It is an honour and a privilege to represent the residents of the Hills Shire. The support from the community has been overwhelming and very humbling. The values I bring to council are;
- Financial prudence
- Less bureaucracy
- Less regulation
- Responsible governance
These are the values I have followed for the budget over this financial year. More than most governments, your council spends your rates in a responsible and prudent manner. I always question the benefit to residents from activities of council. And importantly we restrain the bureaucracy of council. This is the single most important driver of costs for any government. It is not just the wages, it is mostly the cost of the activities that they generate.
An election promise we made was to upgrade the Waves Pool at Baulkham Hills and look at options for a second pool. We are keeping that promise and have released plans for the upgrade of Waves. It is exciting and we are planning to make it a significant recreational site. My commitment to residents is to ensure we get the best outcome for the cost possible. Some of our processes need to improve so I will watch our progress on this closely.
It is a priority of Council that the organisation respects and is responsive to our residents. So many governments use fines as a means to supplement their revenues. It is insidious and wrong. Your council opposes this approach. We do not engage in using fines for revenues. We monitor fines on residents to ensure it is used as a last resort and try and keep it to a minimum. You might know that The Hills Shire Council does not have paid parking and in addition has possibly the lowest council rates in Australia relative to the value of your property. This is your council representing its residents.
I would like to congratulate Mayor Michelle Byrne on the birth of her new daughter. The birth of our children is always exciting and a special experience. Best Wishes Madam Mayor.
Finally, as we go into the Christmas season, I would like to wish all our residents, my friends and colleagues on Council, and our staff a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. May you have a wonderful time with family and friends and be safe over this period.