By TONY FOSTER
Mayor, Brighton municipality
THE Brighton municipality is on the cusp of an exciting period of growth and development with a promising future in store for our region and community.
The past decade and more has already been a period of considerable achievement but I am confident that even better years lay ahead.
It will be driven by a major expansion of educational opportunities for our young people, with the promised Brighton High School, an expanded Jordan River Learning Federation School Farm and enhanced trade and vocational training facilities opening wonderful new opportunities for young people.
This, in turn, will encourage more families to move to Brighton to contribute to our growth, support our community infrastructure and contribute to our enviable way of life.
As I wrote last month, education is a key to our future and as well as the benefits the new high school will bring, the dramatic economic input of a $30 million construction project will provide a massive boost to our municipality.
Of course, there are other developments – the enhancements to the Brighton township, the growth of the industrial estate, tourism developments, improvements to our recreation areas, walking trails and parks, roads and bridges and the host of other services provided and encouraged by Council. And in this edition you will read about our most recent development, the new Bridgewater Park which is a wonderful new amenity for the whole community.
Our growth and development have been under-pinned by an innovative and progressive council, with an expert management team, and enthusiastic and dedicated staff. We have been leaders in sharing services and expertise with like-minded councils both here and interstate and also in generating additional revenue from commercial ventures such as our wholly-owned MicroWise and CouncilWise businesses.
As you will read in this issue of Brighton Community News, Brighton Council’s unique local government information technology business CouncilWise won a major award for excellence presented by the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT).
We received the LGAT award for our CounciWise subsidiary successfully partnering with Microsoft and other major technology firms, confirming our leadership in technology development for local government which has spanned more than 20 years. We are now selling software and services to local government in Tasmania, Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales, and Fiji.
All this brings in significant new revenue and has enabled us to fund our municipality’s growth while keeping down rate annual rises at or below increases in the Consumer Price Increase (CPI) for the past 23 years. This means that year on year in real terms, Council has operated with the same amount of rate revenue and over all this time, we’ve taken account of the cost of living pressures on our ratepayers.
At the same time, Brighton continues to provide the full range of local government services at the lowest possible cost.
Brighton is determined to retain our position and reputation as the most effective and lowest cost council in Tasmania and we will continue to play a prominent role on the municipality’s future growth and development.
So, we should look to this future with considerable confidence. Yes, there will be challenges and we will have to be smart and at times even courageous to grasp all the opportunities that will be presented. But with Council, the community, community groups, local businesses and other stakeholders working together, the Brighton Municipality will go from strength to strength. Our future indeed can be even better than the recent past.
I have been proud to lead our progressive Council over these years of achievement. I am very confident at what the future holds and look forward to continuing to provide the vision, leadership and direction to take Brighton forward.