This has been a week of reflection. It has been filled with such deep sorrow about the tragedy in New Zealand while discovering a new found appreciation for what we have on Cocos. Our caring community serves as a model for harmony and mutual respect. 
Our love and thoughts are with everyone impacted by this tragedy in New Zealand and in the international Muslim Community. 
 
Maju Pulu Kita / Advance Our Islands
The working group looking at prioritizing the 60 projects that emerged from the masterplanning will be meeting on Wednesday 20 March. This is a mammoth task and we are grateful to those people who have volunteered to assist us with this process. Once they have finalized their prioritisation, the masterplan will be made available to the community for review and input.
 
Direction Island Resort Proposal
Public submissions closed on Tuesday 12 March and we received a total of 18 submissions. A table of submissions, which protects the anonymity of people who made submissions, will be provided to the proponent for response and to the Community Reference Group. The 25 people registered for the Community Reference Group to will be meeting on Saturday 30 March to discuss the proposal in-depth. We thank those members of the community who are giving up their time to participate in this important process. We also acknowledge the independent technical experts in the areas of Economic Development, Tourism, Environment, Infrastructure and Culture for giving their time to advise this group. 
 
Home Island Retail Centre
Many in the community will be disappointed to learn that we were unsuccessful in our application for funding to build a new retail centre on Home Island. We will look at other options to take to Council regarding the future of this important centre.
 
Congratulations Ibrahim Macrae and Razalie Zainiel
Ibrahim has achieved his Certificate 4 in Planning and Razalie has completed his Certificate 4 in Regulatory Services. Both team members are to be congratulated for their dedication and hard work – please let know that we are very proud of them next time you see either of them. We, as a Shire and Community, will definitely benefit from having more skilled and qualified people on Cocos. Well done Ibrahim and Razalie.
 
Staff Health and Well-Being Forum
All staff participated in a half-day health and well-being forum last Thursday. Topics covered included hidden sugar in drinks, manual handling and posture, the impact of drug use, emotional health and well-being. It was a fun way to communicate some serious health messages and to get the office and depot teams together for some team building. A big shout out to Wendy Tempest, Annie Gray and Narelle Whatley for their wonderful contributions to the success of this forum.
 
Cocos CV
We were pleased to receive BBRF funding to develop a whole of Island CV that aims to showcase the skills in our labour force and in our local businesses to secure local employment and business benefits from major projects such as the Runway Upgrade. If you want to be included in the Cocos CV as a job seeker please register your interest with Aindil or Asma at IOGTA and supply information on your experience and qualifications. Local businesses are also encouraged to let us know if they would like to be included. Please email or write to the Shire marked to the attention of the CEO with the subject heading Cocos CV. If you have any queries, please contact me at the Shire. We look forward to hearing from you.
 
Public Toilets – West Island
Noting that the issue of public toilets on West Island is a recurring complaint, I am pleased to advise that have signed an agreement with the Cocos Club to keep the toilets open 24/7 until 30 June 2019 to provide an interim solution until a longer term solution can be considered.  
 
Cyclone
THANKS Sincere thanks to the Territory Controller, Anna Swain, the Emergency Management Committee and volunteers for their efforts to ensure the community was kept safe and well-informed about what was happening while Cyclone Savannah was in the vicinity. 
And a massive thanks also to the Shire Works Crew  for their prompt clean up to ensure the Islands were neat and tidy as soon as possible.
 
Visit From Military
We were delighted to host a visit from Air Commodore Richard Owen, Commander of the Joint Task Force 661 for the Indo Pacific Endeavour 2019. Air Commodore Owen arrived  on Cocos Island at the airport in spectacular fashion in an MRH90  helicopter on Sunday morning with a number of officers from the defence force. Our own RAAF officers, Andrew Porter and Shan Summers, were excellent ambassadors for Cocos. 
 
Staffing Updates
I am really pleased to advise that we have had some staffing reassignments.  Ibrahim MacRae, formerly the Executive Support Officer has had his role redefined as the Governance and Risk Coordinator.  Ibrahim will be looking after compliance, OSH and areas of risk. Luluk Sloan is assuming responsibility for Asset and Property Management and Isa Minkom will be moving into the role of Community Development Coordinator. Luluk’s Asset and Property Management role will ensure we take a more proactive and planned management and maintenance of our houses and other properties.  Isa will take on the coordination of the Community Development area to ensure a more holistic approach to Community Development.  Congratulations to our new Coordinators who have worked hard to demonstrate their capabilities and their commitment.  We know they will be successful in their new roles.\
 
Work Update
We are pleased to be taking advantage of the low tides to install the concrete mats at the boat ramps on Home Island this week. These mats should make launching and retrieving boats much easier and safer. 
The concrete footing has now been removed and the ground has been rehabilitated.
These are a few items that I think may be of particular interest but we are always willing to meet with members of the community who are interested in knowing more about Shire activities. 
 
Andrea Selvey
Chief Executive Officer