

Cr Stevens said councillors ensured they used the event to look for opportunities for the Mitchell Shire.

“Throughout the full agenda we ensured we took the opportunity to highlight and discuss Mitchell Shire’s advocacy priorities and the many challenges we face as the fastest growing municipality in Victoria,” she said.

“We discussed the pressing need for the Cameron’s Lane Interchange on the Hume Freeway at Beveridge to alleviate the ever-growing congestion, and the significant health benefits that will be provided by the proposed Seymour Community Wellbeing Hub.

“We also promoted other needed infrastructure development to cater for growth throughout Mitchell Shire. Prime examples of this are the Watson Street interchange ramps, and the ongoing and overdue Kilmore bypass.”

Mayor Fiona Stevens with Governor general David Hurley who was one of the presenters during the 2023 NGA. ​

Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said it was great to have representatives from the Mitchell Shire attend.

“Local councils are an important delivery partner with the Federal Government to help grow our communities,” he said.

“The council utilised the time to make representation to ministers on projects that are important for all of us.”

The week ended with the 2023 Australian Council of Local Government, ACLG, at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on June 16.

“The Australian Council of Local Government offers and important and valued platform for councils to connect within the government area,” Cr Stevens said.

“It provides a unique opportunity to learn, share and discuss the topics of mutual interest and prospects and difficulties in their respective regions.

“It’s extremely beneficial to hear how other councils deal with issues that are shared within every local council. Councils can educate themselves on good work done elsewhere so we don’t have to each reinvent the wheel.”

The ACLG was first established as a formal meeting between senior leaders of local government and the Federal Government in 2008. It has been more than a decade since the last meeting.

It builds on the government’s commitment to work with local governments to build liveable and socially equitable communities.

“The participation of local councils in national-level forums such as the Australian Council of Local Government also brings greater visibility and significance to the role,” Cr Stevens said.

“These opportunities to network at this level and with such broad representations are rare.

“At the highest level it acknowledges their position as essential contributors to national governance and offers them a platform to advocate strongly for the interests and concerns of their communities on a broader scale.”

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