Eyre Peninsula mayors look to 2019

Councils across the Eastern Eyre Peninsula have a busy year ahead of them, with up to $3 million in federal funding set to flow through the Kimba, Cleve and Franklin Harbour districts in the next six months.

Health, infrastructure and managing the fallout of drought conditions are a priority for councils across the area.

Cleve mayor Phil Cameron said projects from the $1 million in federal drought funding would leave much of the council’s resources “pretty tied up” over the first six months, with a June 30 deadline on spending.

Mr Cameron will be moving permanently to Cleve in early April, and said as a new mayor in a council with multiple new members, it was important to speak to the community about their priorities ahead of an update to the council’s strategic plan.

“At the end of the day we’ll probably have to knit ourselves together and work as a team,” he said.

Franklin Harbour mayor Robert Walsh said the $1 million in federal drought funding would be a much-needed boost to a council with few resources.

“We could as soon use another million,” he said.

Mr Walsh praised Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey for encouraging colleague Bridget McKenzie to visit the area and allocate funding for South Australia.

With the railway looking likely to cease operations in 2019, Mr Walsh said he hoped the Lucky Bay port would become a grain transport alternative, encouraging improvement in road infrastructure and mobile reception in the area.

Both the Franklin Harbour and Kimba Districts enter 2019 with no permanent doctor in the town. 

Both Mr Walsh and Kimba mayor Dean Johnson said the search for a permanent GP was a major priority, and strategies were underway.

While Cleve is in a less precarious position, Mr Cameron said health was “always on council’s radar” because any change could leave them in a similar position.

For Kimba, Mr Johnson also outlined establishing an economic development plan as a main focus in early 2019.

The town will be on show in February for the annual EPLGA conference, after what Mr Johnson said had been a “very successful period” for the council in recent times.

“We look forward to sharing our success stories with the other 10 councils in our region,” he said.