Pankhurst elected Campaspe mayor

NEW Shire of Campaspe mayor Neil Pankhurst says dealing with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, the Regional and Rural Use Strategy and the council’s rating strategy will be three key issues in his mayoral term. Cr Pankhurst, a Tongala dairy farmer, was unanimously elected on Wednesday night, with outgoing mayor Peter Williams to serve as his deputy.He is a life member of the Tongala Apex Club, chairman of Tongala and District Financial Services, and a member of the Yambuna Fire Brigade, Tongala RSL, and Richmond Football Club.He was first elected to the council in 2008, and has served the past year as deputy mayor. Cr Pankhurst said he was honoured to be entrusted with the role of mayor, and identified two major projects as priorities: refurbishing the Port of Echuca and building a new regional library in Echuca.“Completing this year’s capital works program is also important with many projects already under way across the shire, including refurbishment of the Tongala Community Hub, Lockington pavilion upgrade, Corop community centre upgrade, as well as our annual road resheeting and resealing programs,’’ he said.“It would be an understatement to say the year ahead will be busy and I am determined to work hand-in-hand with the community and communicate not just the good news but also the challenges we are facing.’’Cr Pankhurst said while strategies did not “get things done”, it was vital the council got its strategic planning right as it set the framework for the rollout of projects. He said the Regional and Rural Use Strategy, developed by Campaspe and Moira shire councils and the City of Greater Shepparton, was a framework on how the councils identified and protected land for agriculture and housing.Cr Pankhurst said encouraging investment to benefit the entire region was another of his aims.“It is important not to confuse short-term advantage with long-term impact,’’ he said.Portfolios were also allocated to councillors at the meeting: Commercial and corporate, Crs Peter Williams and Marion Riley; Service, Crs Neil Repacholi and Greg Toll; Strategy, Crs Kevin Simpson and Judith O’Farrell; Assets, Crs Frank Oliver and Carol Howell.