DECEMBER COUNCIL MEETING:
The last Council meeting for the year was held on 9 December 2020. At this meeting Council considered the following items:

  • The presentation of the Shire’s Annual Report. This important document provides Council and the community with detailed information on the Shire’s financial position and the report from the external auditor.   It also provides a great summary of the Shire’s activity and main projects over the financial year. I would encourage residents and ratepayers to have a look at this document to ensure they are informed and up to date. This edition of the Atoll invites community members to the Shire’s Annual Electors Meeting on Wednesday 3 February 2021 at 4pm where the Annual Report is presented formally.
 
  • Direction Island Resort Proposal - Cocos Boronia Resort (CBR) Lease. Council approved a short extension to CBR to execute their lease on a portion of Lot 103, Direction Island as the delay has been primarily the result of the complex Commonwealth approval process for the over-the-water component taking longer than anticipated. CBR now has until 9 April to execute their lease.
 
  • Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) – Applications. Council approved two grant applications for the next round of BBRF funding. The first is to provide water services to the north of West Island to open opportunities for development, including the two blocks zoned for tourism development. The second application is to refurbish the Tokoh (old workshops) on the waterfront on Home Island for a visitor center and museum. Should both the applications be successful Council will further consider the cost/benefit of both before deciding which one should proceed.
 
  • Shipping Container use – Lot 163 Beacon Heights. Council approved a further 12 months for the shipping container at Lot 163 Beacon Heights, noting that the container is being used for the duration of the building works at this property.
 
  • Increase in Councillor sitting fees. Councillors have not had an increase in their sitting fees since 2014. Officers recommended that their fees be increased in line with SAT approved fees for elected members and Council supported the officer’s recommendation.
 
  • Draft Fishing Ordinance. In recognition of the importance of this matter to the community and as part of Council’s leadership role, Council voted in favor of a notice of motion by Cr Ibram to invite the Assistant Minister to Cocos to reconsider aspects of the draft Fishing Ordinance. However, the Shire will first seek to establish a collective and coherent community view via a sound community engagement process in early February. Please register your interest in participating in this process via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning Ibrahim Macrae on 089162 6649. Please note that a prerequisite for attendance will be to have read the draft ordinance. 

COMMUNITY INPUT INTO OUR NEW STRATEGIC PLAN:
Under a legislative requirement for the Shire to develop a new 10-year Strategic Community Plan. This plan should outline community long term (10+ years) vision, values, aspirations and priorities, and when done well is a great foundation for robust decision making. Community input is vital, so Shire staff are planning a large community wide forum on Saturday 27 February. It is important to us that…
 
- Diversity of input and that the engagement process is inclusive and accessible to the breadth of our community demographics
- Input is informed and well considered
- Community expectations are managed by making sure participants are informed
- People to think long-term and about what benefits the broader community
- Everybody is heard, including those that would not normally have the confidence or capacity to share their views
- Community input is accurately captured and reflected in the final document
- We have a community-owned plan for the future which is a useful document that the Shire and community can feel proud of.
 
More information and invitations will be sent out in mid-January but in the meantime, please put a hold on this date in your diary as we would love to have as many members of the community join us for this important day.

NATIVE VEGETATION REGENERATION PROJECT:
A pocket of land north of the Farm, around several stunning calyphylum trees will be restored soon. Early in the new year, the Shire crew will clear the area of coconuts to allow space and light for native vegetation to flourish. The team will plant new trees as well as nurture existing seedlings. We hope this approach will succeed in creating a native vegetation parkland for residents and visitors to enjoy.

COCOS CHRISTMAS TREE:
I realise we have provided thanks via social media and in person but given the effort and contributions, we thought another Atoll thanks to everyone who helped would be appropriate. Given the large number of people who donated time and materials, I will offer a huge collective thanks to all for making our community so much more festive and bringing joy to the season. 
 
NEW PICNIC TABLES FOR TRANNIES: 
Brian Cree and Bulka Raptikan have been busy building two new large picnic tables for Trannies Beach in time for Christmas lunch. The tables have been carefully designed and expertly crafted to be safe and stable. They have used timber and materials left over from other projects. Great job team. 

MACAO PAPER WASPS:
Ranger Razali and Aslie have reported that since the last Atoll a fortnight ago, they have treated 152 wasp nests. Their personal best for one day this fortnight was 25. They are constantly trying to improve their numbers and would appreciate assistance from the community to inform them of any nest sightings.

THANK YOU - SEA SHEPHERD AUSTRALIA - MARINE DEBRIS CAMPAIGN
We would like to acknowledge the amazing efforts of the Sea Shepherd team who have spent the last two weeks hard at work collecting plastic from various beach (hot spots) around the Atoll, including Pulu Gangsa, Direction Island, Twiss Memorial and South Island.  

They have achieved an incredible amount in the time they have been here and we are very grateful for their support.  In addition to cleaning up the beaches, they have collected a wealth of data on plastic which we hope can be used to make changes at a policy level to reduce this waste at the source.  

They have also volunteered to assist the Shire with developing some educational signage so people who visit Cocos can learn more about this global issue and what we are trying to do at a local level.  Thanks again to the team from Sea Shepherd.

THANK YOU COCOS:
As 2020 draws to a close, it is timely to reflect on the year that has been. In January no one would have been able to predict what the year held in store. Despite the challenges, it has been encouraging to see how the community and businesses have responded and made the best of the opportunities. The Shire has tried its best to support the community and find innovative ways to connect people through events and activities. The big focus on projects and success in attracting grants has meant that many people have been able to be employed which is a priority for Council. And it is great to see the Islands once again vibrant and thriving. 

On a personal note, I would like to acknowledge our hard-working team at the Shire. All staff continue to give their best and I am grateful for their support, efforts and commitment. I would also thank our Councillors for their advice and guidance throughout this difficult year. There is no doubting that Council is working in the best interests of the community. And to the community for your participation and support of the Shire, we thank you. There are many people leaving Cocos at this end of this year and we wish them all the best in their future adventures.


Andrea Selvey
Chief Executive Officer