Pankhurst prepared to make the tough calls for the future

May 12, 2017

KYABRAM Deakin Ward councillor Neil Pankhurst wants to be remembered as the council that made the hard decisions so it is sustainable in the future.

Of course Cr Pankhurst admitted these decisions are not always fun to make.

But he believes they are the ones that have to be made sometimes — especially in the new world of the state government’s rate capping.

‘‘I will measure this council being successful if we can make the hard decisions,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve got a lot of work to do to review services and whether we are most appropriate to deliver the service or if others should be doing it ... certainly our success will be how well we go about implementing the plans and not just developing them.’’

In the last term council started its aquatic service review which initially recommended facilities in the shire’s smaller towns close but eventually gave communities a maximum of three years to come up with a plan.

Cr Pankhurst said this was a positive outcome for the community after council discovered remaining involved with the swimming pools was not sustainable into the long-term future.

Reflecting on the first six months, Cr Pankhurst said council was going ‘‘not too bad’’.

‘‘The new council is going reasonably well,’’ he said.

‘‘Certainly the induction process has been good, certainly an improvement on the last term.’’

Cr Pankhurst said developing the budget and council plan had been a highlight but having new councillors on board had been a challenge.

‘‘For a number of councillors it’s a bit of a challenge for them coming to terms with the size of the task at hand,’’ he said.

‘‘We all discover that once we become a councillor there is a lot more involved than we thought from the outset.’’

Cr Pankhurst also said there was ‘‘room for improvement’’ in terms of going the right way about things.

‘‘Understanding that if we want a different outcome and it doesn’t fit in current policies we need to review and adjust and not make ad hoc decisions ... I think that will come as the new councillors gain more experience,’’ he said.

On Echuca’s hottest topic, Cr Pankhurst said he supported a policy being developed around the Port of Echuca.

‘‘I certainly think it’s worthwhile,’’ he said.

‘‘(But) having spent time on council I think some don’t understand the work that has already been done.’’

And as for whether there’s a division in council?

‘‘No ... it comes back to being a large group of new councillors,’’ he said.

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