A message from the Chief Executive Officer

(from the 2017 – 2021 Regional Plan for the MacDonnell Regional Council)

As MacDonnell Regional Council enters its tenth year, we continue to deliver valued and relevant services to our constituents. Through our Local Authorities we continue listening to the voice of the people.

The role Local Authorities play, informing Council of priorities for each community, continues to mature. They have grown in self-assurance and experience, having already delivered on a substantial number of community development projects across the region. Our Local Authorities are keen to promote the next generation of community leaders.

Through the development of Youth Boards by our MacYouth team, Council continues to engage that generation. With about half our population under 25 years of age this work is crucial. Council will continue to explore options and opportunities for meaningful engagement of young people in the affairs of local government and their communities.

Along with other councils, MacDonnell Regional Council continues to face serious challenges to our revenue, cost shifting from other levels of government, and increased service expectations from our constituents.

We acknowledge the importance of Federal funding through the Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) program to support the continued delivery of services and infrastructure. We applaud the decision by the Federal Government to end the three year freeze on indexation to FAGs. Council will continue to engage with Federal Government departments to ensure our highly valued community services are adequately funded, including the ever increasing cost of administration.

Council congratulates the Northern Territory Government on its 2017 budget investment in the future of the bush by committing funds to remote housing, jobs, regional infrastructure and assistance to develop remote Aboriginal businesses and enterprises. Council is convinced that the future of every community lies in the imagination, intelligence and resource of its constituents. We will work closely with all stakeholders to assist regional development opportunities that move residents from welfare dependency to real jobs in remote communities.

Council continues to operate in an environment of increasing competition for the delivery of commercial and contract services. We are extremely proud to have kept operational costs under control despite the economic climate. This has kept us on target for our goal of 80% local Aboriginal employment. Council continues to invest funds in capital replacement and this Regional Plan has allocated $1.6m to plant and vehicle replacement. Rates for 2017/18 will rise by a restrained 3% as will our Fees and Charges.

With the Local Government elections in August marking the completion of the current term, I acknowledge the inspirational leadership and dedication of our serving elected councillors. They all shouldered the duties and responsibilities of the 16 month extension of their term, regardless of the impact on their personal lives. I look forward to working with the newly elected Council to continue delivering on our vision of many voices, one dream, building a quality desert lifestyle.

Through Council’s strong visionary guidance, feedback from our Local Authorities, responsible fiscal policy and quality management, supported by our dedicated staff, MacDonnell Regional Council is ready to deliver on the contents of this Regional Plan.

Jeff MacLeod
Chief Executive Officer
MacDonnell Regional Council