Re-elected mayor off to Canberra to seek university funding
CR Brett Tessari will fly to Canberra tomorrow (Thursday) to advocate for a university presence in Bass Coast Shire, after being re-elected mayor this afternoon.
He will meet with Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan in a final bid to secure $2 million in federal funding for a university centre in the shire.
The centre will provide a study space for students in the shire completing online degrees, with access to administrative support, online lectures and support from other students.
The centre would be part of the Country University Centre based in New South Wales and is needed in the shire to help boost tertiary study rates locally and expand employment local employment options.
Limited public transport to universities in Melbourne is expected to be another factor in Bass Coast’s favour when being assessed for funding, with applications to close later this month.
“(The project) will not only help Bass Coast but the whole region. It will help South Gippsland Shire, it will help as far down as Cardinia Shire. The kids that don’t want to go to Melbourne will be able to come here,” Cr Tessari said.
“That’s a really important project and high on my agenda.”
Cr Tessari will be assisted by new deputy mayor Cr Geoff Ellis of Western Port Ward. Both men were elected unopposed.
Cr Tessari, who represents Bunurong Ward, said council would continue to advocate to state and federal politicians to finish the work council has done so well for the last three years.
The included addressing erosion across shire, namely at Inverloch and Cowes, after council received $1.5m from the Federal Government and $1.5m from the State Government.
“We need to turn that money into something on the beaches to stop the erosion problems,” he said.
The mayor promised council would continue to upgrade recreation facilities in all sports across the shire, “to encourage not only kids to get outside and participate in sport, but also to encourage the older people like myself and the middle aged to get outside and enjoy sports as well.”
In reflecting upon his first term as mayor, Cr Tessari said he was proud of council’s investment in recreation facilities across the shire, with tennis court improvements to come at Inverloch and Wonthaggi, netball court upgrades at Bass, Inverloch and Cowes, and pavilion upgrades at Cowes, Dalyston and Inverloch.
Council also opened skate parks at Corinella and Cowes.
Cr Tessari said council would work with the community and stakeholders on formulating a plan to address the climate emergency council declared in September.
He noted the Cowes Cultural Centre overhaul “represents a $19m investment from council and will create an incredible facility for Phillip Island and the broader Bass Coast community.”
“It is a long-awaited project and it represents our single biggest investment in a project to date,” he said.
By 2035, the shire’s population is projected to grow by 37 per cent and this will place significant pressure on residential availability in the shire.
“It is critical that this is managed in a way that encourages growth in our regional centres and protects our coastal hamlets,” he said.
The mayor said this year’s mayoral fundraiser raised more than $15,000 for the YES youth hub to open in Wonthaggi and also praised outgoing deputy mayor Cr Bruce Kent for his service over the past 12 months.
He also noted the recruitment of new CEO Ali Wastie after the retirement of Paul Buckley.
Other achievements were: Bourne Creek bridge repairs and the, declaration of the shire as a Distinctive Area and Landscape, which Cr Tessari said was further recognition that “Bass Coast is a beautiful place to live and to visit.”
The new mayor was praised by other councillors for his integrity and dedication. Even his mum Glenda Tessari was teary at his re-election.
At the meeting, Ms Wastie noted the passing of inaugural Bass Coast mayor Cr Don Cameron on November 9.
He was a councillor for the former Shire of Phillip Island from 1980-83, and served as a councillor with Bass Coast Shire Council from 1997-2000. He was mayor from 1997-98.
Mr Cameron received an Order of Australia Medal in 2013 for his service to local government, conservation and the environment, and the community, mainly through Lions International.
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