Learning curve for new councillors

Councillors and staff view the newly constructed sewer plant at Batlow during their tour of the region.

A MONTH into his first term as a Tumut Shire councillor, Peter Cross is enjoying the position and embracing all the learning experiences that are being thrown his way.
After attending several pre-election workshops and Division of Local Government meetings to ensure he knew what he was signing up for, Clr Cross said that he’s been quite busy and was enjoying the challenge.
“It is hard work and it has surprised me the amount of reading required,” Clr Cross said. “Everyone is treating the business arising in the way it should be and all the councillors are working well together.”
The first outing offered to the new team of seven was a bus trip around the shire to inspect the current and past works projects of the council.
The tour took in the Meadow Creek Gocup Road upgrade, Adelong Falls, the site for the Adelong Pool, the Batlow Sewerage Plant, Tumut Swimming Pool, the recycling depot and the works being carried out on battered Goobarragandra Road.
Clrs Thomson, Isselmann and Stevenson joined Clr Cross along with the shire’s directors, who were able to shed light upon the various assets and projects.
“The tour gave us the opportunity to become familiarised with what is going on around the shire and with some of the shire’s resources,” Clr Cross said. “The stamper battery at the Adelong Falls looks great and the site for the new pool is brilliant. The tour was well worth going on as it gave us a clear overview on what has been going on around the shire.”
The massive damage and the subsequent repair works that have been occurring along the flood damaged Goobarragandra Road impressed the travellers with the full impact of the treacherous flood grasped by those on the tour.
With a busier than normal meeting schedule in the first month of the new term, due to two extra-ordinary meeting called, the new councillors have had very little time to ease into their roles.
“At this stage I am still finding my feet and reading a lot,” Clr Cross said. “What has impressed me so far is the co-operation and help we get from the council staff, it has been really good.”
This week the schedule has not slowed for Clr Cross as he headed to a Division of Local Government information meeting in Yass on Wednesday and then down to Albury with Ranger and Noxious Weeds officer, Mel Wilkerson, for a noxious weeds advisory meeting.
One of the most challenging parts of the new job far has been juggling personal views, with those of the community and the advice given from the council staff when it comes to decision making.
“You have own views plus representations from the community and then you have to balance them against the professional advice you get from staff,” Clr Cross. “Sometimes it’s just not possible to make the choice you would like to for financial implications, but you try your best.”