Number 1: Happy birthday
WITH next year marking Goulburn’s 150th birthday as a city, Cr Kettle will use the occasion to promote the entire local government area.
“Next year is a golden opportunity for us to promote Goulburn Mulwaree as a destination,” he told the Goulburn Post.
“Goulburn will be the centre of attention in Australia, and much of the world, during our celebrations throughout the year, especially that big day in March, and I will be working to make sure we make the most of that invaluable exposure.”
A massive civic reception and cake-cutting ceremony is planned for March 14. The official birthday website is www.goulburn150.org.au.
Number 2: Watch this space
WORK by Cr Kettle and several other stakeholders in the last quarter of 2012 has put Goulburn on the radar as a possible site for a new large-scale archival storage facility.
In November the council put out the call for suitable sites to house a collections storage facility in Goulburn.
Earlier that month, councillors agreed to engage a consultancy firm to prepare a business case - at a cost of $150,000 – to support a Regional Development Australia (RDA) funding application for the purpose built centre.
“We will keep pushing with this,” Cr Kettle said.
“Both the state and federal governments realise they have a problem with the costs associated with maintaining their own facilities in the capitals.
“We are working with the governments, the cultural institutions themselves, to give them an economic solution that suits their needs.
“It could be a Greenfield site, or an existing facility. It could be document storage, tied in with digitalisation of records, and/or physical storage of items of historic or cultural significance.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for Goulburn. There are already several NSW government entities interested.”
Cr Kettle hopes the council can secure at least $6.5 million in RDA funding. The council has already set aside $1.2m as a co-contribution.
It will find out early this year whether the RDA application will proceed to a full business case
Number 3: Urge to merge
THE mayor is under no illusion that council amalgamations are back on the agenda, with the final report on the Independent Local Government Review, presented to the Minister in July 2013.
“I want to make sure that in any proposed amalgamations or rationalising of local government in this area, that Goulburn Mulwaree’s interests are looked after,” Cr Kettle said.
“I want to know that any local government areas which want to become part of say, a Southern Tablelands regional council, are financially viable and can yield benefits that will enable the new entity to improve its core services.”
Chair of the Independent Local Government Review Panel, Professor Graham Sansom, said the final report will include a package of recommendations for “better governance and performance on the part of councils, strengthened financial management, new structures and boundaries where required, and a greatly improved working relationship between local and state governments.”
“In the meantime we will be issuing a third discussion paper in March-April which will give everyone the clearest possible indication of our conclusions and likely recommendations,” he said.
Number 4: In the market
THE $28 million Marketplace redevelopment must happen, stressed Cr Kettle, a supporter of the partial closure of Verner Street.
“I fully understand that there are aspects of development that need research and refinement, and that’s why I support an open public forum between developers and local interest groups such as heritage and business people, to sit down and work out an appropriate outcome,” he said.
“This development would be terrific for Goulburn but before anything is set in concrete, it’s essential all sides have their views heard and debated.”
The Joint Regional Planning Panel will ultimately decide the fate of the redevelopment. But with the council waiting on updated planning information from the proponent, it could be many months before the Panel meets.
Number 5: Hume hotspot
CR Kettle said next year’s election could be pivotal in terms of government infrastructure funding for Goulburn Mulwaree, which forms the hub of Hume.
The federal poll might not be held until deep into this year, but Hume is already a candidate hotspot, with at least four of them vying for the seat to be vacated by the retiring Liberal Alby Schultz.
Cr Kettle, although a prominent member of the local Liberal branch, said as mayor he was committed to scoping out the policies of all candidates.
“I’ll be seeking every opportunity to meet with all candidates to see what they can offer and what we can offer in these challenging economic times,” he said.
“There is a great opportunity in this year’s federal election for Goulburn Mulwaree and we, as a community, need to put our candidates to the test.
“Let’s see how serious they are about the people of Goulburn Mulwaree.”