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Somerset Regional Council Meeting Highlights - 10 June 2020

Published: 10th June 2020

Biosecurity Plan Adopted by Council to Manage Pests

Somerset Regional Council has approved a Biosecurity Plan to tackle the spread of invasive plants and animals in the region.

Council’s Biosecurity Plan – Invasive Plants and Animals 2020-2025, which was developed in consultation with key stakeholders and the community, details 35 strategic actions to be achieved during the life of the plan and aligns with the states Pest Management Strategy. Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the plan has been designed to ensure resources are targeted towards high priority biosecurity risks in the region.

“Weeds and pest animals (invasive plants and animals) are well recognised as having significant impacts on the economy, social amenity, human health and the environment,” Cr Lehmann said.

“While local governments play a key role in the management of the biosecurity risks posed by invasive plants and animals, the Biosecurity Act 2014 places an obligation on all Queenslanders to manage these risks.”

Council will roll out various programs to assist landholders in meeting their general biosecurity obligation

A copy of the plan is available at: www.somerset.qld.gov.au.

Ekka Show Holiday to Remain Status Quo for Somerset

Somerset Regional Council has decided to keep its EKKA show holiday on Monday, 10 August 2020.

Council was given the option to apply for a change of date after Brisbane City Council had its show holiday moved from Wednesday, 12 August to Friday, 14 August to help stimulate the tourism sector with an extra-long weekend.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the change to Brisbane’s show holiday would benefit Somerset.

“We encourage Somerset residents to enjoy a long-weekend in Somerset and support local businesses in their own backyard and we then welcome Brisbane residents to visit Somerset for their long-weekend and enjoy the simple pleasures of the great outdoors,” Cr Lehmann said.

“We have so much to offer in Somerset from our beautiful dams, to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trial which you can walk, ride or cycle, our many cafes and much more.

“We are hopeful we will get more traffic in Somerset due to the public holidays that fall on the Monday (for Somerset residents) and Friday (for Brisbane residents) and this will help bolster our local businesses that have been hit hard by COVID”.

Increase in Funding Provided to Rural Fire Brigades

After a horror fire season, Somerset Regional Council has agreed to a 42% increase in its rural fire levy.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the change would support hard-working firefighters to do what they do best.

“We have considered the funding request of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and we will include a Rural fire levy of $35.60 for 2020/2021 to make sure that our volunteer rural fire brigades have the resources they need to protect our community,” Cr Lehmann said.

“The rural fire levy increase is offset by Council’s low 1% increase in owner occupied residential rates announced as part of our budget.”

“I am sure the community will understand that our volunteer rural fire brigades need ongoing support - Including new members as well as financial support.”

Council Introduces Local Preference Mechanism

Somerset Regional Council has revised its procurement policy to provide for a 10% local preference mechanism when considering tenders for standing arrangements.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said, “Some of our largest contracts are panel arrangements where we set fixed prices with suppliers by tender.”

“These can be for supplies like plant hire, gravel, mowing, bitumen spraying, traffic control and other million-dollar contracts.

“Council obviously does not call quotes each time we hire an item of road plant with an operator.

“This change will help support local business while making sure that we still have efficient and accountable purchasing systems and logistics.”

NB: Somerset Regional Council held its council meeting at Esk at 9am and its budget meeting at midday on Wednesday, 10 June 2020. 

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