It was my sad privilege on Friday to attend the funeral of Mr Rex Hoole, the last known Korean War Veteran in the Goondiwindi Region.
I offer my sincere condolences and respects to the family and friends of Mr Hoole, who served both in Korea and Japan and who would have turned 92 last week, as well as to the fellow returned servicemen and women in our community for whom this is doubtlessly a very painful time.
I was particularly moved by how our community rallied to show respect to Mr Hoole, including a befitting military service funeral by the Goondiwindi RSL, including the delivery of The Last Post and a Guard of Honour. Lest We Forget.
In happier news, I wish to say a great congratulations again to the Goondiwindi P&A Society and the countless volunteers who gave their time to put on yet another wonderful Goondiwindi Show last fortnight. It was my great pleasure to attend and see so many residents there, and I was once again impressed by the quality of all the displays and exhibitions.
I'd like to make special mention here of Mr Hugh Fisher, who was presented with Life Membership to the P&A Society after more than 20 years of dedication to the show. A long-term resident of our region, Hugh faithfully returns each year to support our pastoral local show and ensure it continues to be the fantastic family event we all know it to be. It's thanks to the dedication of people like him that we can continue these events and traditions - Hugh, thank you.
Inglewood aged care
I'm pleased to report that on Tuesday last week, my fellow councillors, Council officers and I met with the architectural firm that Council has recently engaged to put forward a redesign draft for the former 'Casa Mia' aged care facility in Inglewood. The proposal is to convert the building into independent or assisted living units. The draft architectural plans will outline potential configurations and costs, which will be essential to enable the Inglewood Aged Care Committee and Council to then source the funding needed to complete the proposed changes ahead of any occupancy.
To remind residents, the committee has narrowed down the proposed use to the concept of 'independent living' rather than the high-care model previously offered at Casa Mia. Not only has it become increasingly evident that the high level of care that was previously offered at the site is simply not viable as a community-operated facility, but the context of available aged care has changed since Casa Mia was first established. (There are now around 30 aged care beds available across Inglewood and Texas provided at our local hospitals). I will provide further updates as they occur.
I'm also pleased to report that Council's ongoing discussions with the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have led to a number of additional officers being stationed at Goondiwindi in recent weeks. Council continues to work consistently and positively with the QPS towards the establishment of a permanent 24-hour police station.
Council's Budget 2022-23 and land valuations
Council is in the final stages of preparation for its Budget for the next financial year. I want to reaffirm to our residents that Goondiwindi Regional Council is in an extremely strong position compared to almost every other local government in the state, as confirmed by the Queensland Audit Office, who found our Council to be financially sustainable in all areas of operating surplus, financial liabilities and asset sustainability. Of course, this does not mean that Council is immune from the rising costs of materials and service delivery, but your local Council officers, my fellow Councillors and I are working to balance those rising expenses against the obligation and desire to limit cost increases to residents.
I have spoken with key representatives of AgForce Queensland who had raised concerns about the potential impacts of the 2022 statutory land valuations. Any individual can lodge an objection and I would encourage interested residents to do so swiftly, as objections must be lodged with the Valuer-General by May 30. For more information, visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/title/valuation/objections/lodge-objections/process
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