What an excellent initiative of the Bass Coast Shire Council and particularly the Mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale in securing a visit from six Ministers of the State Government.
It was not just a visit but a day the State effectively engaged with council and the community.
This was a unique event that will be seen over time as a key achievement of the current council and a leading example of how to effectively and respectively engage with senior members of the State Government.
Whilst we will have differences on some policy issues the event has commenced ongoing discussions which will be built on over time.
I was fortunate to be part of the round table discussions with the Hon Lisa Neville MP, other members of the community and senior government officials for one and a half hours.
Discussions included climate change, building biodiversity, the work of environmental volunteers, alternative energy generation, Ramsar listing of Western Port, work on valuing the natural environment in monetary terms, water planning, land use planning, reviewing the Coastal Act, storm water runoff, single use plastic bags and the possible industrialisation of Western Port with the construction of a container port.
Further opportunities were available to talk with all of the ministers in attendance for the day.
We all recognise that council can and do drop the ball from time to time and council staff implementation can be out of sync with council policies. Nevertheless, this ministerial visit should go some way in acting as a tipping point away from the default negative council sentiment that is far too often found in our local papers and parts of our community.
Jeff Nottle, Newhaven