It is great to be back in the position of mayor and I would like to take the opportunity in this column to thank Cr Kevin Erwin for his fantastic leadership over the past 12 months.
Cr Erwin has completed his fifth term as Mayor of the Northern Grampians Shire Council and I recognise I have a hard act to follow as the council continued to kick goals under his leadership.
I relish the opportunity to continue his great work.
The Northern Grampians Shire is facing a number of exciting changes in the coming months and I am looking forward to taking on the challenges of a growing region.
We are expecting agribusiness Nectar Farms to begin construction of their $90 million hydroponic vegetable farm in Joel Joel early next year and we've got plans to upgrade the fencing at the Stawell Airport.
In addition, the Stawell underground physics laboratory is a project I'm particularly excited about, and the construction of the Bulgana Wind Farm is well underway.
Taking on the role as mayor also affords an opportunity to look back at the region's past and to see how far we have come.
This month marks 150 years since the proclamation of the Borough of Stawell.
An amalgamation of local government districts and bodies which continued for 88 years, the Borough of Stawell was the precursor to the Town and City of Stawell municipalities and, in turn, the predecessor of the Northern Grampians Shire Council in January 1995.
The shire joined together the former councils of Stawell, St Arnaud and Kara Kara and I am immensely proud to be afforded another opportunity to lead this council through to October 2020.
During the next 12 months, I will be focussing on leading the council team into the future and revisiting some of the projects that were begun last time I was mayor.
I am also looking forward to working with our new CEO, Liana Thompson, with a focus on improving the lives of everyone in the shire through engagement, feedback, and action.
Sustainability is also a key factor for our shire and community consultation and getting the community to have confidence in us is essential for the region's success.
Together we can remain one of the leading creative shires in local government while maintaining our focus on the core operations of local government, rates, roads, and rubbish, and looking towards a new and bright future.
Cr Murray Emerson Mayor - Northern Grampians Shire Council