Russell Northe MLA, Sep 2019

Boolarra Community Development Group – Annual General Meeting

It was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to recently attend the Boolarra Community Development Groups (BCDG) Annual General Meeting. I wish Chair Doug Black, Deputy Chair Sue Webster, Secretary Colin Brick, Treasurer Jenny Wedrowicz, Publicity Officer Deb Chanesman and all Committee members the very best for the next 12 months ahead. This dedicated group of volunteers help make Boolarra and District such a treasured place to live and visit.

Throughout the year BCDG has been involved in a multitude of events and supported a number of important causes. This includes the co-ordination of Boolarra’s Australia Day event, assisting with the Tom Curtain Speak Up Tour event, the Ten Year bushfire anniversary function and organising concerts at the Memorial Hall which helped to raise funds for local postmaster Shannon Blines. Having attended these events myself I can attest to the fact that community spirit in Boolarra is very much alive and well. Again well done and congratulations to all associated with the BCDG. Keep up the great work you do!

Boolarra Folk Festival  

I note a grant from the Latrobe Valley Authority has been allocated to the Boolarra Folk Festival committee to help with the restoration and extension of the Old Boolarra Post Office.  These funds will allow for the establishment of the building to establish a committee base and will be a fabulous new community resource on completion of the works. I know such a plan has been on the agenda for some time and I am therefore so pleased that the Folk Festival team have been able to secure funds to undertake this important project. The Boolarra Folk Festival of course has now become one of the iconic and celebrated events in our region and many are already looking forward to a rollicking good time at the 2020 Boolarra Folk Festival!!

Fire Access Tracks Petition

In mid-August I tabled a petition in Parliament with over 1500 signatures which called for fire access tracks across the State to be adequately cleared and maintained as a matter of urgency. I thank the many people who feel passionate about this issue and distributed petitions across the community. Having attended many community meetings in Cowwarr, Toongabbie and Yinnar during and post fires we experienced earlier this year, it became evident that first responders and particularly CFA teams had encountered accessibility issues when endeavouring to fight these fires.

Much of the feedback related to the fact that many emergency tracks were overgrown and had not been maintained adequately. This is really an unacceptable situation which puts our firefighters and first responders at an increased risk and also significantly increases risks to local communities. We have taken our cause up with the relevant authorities and hope to receive a favourable response. I also wish to take the opportunity to again pay tribute to all our first responders including all our local CFA brigades and members. The Yinnar South/Budgeree fires really tested the resilience of many but as always our CFA teams stood tall at such a difficult time.

I also wish to congratulate the Yinnar South CFA Brigade who recently celebrated 75 years of service to our community. To Captain Mark Bruerton and his members past and present – well done and thank you for your dedication and commitment.

Russell Northe MLA,
Member for Morwell.