On behalf of Hindmarsh Shire Council may I wish all our people a Happy New Year.

We have been lucky with no major fires in our area. Our thoughts are with the communities that have suffered enormously throughout the state and also Australia wide. There is still a lot of summer left, so we need to continue to be vigilant and support our neighbours.

There have been good reports about harvest in our local areas and hopefully 2020 will follow up with good rains.

The year ended with our three secondary schools having their presentation nights, congratulations to all students on achieving excellent results. Unfortunately, our numbers of students are not as high as in past years, but our schools are continuing to produce a high level of education.

Congratulations to our Dimboola Bendigo Community Bank celebrating 15 years of service. The Dimboola community continues to receive financial support through profits remaining locally.

I had the pleasure of attending the opening of West Wimmera Health Services Nhill’s new therapy pool, gym and physio building. These modern facilities will be an enormous support for our communities.

One of the most enjoyable opportunities that a Mayor has, is to welcome new Australian residents in a Citizenship Ceremony, Hindmarsh Shire welcomed five new extremely happy and appreciative local community members in December. Please contact the Shire for information if any community member is considering Australian Citizenship.

Council had a successful and well attended community meeting at Jeparit last month, discussing several future opportunities for Jeparit.

Our local and state politicians welcomed visitors to their Christmas function and this was appreciated by all in attendance. We will continue to work with our politicians both state and federal. One issue that has been supported by the Victorian Government is a short term extension of the overland passenger train. We will lobby continually for a long term commitment for this service and would also ask our communities to voice their support also. Council is extremely concerned with the announcement that the Rainbow/Dimboola rail line will be closed. Billions of dollars are being spent in Metro Melbourne, we in Rural Victoria need investment in our Country rail network and we urgently request commitment to this program. Passenger rail from Ararat to Horsham is also on this immediate upgrade.

Congratulations to the Nhill Racing Club for their Boxing Day Races. A great day with a large crowd in attendance.

Cr. Rob Gersch
Mayor – Hindmarsh Shire Council - 8 January 2020