By Michael Giles

IT’S time for many of us who enjoyed the extended break over the Christmas-New Year period to head back to work this week and get ourselves ready for the year ahead.
It’s bound to be an eventful year with a Federal Election due in May and more than likely a change of government on the way if Labor’s leadership in the polls and the disarray in the Coalition ranks are anything to go by.
Locally, Jordan Crugnale has taken over Brian Paynter’s State Government office in McBride Avenue Wonthaggi, there’s a new shire CEO at Bass Coast, Ali Wastie, ready to start in February and we’re told there’ll be an announcement about the future of the South Gippsland Shire Council later in January as well.
On the farming scene, beef and sheep revenue has continued to be satisfactory and while dairy prices have been down, at least here in South Gippsland dairy farmers have enjoyed absolutely-perfect seasonal conditions, cutting back on the cost of supplementary feed, allowing them to boost their own supplies and keep their stock in fine condition.
Although we’ve seen the USA and New Zealand increase dairy production through 2018, putting a drag on the world prices, the last few dairy auctions of the year showed an improvement in the global prices so we can only hope that continues.
In another good thing to look forward to in 2019, we can expect to see the local housing construction boom continue, at least through this year anyway, and especially in Wonthaggi where pent up demand for new homes sites finally looks like being released with the go-ahead given to new housing estates.
There’s also progress on the senior campus of the Wonthaggi Secondary College to look forward to, a start to construction of the new ED and acute ward at Wonthaggi hospital and planning for a junior campus annex of the Wonthaggi Secondary College in the San Remo area.
That’s looking on the bright side a little because we are also told to expect a general downturn in the Australian economy this year so we should inject a note of caution into our spending and investment plans.
But, regardless of personal circumstances, the start to a new year should be a time for each of us to set some achievable goals for 2019 because, when you think about it, there’s hardly a goal we’ve set for ourselves that we haven’t achieved.
Maybe it’s simply a pledge to exercise more and cut down on junk food in an effort to get fitter and healthier this year and you might start by turning up at parkrun at either Koonwarra or Inverloch.
Study a course online, join a local community group, pay down your debt, renew a friendship, update your will, finally commit to doing a proper business improvement plan, some projects around the house… whatever it is, now’s the time to set your goals for 2019 and look forward to being in a better position by year’s end. Good luck!