Wellington Shire Councillors met last Tuesday, August 2.

Outstanding petitions from the July 19 meeting calling for improved traffic and pedestrian safety in Maffra and implementation of a traffic management plan for Nightingale Street, Yarram, remain under review by Council Officers who are preparing a response.

RAAF Base East Sale Wing Commander Neil Foate of the Air Base Executive Office presented Wellington Shire Mayor Ian Bye with a trophy commemorating and thanking Wellington Shire Council for its advocacy and support of the RAAF base centenary.

Councillor Bye acknowledged the presentation, which will be displayed in the mayor’s office and reiterated East Sale RAAF Base’s importance within the community.

“People mightn’t realise what RAAF base actually does for the area,” Cr Bye said.

“There are over 1100 people that are base personnel and students; it is a huge amount of people, plus the contractors who service all the equipment, buildings and so forth out there, so it is a massive employer of the community.

“(RAAF Base East Sale) is very important to the welfare of the Australian people and an important piece of the Wellington Shire and an important part of our community.”

There were no outstanding questions on notice nor a delegates report.

In the first real action of the meeting, Council proposed the adoption of revised governance rules.

Council moved to approve and adopt the revised Governance Rules, which incorporate new Local Government Act 2020 provisions relating to virtual meetings.

Coastal Ward councillor Gary Stephens moved the motion, seconded by Coastal Ward colleague Councillor Gayle Maher.

“When the pandemic first started, the state government brought in temporary measure so that council could meet virtually,” Councillor Stephens said.

“The temporary measures are about to finish on September 1, and the government brought in an amendment so that we (Council) can alter our governance rules, allowing us to provide for ongoing virtual meetings.”

The proposal for Council to enter into a new land and building lease with H2X Global Limited (H2X) on Mortimer Drive, Fulham, West Sale Airport was carried, moved by Central Ward Councillor Scott Rossetti, seconded by Northern Ward Councillor Carmel Ripper.

“This is quite exciting,” Cr Rossetti said.

“H2X are a company that operates worldwide, producing an increasing production of hydrogen vehicles because transportation is one of the largest causes of greenhouse gases globally.

“Hydrogen is one way that H2X and others are looking at to reduce our carbon footprint, to the point that they are expecting hydrogen production to increase about ten times by 2050.

“What’s exciting here is H2X have actually wanted to set up within our region because of many things, but particularly our support of renewables.

“We are very excited to have them coming into West Sale; they are going to bring with them not only changes to the way we support our transport and logistics, but they are going to bring in a lot of work, jobs, thousands of fulltime equivalent roles.

The mayor then called the gallery for comment.

John Lees from Boisdale took the podium, expressing concerns over the Council’s treatment of volunteers.

“I volunteer out at Boisdale, and we have had a problem out there with a contractor who put in a sewerage system,” Mr Lees said.

“We have tried to get him to come back and fix the fences he damaged and other jobs he had to do out there. We went through the Council; the Council didn’t get in touch with us about what he was doing or what he was going to do.

“He supposedly fixed everything he was meant to, but he hasn’t.

“It’s just the treatment that the Council has given to us as volunteers without giving us the opportunity to be involved.

“I think the shire needs to have a look at the way some of their staff treat volunteers.”

Councillor Bye acknowledged and thanked Mr Lees for his address and invited him to speak with Wellington Shire Built and Natural Environment general manager Chris Hastie following the council meeting to discuss the issue further.

The next Council meeting will be held in the Wellington Room at Port of Sale on Tuesday, August 16, from 6pm.

The public is welcome to attend the gallery or alternatively watch and participate in council meetings virtually.

For more information, head to https://www.wellington.vic.gov.au/council/council-meetings.