By MAYOR TONY FOSTER AOM
BRIGHTON is Tasmania’s fastest growing municipality. The past 10 years have seen the municipality’s population expand significantly and now more than 16,000 people call the suburbs nestled on the banks of the Derwent and Jordan Rivers and nearby rural areas home.
To meet this growth momentum Brighton Council recognised some years ago that it needed to put processes in place to ensure it continued to effectively manage its expansion and cater for the needs of its community and the wider region. The outcome was Brighton 2040, a long-term strategic plan to meet the challenges of a rapidly developing community.
Brighton 2040 outlined eight key goals for the Brighton municipal area:
- For its infrastructure maintained at an appropriate level.
- The provision of employment and training opportunities in the region.
- The establishment and maintenance of prosperous industrial and business sectors.
- The provision of improved education opportunities.
- The development of an enhanced image that encourages more people to live in the region.
- Provision of an appropriate, accessible and affordable transport system.
- Implementation of practical and effective land-use strategies.
- Encouragement of positive interaction among different groups in the community.
Strategies to achieve these goals have already commenced and indeed much has been achieved. For example, the establishment of the Jordan River Learning Federation is providing a revolutionary educational system providing education opportunities for the community from the very early years to adulthood. I am proud that Council played a leading role in achieving this positive education outcome for our community.
Major improvements to our transport system are underway. The Brighton bypass is well underway (or words to this effect). Walkways and bikeways link the community from Old Beach, through to Bridgewater, and into Brighton and Pontville. This is enhancing social inclusion as well as promoting overall health and wellbeing in the community both of which are Council’s clear objectives.
The Brighton Industrial Estate is booming and significant new business is relocating to our municipality. The Transport Hub is a vital part of this infrastructure and will see Brighton become a fulcrum for the movement of goods throughout Tasmania. Our wholly-owned technology and service business, Microwise is at the forefront of the development of technology solutions and shared services for local government, not only in Tasmania, but throughout Australia and overseas.
Our Main Streetscape beautification program is progressing with areas around the main street already landscaped in anticipation of the bypass completion.
We have already identified and are addressing key issues for the future. These include public and private partnerships for housing innovation and development; the provision of the best available, appropriate and efficient public transport, infrastructure and services, including the use of third party providers; the future impact of land use and population growth in Brighton; the integration of community and social services; and importantly, maintaining Council’s financial viability while meeting the challenge of achieving livability and affordability in our community.
Brighton’s Fair Rating System that guarantees that residents face annual rate increases of no greater than the rate of inflation, its innovation headlined by our Microwise business, the forging of alliances with other local government bodies and like-minded organisations, and Brighton’s debt free status will ensure that our municipality is best-positioned to meet the challenges and opportunities of the next two decades and beyond.
The future will see cost efficiencies with councils joining to share infrastructure, services and facilities to best cater for community needs in the most cost effective manner possible. Brighton is already at the forefront of this through Microwise and its shared services model that is assisting councils in Tasmania, interstate and in the South Pacific region.
Brighton is a dynamic community that is moving into the future with confidence and a very clear direction. Based on the positive start we have made and our strategies for the future, I am confident that by 2040 Brighton will be a leader in Tasmania, providing new employment and training opportunities and innovative educational outcomes for its community.
It will have a prosperous and expanding industrial and business sectors, will be an important link in Tasmania’s transportation and freight sectors and provide enhanced community facilities and services for all.
But most of all, it will be a place where people want to live, to raise families and enjoy the best that Brighton and Tasmania has to offer.