COUNCIL MEETING: The June Ordinary Meeting of Council was held on 24 June. Items considered included two internal governance reviews to give Council assurance that the organisation’s risk management, internal controls and legislative compliance requirements are effective and appropriate. Council also considered expressions of interest for an external member on the Audit and Governance Committee and resolved to appoint Mr Phillip Anastasakis to the role.
 Mr Anastasakis brings almost 25 years of senior local government experience to this role and his participation will enhance and strengthen the Audit and Governance Committee. We thank Mr Anastasakis for his pro-bono contribution to the Shire and to the sector.

Council, in its capacity as the Trustee of the Land Trusts, considered several outstanding debts. While Council would prefer not to take a hard stance on the pursuit of outstanding debts, it is essential that all ratepayers and tenants are treated equally and that everyone pays their way. As always, we will be very willing to enter into payment agreements with any debtor in financial difficulty. 

Council also adopted an e-Meetings Policy to provide structure around the legislation that allows Council to hold meetings via tele or video conferencing under certain circumstances. As this policy also affects residents ability to attend Council meetings, make presentations and deputations, it is worth noting as a matter of public interest.

A reminder that Council meetings are open to the public and we would welcome members of the community to come along to see the Council decision-making process at work. The agenda also includes an allocation of time for public questions. Council agendas are on the Shire website three days prior to the Council meeting and the minutes are available within two weeks after the meeting. Anyone wishing to know more about any items on the agenda or in the minutes is welcome to contact me.

PONDOK CLEAN-UP: We were delighted to partner with Nek Nazeef, Nek Sue and Nek Sofiya in cleaning up their Pondoks on Horsborough, Pulu Maria, and Pulu Cepelok. The Shire is providing the boat to transport waste materials from the islands to the waste transfer station while Pondok owners did the clean-up on site and took materials to the boat. We are seeking to continue this Pondok clean-up in the new budget with 10 more sites catered for in our draft budget for Council consideration. Anyone wishing to know more about this program or to seek a partnership to clean up a pondok is invited to contact the Governance Coordinator, Ibrahim Macrae at the Shire.

ARTS GROUP: We have had our second Arts Group meeting and have developed an exciting series of events and activities to promote and celebrate arts and culture. Activities include arts workshops, an art trail, mini sculptures by the sea, poetry, panton and music events. We hope to be able to kick of the year’s calendar with an event in late July and culminate with the annual arts exhibition and competition during ASDD next year. Our small group would welcome any other interested people to join us delivering these activities to the community.

MENS' SHED: One of the projects identified during the Maju Pulu Kita Masterplanning was a Mens’ Shed on Home Island and we are working with IOGTA to deliver on this request. We have spoken with the Men’s Shed Association and received great advice and a detailed manual  from them on how to start and operate a Mens’ Shed. The following extract from the Mens’ Shed Website provides a good understanding of what a Mens’ Shed is and their role in the community.

What is a Men’s Shed?
The modern Men’s Shed is an updated version of the shed in the backyard that has long been a part of Australian culture. Men’s Sheds are found in many cities and towns around Australia and continue to spring up internationally. Not all Men’s Sheds are the same – if you looked inside you might see a number of men making furniture, perhaps restoring bicycles for a local school, making Mynah bird traps, fixing lawn mowers or making a cubby house for Camp Quality to raffle. You might also see a few young men working with the older men obtaining new skills and learning something about life from the men with whom they work. You might see local elders making traditional weapons or designing arts and crafts. You will see tea-bags, coffee cups and a comfortable area where men can sit and talk. You will probably see an area also where men can learn to cook for themselves or how to contact their families by computer.

So what is so special about the ‘Men’s Shed’?
Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive, contributing to your community, connecting with friends and maintaining an active body and mind. Becoming a member of a Men’s Shed provides a safe and busy environment where men can find many of these things in an atmosphere of old-fashioned mateship. And, importantly, there is no pressure. Men can just come and have a yarn and a cuppa if that is all they’re looking for.

Members of Men’s Sheds come from all walks of life – the bond that unites them is that they are men with time on their hands and would like something meaningful to do with that time. A good Men’s Shed has a Management Committee that has developed a safe and happy environment where men are welcome to work on community projects, specific Men’s Shed projects or a project of their choice in their own time and where the only ‘must’ is to observe safe working practices….all in a spirit of mateship.

Reference: https://mensshed.org/what-is-a-mens-shed/ 

The first and most important step is to establish a community committee. Anyone with an interest in seeing a Mens’ Shed on Cocos is warmly invited to contact our Community Development Coordinator, Isa Minkom at the Shire. We need your help if we are to see this idea turn into a reality.  

DIRECTION ISLAND: I had the most delightful time camping on Direction Island last weekend. Once again I was reminded of the generosity of Jack O’ Donnell and Ian Thomson in providing the solar lighting in the shelters – what a wonderful contribution. An observation and request – the fire pits. They seem to be very popular which is fantastic – but a reminder they are not rubbish bins. Please take all your rubbish with you when you leave. We have also placed rakes at each shelter – if you have a fire, please rake around the fire to leave the surrounding area tidy. Shire staff visit once a week but are kept very busy trying to maintain the natural vegetation, clean and restock the ablution facilities. They do not have time to collect rubbish. Please be considerate and help us keep Direction Island clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy.  

TWISS ANNIVERSAY: Fifty years ago in 1970, Edward Twiss was lost, presumed drowned. Edward, an Aviation employee, was apparently looking for crayfish along a dangerous section of reef on West Island but did not return. A severed leg was all that was later recovered. A memorial at John’s Rock marks the site where he was lost. The Shire will be giving the Memorial a tidy up in the coming weeks.

These are just a few items I thought would be of interest to our community. Please contact me to discuss these or any other Shire matters.


Andrea Selvey
Chief Executive Officer