East Gippsland Shire Council welcomed Cross Border Commissioners Luke Wilson (Victoria) and James McTavish (New South Wales) to East Gippsland on Tuesday, October 15.
Mayor Cr Natalie O’Connell said it was a great opportunity to discuss a range of issues that impact communities accessing services on both sides of the border in the shire’s more remote towns.
“Having these conversations and keeping the lines of communication open are very important in Council advocating for our communities and improving opportunities for East Gippsland,” Cr O’Connell said.
“It’s great both Luke and James are showing a genuine, keen interest in East Gippsland. There is a real commitment to addressing some of the issues that face our cross-border communities.
“It’s the third time I have met with Luke since he started in the role last October, and it was great to have James visit and provide the New South Wales perspective on some of the opportunities and challenges.”
The Mayor said school bus access, educational opportunities, regulatory and business registration challenges, and tourism promotion opportunities were among the items discussed with councillors.
“Our remote communities close to the border, like Mallacoota and Bendoc, that access services out of NSW particularly should see the benefits of this advocacy and cross-border relationship into the future,” Cr O’Connell said.
Council is also an affiliate member of the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO), which provides networking and funding opportunities for councils to drive infrastructure projects, investment opportunities and socio-cultural progress.
“The involvement with the CRJO and the willingness of James to travel into East Gippsland shows great progress,” Cr O’Connell said.
Crs Dick Ellis, Colin Toohey and Marianne Pelz, Victorian Cross Border Commissioner Luke Wilson, Crs Mark Reeves and Mayor Natalie O’Connell, NSW Cross Border Commissioner James McTavish, Crs John White, Joe Rettino and Ben Buckley, and Council Chief Executive Officer Anthony Basford.