It’s was interesting to observe in Switzerland – where I lived for much of the past seven years – the extent to which local government was considered to be the most important level of government for most of the country’s citizens. Now back in Australia, and working in natural resource management in our region, I can see the same critical significance of local government authorities, and the vital role that they play in the health, well-being and future of our communities. Their roles and responsibilities are far more than “rates and rubbish”, they’re more about maintaining and improving vital community services, enhancing economic viability, and sustainable management of our natural environment.
At NACC, we’re fortunate to have close working relationships with local government authorities right across the region, with strong working partnerships with the City of Greater Geraldton for example on a number of fronts, as well as with other shires – from Northampton to Gingin, Carnamah to Dalwallinu. Altogether, there are 15 shires within the NACC NRM region.
In addition to collaborative field projects with many of these shires, we’re also fortunate to have some of our staff hosted: by the Shire of Dandaragan in Jurien Bay, and the Shire of Perenjori. We have just recently added to this list, when we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Shire of Chapman Valley, with which we’ve worked collaboratively on a range of activities for many years.
The new MOU reinforces our joint commitment to a healthy natural environment in the region, upon which the community can build a healthy and prosperous social and economic future. As part of the new agreement, we’ve relocated one of our experienced staff from our head office in Geraldton to the office of the Shire of Chapman Valley in Nabawa. Henceforth, local farmer, and NACC Natural Resource Management Officer (NRMO), Marieke Jansen will be based at the shire offices to work with landholders and community groups to help achieve NACC’s sustainable land stewardship goals for the future.
I commend Chapman Valley Shire President John Collingwood, CEO Maurice Battilana, and the rest of the council and staff of the Shire, for their initiative and offer to host one of our NRMOs, and look forward to many successful collaborations in the future.