From Hilltops Council – Tony Flanery

Tony Flanery
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Congratulations to all those who participated in the moving Anzac Day dawn services from their driveways and verandas etc. It was amazing to see the lights along Cunningar Rd on Saturday morning as people paid tribute to those who have fought and died to ensure we have the liberties we enjoy as a nation today.

It has been an amazing response by everyone to practice social isolation with the dedication and virtue required to minimise the impact of the coronavirus and thereby ensure that the spread of the disease hasn’t been as deadly as in parts of Europe and the US.

As the State and Federal government consider relaxing some of the restrictions, I believe it is important that we remain vigilant until we are passed the depths of winter to ensure there is no significant loss of life for the sake of a few weeks of perceived freedom.

The real cost and impact won’t be known for many years as the nation comes to terms with the economic loss in both the private and public sector. It will leave the nation with a huge debt that future generations will have to fund.

At the April Council meeting, I moved a motion to the effect that:

  • Sporting clubs not be charged for the use of the ovals and Council facilities where they do not use the facilities due to the coronavirus lock down and
  • Restaurants, cafes and food service businesses etc, be granted a 6 month extension to their licence fees.

The motion passed 6 votes to 5 but a recession motion has since been lodged by 3 Councillors to overturn the decision at the May Council meeting.

As a local Council we need to encourage business and employment. We can’t afford to lose the existing people and businesses we have. Many families find the cost of making ends meet difficult at the best of times, so having to deal with the additional pressure of COVID will make it almost impossible for many family budgets.

The loss of casual employment offered by food service businesses who were forced to close by the Government, will have a huge impact on our youth and the female working population in particular. Many of these same people are the ones who participate in and volunteer to assist with the local sporting groups around our towns.

I am of the view that as a Council we need to put our hand in our pocket to assist as much as we possibly can. If that means taking on some additional debt then so be it.

I am happy to back myself as an economic manager to find the necessary budgetary savings to pay for the cost. Surely that is why we nominate to run for Council. As a Council, we need to back ourselves, not sit there chewing our fingernails worrying about it all falling in a heap.

– Councillor Tony Flanery

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