Audit warning may affect shire budget

SHIRE of Toodyay has been officially warned of a significant adverse trend in its financial position.

The warning by independent auditors Moore Stephens (left) says key performance measurements in shire financial reports have failed to meet State Government audit standards for the past three years.

“In our opinion, there is a significant adverse trend in the financial position of the shire,” Moore Stephens auditor Wen-Shien Chai wrote in a management report addressing legal and regulatory requirements published on the last page of the shire’s latest annual report.

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Turmoil over shock sacking

MP slams ‘gut-wrenching blow’ as local ambo chief axed after raising operational frustrations at forum

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

TOODYAY ambulance volunteers are in turmoil over the shock dismissal last month of local leader Charlie Wroth (left).

Mr Wroth, who was awarded a prestigious St John Ambulance Cross (pictured) for “outstanding service” by WA Governor Kim Beazley at Perth’s Government House in April and is also a Toodyay Fire Control Officer, was sacked after allegations that he made “disparaging” remarks about ambulance service administration at a Northam emergency services forum held in July.

St John’s head office dumped Mr Wroth as Toodyay sub-branch chair, cancelled his 39-year volunteer membership and locked him out of the town’s Stirling Terrace ambulance depot that he helped build 11 years ago.

Local volunteers were not told why their widely respected leader was sacked, and Mr Wroth was “reminded” by St John that he was bound by an “obligation of confidentiality” not to tell anyone what happened.

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Ten years since catastrophic inferno

Toodyay ablaze at the height of the devastating December 2009 bushfire in which 38 homes were destroyed.

Toodyay Historical Society
Robyn Taylor

THOSE of us who lived in Toodyay at the time are painfully aware 29 December 2019 marks 10 years since Toodyay experienced a catastrophic bushfire.

According to a report on the recovery process, prepared as a power-point presentation to Fire Emergency Services Association by the local recovery coordinator in 2010, 38 homes were destroyed, more than 70 were severely damaged and another 100 homes suffered some damage.

Sheds and other structures were also lost or affected by the fire that burnt nearly 3000ha of land.

There was massive media coverage, not just across Australia but also overseas and as a result Toodyay was overwhelmed with goodwill.

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Call to dump five shire CEOs to form new Avon Valley Council

THE TOODYAY Shire Council and its neighbours should be axed to form a single new Avon Valley Council to save ratepayers’ money, a WA Parliamentary Select Committee has heard.

Legislative Council MPs were told that merging up to nine local shire councils into a single new local government authority would probably save the equivalent of all the rates paid in Toodyay, budgeted to total $6.54 million this year after a 2.5 per cent increase.

A 61-page submission by former Toodyay Progress Association chair Larry Graham (above) also called for a major rewrite of local government law, a parliamentary ombudsman to handle complaints and stronger powers for councillors to speak publicly about council matters.

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Council starts hunt for new CEO as shire awaits inquiry result

Michael Sinclair-Jones

TOODYAY’S recently elected shire council has started looking for a new Chief Executive Officer.

It follows a controversial backflip by the former council in July to give current CEO Stan Scott (right) a 2.5 per cent pay rise to stay another year after voting only two months earlier not to renew his contract.

The new council voted 6-3 behind closed doors last month to call tenders for a CEO recruitment consultant based on ‘scope of services, experience, personnel and pricing’.

Mr Scott was authorised to report to the next council meeting at 4pm on Tuesday December 17 with specifications for hiring a consultant to help select his replacement.

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Voters demand change

Toodyay’s new shire council at its first meeting last month: President Bill Manning (top table, second from right) next to Deputy President Rosemary Madacsi. Front table, from left: Crs Susan Pearce, Phil Hart, Beth Ruthven, Brian Rayner, Ben Bell and Therese Chitty (Cr Paula Greenway absent on approved leave). Executive Assistant Maria Rebane and Shire CEO Stan Scott are seated next to President Manning. Seated separately on the right: Shire Community Services Manager Audrey Bell and Planning and Development Manager Kobus Nieuwoudt.

New president elected as shire awaits outcome of
State Government inquiry


By Michael Sinclair-Jones
NEW SHIRE President Bill Manning says he is confident all members of a radically altered Toodyay council elected last month can “work together as a united team”.

His statement followed the swearing in of four new councillors after a big turn-out of local voters backed a united call for change.

President Manning and Cr Ben Bell were also sworn in after retaining their seats with a similar reform agenda at the October 19 WA local government elections.

The new-look council signals a major shift in policy direction after years of division and rancour.

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Duke Street footbridge re-opens after 18 month closure

From left: Shelagh and Don Garratt, and Karen and Luigi Jacomelli use the re-opened Duke Street footbridge that links two parts of Toodyay separated by the busy east-west railway line.

TOODYAY’S Duke Street footbridge has re-opened a year after it was closed amid threats to demolish it over safety concerns.

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New video security system doubles town surveillance

A workman (right) installs a new shire video security camera near the Victoria Hotel.

A NEW video security upgrade costing more than $300,000 is expected to become operational in Toodyay this month.

New monitors at Toodyay Police Station will enable 24-hour surveillance of the town’s approach roads, public spaces and main business and shopping areas.

A new network of 41 cameras owned and operated by the Shire of Toodyay will more than double the capacity of the old network, which has been dismantled.

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Toodyay apple pies judged Australia’s best

TOODYAY’S local bakery had its best result ever, scoring four gold and three silver medals at last month’s Great Aussie Pie Competition in Sydney.

Pastry chef Jodi Johnston’s cinnamon swirl crust on her apple pie made it stand out from the crowd.

Toodyay baker Jason Marion said he was extremely proud of his team, which uses local produce wherever possible.

Their award-winning pastries, cakes and bread helped attract visitors to Toodyay and boost trade for other Avon Valley small businesses, he said.

Toodyay Bakery’s first-year apprentice Olivia Jarquin (left) and pastry chef Jodi Johnston bake a fresh batch of their national award-winning apple pies.

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