President’s Monthly Musing

Published on Wednesday, 13 April 2022 at 4:11:28 PM

When I got the reminder about getting my President’s note done this month, I found myself at a loss as to what I should cover in this month’s wrap.

These are unprecedent times in the world and it is hard to comment on any of it. A war raging in Eastern Europe, catastrophic natural disaster across Australia, our own cyclone recovery twelve months on, the prospect of another tropical cyclone coming down the west coast in late March, a cash splashed federal budget in an inflating economy on the doorstep of a federal election, and COVID19. The news cycle has been fierce.

The impact of these events on humanity is profound. And I am aware of the impacts felt by the Chapman Valley community. Our small community is resilient, and we have come so far in the past year. The Shire Councillors and Staff will assist in any way that we can to support the community.

It is often easy to say what about me when things seem hard or are not going a certain way. I sometimes go down that rabbit hole too… the power goes out, the telecoms go down, driving roads with potholes, struggling to source products because of supply chain interruptions, the cost-of-living pressures, and fuel is $2 a litre. Darn it feels like tough times, and in many ways it is.  But it is times like these I like to gleam perspective. I think how lucky I am to have a car, house (even if it is still broken from Seroja), a phone, a job to pay for food and clothing, my health (albeit recovering from COVID19 as I write), choices, and people to share life. I recalibrate and recognise the true values and needs of people, and often think of others who may not be so lucky.

Leading and living in times of chaos and uncertainty is a challenge. It pushes us beyond our comfort zones. Whether you are trying to live your best life, organise your household/family, lead a school, a business, a community group, a shire, a state, or a country, it all takes people and certain qualities. You might ask what qualities does it take? What I have observed is it takes calm, authenticity, resilience, standing together with people, empathy, compassion, listening, actioning solutions, and acts of kindness. Qualities all within us, which I have witnessed so much of in our community this past twelve months.

It requires acknowledging that the catastrophic events that have caused significant trauma and distress is firmly wedged in us. Twelve months on from cyclone Seroja, months on from heatwaves, and weeks on from a passing tropical low, we will all feel different emotions. We will recover, but life will never be the same and we must influence our leaders to reflect and learn from it and put into place real plans, for future events and doing things better. The local recovery operations plan that is being jointly drafted by the Shire of Chapman Valley and Shire of Northampton will confidently address the continued recovery work required.

Council continues to advocate for our community needs. It is one of the roles local governments play. This month the CEO, and I have met with Western Power, Energy Minister Bill Johnston Office, Emergency Services Minister, Cyclone Seroja State Recovery Manager, Emergency Services Commissioner, Main Roads, and various sitting members of parliament. We are optimistic these representatives are recognising our plights.

Meanwhile the Shire staff have been completing 2021/2022 budgeted projects including roads, community infrastructure, parks and gardens, library services, bush fire control, ranger services, refuse site management, administrative support, all the while planning for the next budget year encompassing inspections of roads, buildings, and infrastructure, and assessing grant funding applications and the next audit. It may seem time moves swiftly and sometimes actions slowly, but we will continue the good fight to progress better outcomes for the community.

In closing, I encourage everyone to practice a little gratitude. If you see someone doing good things, may it be big or small, smile, give them a shout out and say thank you. You will make their day and intrinsically make yourself feel good too.

Take care out on the roads and in the community over the Easter break. I hope it is enjoyable one for everyone.

Kirrilee Warr


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