COUNCIL ELECTIONS 2019:  At the time of writing, we are gearing up for the Local Government Elections on Saturday 19 October.  By the time this Atoll is published and distributed we will be in the midst of election day so I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all candidates for their interest in serving their community. 

Whatever the outcome, it is heartening to see people willing to give their time and expertise via this important role.  Best wishes to you all. New Councillors will be sworn in at a Special Council Meeting on 23 October at which time Council will also elect a Shire President and Deputy Shire President. 

It is also important to acknowledge and thank outgoing Councillors and this will be done more thoroughly in the next Atoll.

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION:  Along with other RDO members, Rik Soderlund and Levi Fowler, I attended the RDO Committee meeting and Annual General Meeting on Christmas Island last weekend.  During this time, I also participated in a panel to assess tenders for the review of Tourism on the IOTs and a tourism sub-committee meeting.  At the invitation of the RDO Chair and Administrator, Mrs Natasha Griggs, the Chair of Regional Development Australia Northern Territory and the Northern RDA Alliance, Mr Steven Edgington attended several of our meetings and presented on economic development initiatives at the Barkly Regional Council.  Mr Edgington, who is also the Mayor of the Barkly Regional Council, also spent three days on Cocos and met with the Shire President and Deputy Shire President.

BUDGET 2019/20:  Continuing our budget series and following on from the RDO update, we are pleased to advise that we have funds to partner with the RDO to develop an investment prospectus for Cocos (Keeling) Islands.  The intent of the prospectus is to highlight and promote investment opportunities on Cocos.  We will work with Council and the community in the development of this document to ensure it reflects community aspirations and the Maju Pula Kita vision.  The prospectus will leverage from the RDO’s work on an IOTs prospectus and the Cocos CV. If you would like to know more about this project or want to be involved, please contact me to discuss it in more detail.

COMMUNITY FUNDING PROGRAM: Areminder thatour community funding program is now open for applications from community groups wishing to undertake projects or activities that benefit the community.  Applications close on Monday 4 November - contact Isa Minkom at the Shire for more information or advice.

STAFFING UPDATE:  Congratulations to Thomas Battcher on being successful in his application to work at the Shire in the Parks and Gardens team.  Thomas will bring his passion for horticulture and his wealth of experience in the field to the role.  Thomas will be focusing on re-instating the public grounds around Oceania House, so they are a welcoming and useable public space for the community to enjoy.  Thomas will also look after our Nursery and propagate plants for re-vegetation projects and investigate and implement a composting program for Home and West Islands.

MAJU PULU KITA MASTERPLAN: Sandy Point: The shelter at Sandy Point has been completed and looks great.  When the sheets for the shed for storage of the beach wheelchair arrives we will commence construction on the shed.  We are also delighted to be working with Lisa Moser, Steve Boase, and Nek Neng on the Jukong inspired public art for Sandy Point.

Home Island School Fence: The fence at the front of the school on Home Island has also been completed and looks sensational.  Another great partnership between the School and the Shire.

Jalan Pantai: Jalan Pantai is a hive of activity at the moment with the resurfacing of the existing road which is progressing.  We are also using this opportunity to finish the aprons at each boat ramp along the way. We are also  constructing a shelter on the foreshore at the intersection of Jalan Pantai and Jalan Raya, which will be fitted with solar lighting.

Truck Service:  We are very lucky to have qualified mechanics working for the Shire.  Here is one of our mechanics, Amal, carrying out the scheduled service on the Home Island rubbish truck.