I WROTE the following poem to celebrate the Hamilton Lamb Hall 60th celebrations.
Music keeping the beat,
Laughter and smiles
While all the while
Many were tapping their feet.
The room was transformed for the occasion
Camellias and posters cleverly placed,
A birthday cake cut by our two guests
And a supper exquisite to taste.
What a privilege to see our special guest
The son of Hamilton Lamb,
A credit to his father and
A very charismatic man.
Familiar songs were playing
People all singing along,
A lovely friendly atmosphere
You felt you really belonged.
Everyone rose to the occasion
We all dressed to impress as asked,
Worthy winners won prizes,
Those judges had a difficult task.
So to all the committee and helpers
Thanks for this great occasion,
Each and every one of you
Deserve a standing ovation.
Judy Hazelden, Horsham
Rates concerns shared
HORSHAM councillor David Grimble and I recently attended a farmer’s meeting at Underbool to gain a first-hand picture of the difficulties our Mallee farming cousins face.
Clearly drought conditions are evident and each passing week without significant rain adds to the pressure.
The Mallee farming community, as with our own, are of one voice with municipal rates. In our case, 92 per cent of the rates increase is borne by five per cent of the population – the farmers. In the Mallee, the rate rises are even higher than here with 93.5 per cent borne by the farming community.
What has been heartening is the community support to ensure rates are fair to all. We even have the non-farming sector proposing solutions. We understand the local economy is driven by the farming sector. If the farming community sneezes, we all catch a cold.
However, we are one major mining, industrial or commercial venture or a drought from rate increases flowing to the housing or other sectors. Given the work of chief executive Sunil Bhalla and business and economic development manager Stephen Pykett, this may be a reality sooner than we think.
Our conservative farmers have filled the council chamber to overflowing – twice. At our subsequent Clear Lake community meeting, we failed to acknowledge the rates concern and we did not even report on it, rightly attracting community scorn.
We also berate the Victorian Farmers Federation for allegedly not making a submission on the rates. The truth is that council gets about nine months’ notice on the rate cap to allow it to formulate a budget.
Our farmers, like the rest of us, have just received rate notices for this year.
Horsham Rural City Council’s position on rates is embedded and as a councillor I have to accept that that is council’s position. As an individual councillor I am entitled to say that I do not agree with council’s position. As the elected leaders we need to work on solutions – not build walls. We need to urgently address the rates issue as our neighbouring municipalities have.
Cr Mary Lalios, head of the Municipal Association of Victoria, has encouraged all of us to get involved in the decisions our council is making. She said: “Attend meetings, provide feedback and help ensure decisions being made reflect the outcomes you want to see in your community.”
We should remember that rates are a fee charged for a service delivered. Are you happy with the services you receive for the fee you are being charged?
You are reading this as a letter because council declined to publish the original version in its paid advertising section as is the case with other councillors’ reports.
John Robinson, Horsham Rural City councillor