By TONY FOSTER
Mayor of Brighton
FIRSTLY may I say thank you to the community of Brighton for giving me the opportunity to again serve you as Mayor of our municipality. After many years as team leader of our council and working with such a brilliant and dedicated staff, it is still very humbling to receive your endorsement to continue in the role of Mayor.
While elections can be a busy time for everyone involved it does give us the time to reflect on some of the major achievements within our municipality and I am proud to have been a leader throughout the culmination of these achievements.
I am enormously proud that under strong and stable leadership we have managed to meet a number of challenges and at the same time, plan for some exciting future opportunities. This has resulted in real growth and development in Brighton and has ensured improved and enhanced facilities for the whole community.
Some of those are worth highlighting here.
Firstly and importantly, we have a clear vision of what Brighton wants to achieve by 2040, which is ensuring our community is well-placed in its strategic direction for the future. This vision has been a whole-of-community effort.
For our young, we have well-developed and highly successful youth and community activity programs to encourage an active and healthy community including street cricket, soccer and football. ‘The 100 Days of Summer’ coordinated by Brighton’s community liaison office, recently won the Medibank Private Active Tasmania award for its successful outcomes. While John Klug recently moved on, he left us with a magnificent legacywhich will ensure that we continue to progress and grow in this area.
Our walking tracks in Old Beach, Bridgewater and Brighton are a reality, which are being enjoyed by the whole community, and there are even more under construction.
We are particularly proud of Brighton Alive, which is an innovative community forum that helps communicate local activities and events throughout our community.
The establishment of our own monthly newspaper Brighton Community News further improves our ability to communicate directly with everyone particularly announcing upcoming events and proudly showcasing some of the great things that are happening on a daily basis within the community.
You would already know that we have introduced the most revolutionary plan for education and training from early years to adulthood, the taskforce for which I was delighted to chair. Already we are seeing great strides in this area under the stewardship of Andy Bennett who manages the Learning Federation and who reports monthly on its progress in this newspaper.
In terms of community amenities, our dedicated state-of-the-art designed and constructed Civic Centre, is being used widely in our community for events, group meetings and social functions.
As a council, we are being applauded by our peers for our sound and solid financial management and we have led the way in ratings being the first council in the State to introduce the fairest and most equitable rating structure ensuring our residents are not disadvantaged by where they live.
We have a thriving Industrial Estate that is encouraging business and growth throughout the municipality and which helps to boost Brighton’s local economy and this will be enhanced once the Brighton Bypass is completed as we will be the transport hub of southern Tasmania and the gateway to the north of the state.
We are also being recognised by all tiers of government that we are performing above our weight and that we lead the state in resource sharing by providing professional services to five other Tasmanian councils on a fee-for-service basis. This is an innovative way of raising additional revenue for Brighton and helps us provide even more funded services to our community.
Our award-winning software and service business Microwise Australia is providing significant additional revenue for Council to also help grow and improve the municipality and its amenities.
We are developing the main street landscape program to beautify the municipality in preparation for the construction of the bypass along with State Government funding of $1 million for the beautification of Bridgewater, which you will have read about on page 1 of this edition of the newspaper. Please also review the insert of the draft plan that is within this newspaper and pass on your thoughts and comments directly to council.
We are also maintaining a strong planning scheme that has attracted development, opportunities and amenities to the municipality while protecting and supporting the community lifestyle and the interests of all ratepayers.
In terms of our council, we are promoting a proactive and positive culture and encouraging stable and professional staff who work closely with the elected councillors to manage Council operations in an efficient manner.
As I said at the outset, local government elections do give you time to reflect, and when looking at what we have done and where we are heading, we can be collectively proud that Brighton is well and truly leading the way in all areas.