Re-use Of Screened Soil From The Remediation Of The West Island Playgroup Building Grounds:
Council carefully considered the importance of supporting the remediation of the West Island Playgroup Building Grounds noting that the project will enable full access to a much valued community facility, improve the visual amenity of the site which is in a prominent position on West Island and provide a pilot for other sites that require remediation.
With this in mind, Council supported the much anticipated remediation of this site by agreeing to sub-contract to the main contractor for elements of the project and to re-using the screened soil as backfill for future sandbagging projects. Council’s support was subject to some strict environmental controls and risk management measures to ensure current and future risks to our staff, the organisation and community members are managed appropriately.
 
Recruitment And Selection Policy:
The importance of getting the right person for the job (merit-based selection) while ensuring the Shire is compliant with all Industrial Relations Legislation are the two of the principles under-pinning the new Recruitment and Selection Policy adopted by Council. Given that the policy is new and may require some changes, Council chose a very short review period of six months so that in June next year Council can assess if this policy is meeting the needs of the organisation whilst providing transparency our community deserves. The new policy is on the Shire website so please have a look and let us know if you think it serves those purposes or if any changes should be considered by Council during the review.
 
Community Events Funding:
Congratulations to the following organisations for being awarded funding for their upcoming events:
  • Cocos Islands Youth Council
  • Cocos Islands Golf Club
  • Cocos (K) Islands D.H.S P& C
  • Cocos (K) Islands Tourism Association
The Shire is pleased to support these great community initiatives that bring benefits and vibrancy to our community. However, Council noted some concerns with the process and resolved to undertake a review/restructure of the program to ensure it is equitable and gives benefit where it is most needed.
 
Visit To Christmas Island:
I was a guest of the Administrator in my capacity as a member of the Regional Development Organisation (RDO) last week. The primary purpose of the visit was to review and workshop the RDO’s draft Constitution to align with new legislative requirements and the RDA Charter. One very pleasing outcome of the review is that two new community positions have added to expand community representation on this important organisation. The RDO also reviewed the consultation plan for the CKI Strategic Plan and discussed ways in which data gathered in November could be tested and verified during a large community engagement process the Shire will be running in February. More on that soon.
While on Christmas Island I took the opportunity to meet with important stakeholders of the Shire. I met with the CEO of the Shire of Christmas Island, David Price. We discussed opportunities for collaboration, particularly in the areas of strategic waste management as we both believe there would be benefits in working together and visited some Shire sites such as the waste management facility, depot, library and community centre. I also had a very productive meeting with Parks Australia Manager, Kerrie Bennison to discuss opportunities for great collaboration between the Shire and Parks Australia and how we can deliver some projects and community initiatives together. Ideas being explored include greater community involvement in initiatives, re-vegetation projects and distribution of information on Parks Australia’s role and responsibilities. We look forward to working with Parks Australia in the coming months. The Administrator also facilitated a meeting with the manager of the Westpac Bank on CI, Belinda Van Zundert. We spoke about the barriers to investment in the IOTs arising from the inability to obtain reasonable insurance for properties. Belinda has committed to researching options and working with us to try and find solutions.
 
Snap Send Solve— An App For Great Collaboration Between The Community And The Shire:
The best communities are those where the Community and the Shire work as a team and we would like to find ways to make it easy for this to happen. An example is that members of the Community often spot issues and concerns before Shire staff and need to have a constructive way to communicate those issues to the Shire. We are currently in the midst of implementing a great app, Snap Send Solve, to make this as easier as possible. Snap Send Solve is being used successfully in other Shires and provides a very simple way for residents to report an issue of concern to the Shire. At the Shire’s end we have a system for capturing and responding to those messages. We feel this is more constructive than Facebook which can often result in ill-informed and unconstructive comments. We will launch Snap Send Solve in the new year so please keep an eye out. 
 
End Of The Year Thank You:
As this is the last edition of the Atoll for 2018 and it coincides with my first six months as CEO I would like to take the opportunity to thank the wonderful team at the Shire. It has been a very busy year; the team has worked hard and can be proud of their many achievements such as the brick paving and fencing on Home Island, a number of sand-bagging projects, refurbishment of key infrastructure such as the Cyclone Shelter, DI Rip Deck, Ablutions/Shelters and houses in the Kampong, two excellent BBRF grant applications, a number of youth activities in addition to the day to day work such as sound financial management, customer service and licencing and keeping our community looking so loved. It has been a pleasure working with the hard-working Council who give so much of their time and expertise to ensure the Shire meets the communities expectations. 2019 is shaping up to be very positive and equally productive, and we look forward to serving the Cocos Community to the best of our ability.