Christmas spirit was on display in Ararat, as the community gathered to raise money for the Ararat West Primary School.
Losing part of the school in a fire was a tragedy and a shock to everyone. However, since then, we have had an outpouring of support from across our region.
Ararat Secondary College donated classrooms and equipment to keep things going as smoothly as possible for the students and staff of Ararat West Primary School.
The recent fundraiser was a fantastic event; well done to the organisers who worked hard to attract a big crowd and organise such a first-class fundraiser.
Comedian Dave O'Neil revved up the crowd and, despite being the butt of most of the jokes, Principal Terry Keilar was no doubt happy to see $16,000 being raised on the night.
In Stawell, the big news is the change of ownership of the Stawell Gold Mine to Melbourne-based Arete Capital Partners. As an exploration company looking for gold on the so-far undeveloped eastern flank, I join the entire community in wishing them an early and significant strike. To see mining resume there after the previous owners felt they had no option but to go into care and maintenance would be an enormous boon for Stawell. I will be working with the company to assist them to gain any permits needed and support available.
We also need to move forward on the stalled Western Highway Duplication.
The Andrews’s Government needs to get on with building this, while the project has lain dormant more fatal accidents continue to occur on this dangerous stretch of road. The planning permit must be reissued before Christmas if there is to be any hope at all of the roadworks occurring this road building season as the Roads Minister promised in this paper recently.
Landholders are being left in limbo as they wait for their property to be divided. Local contractors and businesses are losing money as they miss out on key work.
While the Buangor to Ararat section has stalled, the Andrew’s Government still refuses to move on and build the other sections of this duplication. The communities from Buangor to Stawell should not be forced to wait any further for action.
As this is also my final column for this year, I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year; I hope you have a fantastic time filled with good food, family, fun and laughter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.