Innovative council is the target for Neele

May 12, 2017

KYABRAM Deakin Ward councillor Vicki Neele is hopeful this council will make innovative decisions it can be proud of.

And with five reasonably new councillors, with fresh ideas, she thinks the council is off to a good start.

But that’s not all Cr Neele wants this council to be remembered by.

‘‘The youth advisory group is an example of how we’re trying to connect with all sectors of the community,’’ Cr Neele said.

‘‘Personally I think arts are an important facet of community’s growth ... I think we’ve got a lot of arts people across the shire that we could give more support.

‘‘Another thing I would like to see is a development officer based in each community, not everything centred in Echuca, so that the smaller groups can reach their full potential ... that costs money but I would like to see it happen. It doesn’t have to be council run, I think the community can be a driving force.’’

Cr Neele said this term of council was different to the one she was on about 25 years ago.

‘‘It’s been a bigger learning curve,’’ she said.

‘‘Back then when I was on Ky council, I lived in Ky and you could walk down and meet the CEO etc.

‘‘The Kyabram people don’t have that connection so as their representative I have to try and fill that gap which is different because the system has changed.

‘‘Even in Echuca people don’t ask an engineer to do something — there is a process that has to be followed ... so as a first time councillor there are a lot of things to learn.’’

Cr Neele said meeting ‘‘fabulous people’’ had been a highlight for her.

‘‘As a council we’re a really good team,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re not all mirror images of each other, there’s quite diverse views and sometimes we don’t always see eye to eye so there has been good debate and I think that can be really healthy.’’

Cr Neele said she did not think there was a division in council.

She said one challenge, however, was having less money to meet higher community expectation.

‘‘I think another key challenge is for the Kyabram community to understand I am not here just for them even though they’re the ones that voted me in,’’ Cr Neele said.

‘‘I think it’s important for people to understand as councillors we are here to make things happen and we’re all trying to do our best.’’

As for where to from here?

‘‘I’m still on the learning curve,’’ Cr Neele said with a laugh.

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