Council invites the Weston Creek community to the 25 October 2023 Public Meeting. This meeting will be Council’s Annual General Meeting and we will provide a review of the period since the last AGM.
EVENT: OCTOBER 2023 PUBLIC MEETING (Including AGM).
DATE: WEDNESDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2023. TIME: 7:30 PM
LOCATION: WESTON CREEK COMMUNITY CENTRE, off PARKINSON STREET
The meeting will be webcast live via our Facebook pages. The feed is monitored and any questions that we receive will be presented to the meeting. Please let us know any questions you may have in advance by email or the Facebook pages.
We do try to get this newsletter issued by email on the Monday before the monthly Public Meeting. Sometimes, we need to delay our schedule because we become aware important material is imminent. More on this below. We also hope this newsletter finds you well, coping with the high to extreme pollen days being experienced.
It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since your Community Council’s last Annual General Meeting. Council has been representing the local Community in many different areas over the previous year. This input has been informed by the knowledge and lived experience of our community members. It is always a privilege when a member of the community shares their knowledge and views. A quick summary of the main engagements:
- Territory Budget consultations
Council prepared a comprehensive submission into the Territory Budget development process and participated in briefing with Senior Officials. Some of our recommendations informed policy development processes and were incorporated in announcements made either in the Budget or during the year. This input was derived from discussions at our Public Meetings and other input received either in response to requests or unprompted. Thank you to residents who provided their views.
- Planning Review
The multi-year review and reform of the planning system resulted in the draft legislation being presented to the Legislative Assembly and eventually being passed as the Planning Act 2023. This legislation is the prequel to the preparation of the Territory Plan and District Strategies, which will be debated in the current sittings (possibly as soon as this week). Council’s view is the governance arrangements remain flawed and the new planning arrangements lack clear definition as well as remaining too ambiguous. Only time will tell if our view is correct.
- ACT Pathway to Electrification
Council continued to argue (along with others) for greater support for people as the transition away from gas to electricity proceeded. This was especially important for people who would need to upgrade appliances, but not have the financial resources available. It was pleasing to see the Government announce further rebates, but we think a bit more could be done. We also encouraged the Government to link this work with the work to address wood fire smoke, to both avoid confusion and provide a degree of policy certainty.
- Community Resilience
Council participated in the deliberations by the ACT Multi Hazard Council on Community resilience to natural hazard disasters in the ACT, based on the Weston Creek Community experience from both the 2003 Bushfire event and the 2019 event. We are advised that this has resulted in further work being conducted within government. We also used this engagement to point out that there appeared to be no planning underway for the 20th Anniversary of the 2003 Bushfires.
- Assembly Committees
Council actively participated in Legislative Assembly public hearings on Dangerous Driving, Planning Reform and the Review of the Territory Budget.
- Canberra Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group
Council is one of the representative Community Groups at the Canberra Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group. It is a small role but provides insight into how the Canberra Airport organisation is evolving as part of the wider Canberra Community.
- Light Rail Stage 2 Community Reference Group
Council is an active participant in the Light Rail Community Reference Group providing input into the design of the future light rail to Woden. Key issues are ensuring Weston Creek residents are not disadvantaged as this project continues, with issues such as accessible transfer arrangements and future bus routes being discussed.
- Fetherston Gardens Friends
Council continued to support Fetherston Gardens Friends, as a sub-committee through the past year. This included obtaining a Queen’s Jubilee Grant from the Commonwealth, which included significant plantings and a Community Garden Party. A Fetherston Gardens report will be delivered at the AGM.
As outlined above, a significant amount of work has been done by the current Committee over the last year.
For the avoidance of any doubt, without new Committee Members nominating at the Annual General Meeting, Weston Creek Community Council will no longer operate. Should anyone wish to take up a role, retiring Committee members will be available to ensure an orderly transition. Council is in a good prudential state with all accounts having been paid, insurances in place, and grant acquittals being lodged.
As alluded to above, the ACT Government provided the Deed of Grant for the 2023-24 year to Council just after 2pm yesteday (24 October 2023). While the revised Deed provides a degree of flexibility on how Council will engage with the Community, it does not undertake to ensure Ministers or senior officials will present to Council meetings on important matters in their portfolios. We see this as a key flaw that will not encourage full input. We will post the documents to the Council website and let people make their own judgement. Acceptance of these conditions will be a matter for an incoming Committee
CELEBRATING WORKING TOGETHER AND ACHIEVING.
The Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) continued throughout the year to be a forum for residents to meet, share ideas and to convey concerns to government. WCCC are non-partisan, advocating for the best services and facilities for the people of Weston Creek. Local community input and feedback to government is crucial to enhance the lives of residents. As the outgoing committee we are hopeful that members will take up the opportunity to form a new committee. We gain thank everyone for their support and input. We wish everyone a safe and happy end of year and prosperous new year.