The container that I have brought along today is one of the items in the evacuation briefcase. It contains a number of historic items that are very special to me:
The first badge is the membership for the Wollert and District Youth Club which I joined when I was 14. The club only had two rules; Rule 1. We do not discriminate against anybody based on race, colour or creed. Rule 2. There are no more rules. The club was the oldest in the Victorian Associated Youth Clubs at that time.
The second badge with the VAYC logo on it is the Keystone Award, which I received in 1966 at the age of 18, for my work with youth in the community. The Keystone Award was the highest award in the VAYC and awarded for exceptional work for youth in the community. The container is the one that this award came in, and it has never been removed from its case.
The next badge is my old Keon Park Technical School badge. The moto is ‘diligence and integrity’. I was indeed fortunate to have attended this school, as many of our trade teachers were tradesmen who had returned from WW2 and decided not to go back on the tools, but took up teaching. This was very special for the students, as these teachers did not learn everything they knew from a text book, but had firsthand experience in the workplace and could relay tips and tricks that they had experienced firsthand.
The final item in the collection is the medallion from my days as a Shire Councillor on the Shire of Kilmore for six years, 1979 -1981 and 1985 -1987. I should point out that during my first term as a Councillor; I was also managing one of the largest Kenworth Truck dealerships in Australia at Footscray. During my second term I was the owner/operator of a Mitre10 store in North Essendon. I was also on the board of Mitre10 Southern Pty. Ltd. which was at that time, the store owner operated co-operative that controlled the Mitre10 organisation. The controlling interest in Mitre10 is now held by Metcash.
On joining the Shire of Kilmore Council, I was elected Chairman of all of the sub-committees, with the exception of Town Planning. It was deemed inappropriate to have a monopoly. In the initial period there were some financial and operational irregularities detected and the result of this was that the Shire Secretary and the Shire Engineer were both subsequently dismissed, and a CEO appointed. Kilmore was the first municipality in Victoria to take this step.
The CEO was appointed on a performance contract, and this process was later extended to all senior Council employees. I was involved in introducing a Development Infrastructure Levy which came about after ratepayers had to cover the cost of upgrading supporting infrastructure, following a number of residential developments within the shire. The levy ensured that the developers covered these costs, not the ratepayers.
I also introduced ‘program budgeting’, or cost/benefit analysis, which was a program designed to give Councillors full details and financial impacts of projects/programs both for the initial cost, the ongoing costs, life expectancy of the project, and the number of ratepayers/residents who benefited. We were criticised on a number of occasions for not taking up Government Grants. When assessed, these grants were for short term political gain and would not meet Kilmore Council’s long term cost sustainability targets.