Cr Liesbeth Long Wednesday 13 October Welcome Record

Published on 13 October 2021

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I’ve recently returned from a two-week trip away to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary with my husband Andrew. Due to Covid, we were limited to a road trip in our caravan exploring the Murray River, Silo Arts Trail, Grampians and a small western section of the Great Ocean Road.

It was a terrific holiday and even though we were familiar with the area, we saw many sights we had not seen before and had some great people cross our paths.

During our time away we drove through small rural towns and it was great to explore them and perhaps see these town through a different lens, those of a councillor.

For me personally the most appealing characteristic of small-town life is the feature embedded in it’s definition, it’s a small population. With fewer people compared to big regional cities, there often comes a closeness that simply isn’t possible in the anonymity of a larger city.

When neighbours know one another and recognize each other on the street a spirit of cooperation takes hold. Residents support and work together. There’s nothing else like it and from this a culture of community pride develops. I witnessed this time and time again on our trip away. Going into a local bakery and seeing customers greet each other fondly. The person behind the counter calling them by their name.

Elderly people sitting on a bench in the spring sunshine, just watching the world go by. Kids on bikes and scooters riding down the street, without a care in the world.

It made me reflect on how blessed we are in the Central Goldfields Shire, we have this exact essence, this community spirit, right here in Dunolly, Bealiba, Bromley, Betley, Bet Bet, Timor West and all the other hamlets that make up the 627.85 square kilometres of Flynn Ward.

Why is community spirit so important? There is evidence that a strong community spirit can help address health and social inequalities. In areas affected by poverty and other forms of social disadvantage, strong and supportive community relationships have been found to be a buffer against disadvantage.

Community spirit by definition means a willingness and desire to participate in activities that promote a community.

Well, we certainly have this here! 

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