Northampton Shire Update: Shop Local

May 2023Community, Stories

Written by Liz Sudlow.

May already… this signals the month when Andrew Campbell, our new CEO will begin his tenure on the 22nd. This will mark almost nine months where we have been without a permanent CEO at the helm. I would like to sincerely thank the staff at the Shire who have stepped up and sideways to ensure that operations have continued as smoothly as possible. This has been a period of significant change and challenge for the staff and I thank them for the commitment they have given to our local communities.

I’m glad to have the two-year mark of the cyclone behind us. In the period before, I was quietly telling myself, “I’m OK. We’re OK. It takes a long time to recover and that’s OK.” I generally try not to watch the TV news anymore, but I did see some footage of residents living in less-than-ideal conditions post Seroja and I found myself in tears. By the end of Tuesday 11th April, I felt mentally exhausted and relieved the day was over.

Like many others, I was also nervously interested in the path of Cyclone Ilsa, who very inconveniently chose the 11th April to transform from a tropical low into a cyclone. I saw photos of Pardoo Roadhouse and Station a few days later and felt sick. The two-year anniversary made me realise it’s important to be kind to yourself and appreciate that sometimes our tough exterior is only skin deep. It’s important to take time if and when we need to – that’s OK.

The news that our Shire will receive $900,000 in state government funding is welcome, although in my view not nearly enough to repair the damage done and build resilience across the vast area of our shire.

I am loathed to compare local governments, but I do question how the allocation of funds was decided upon, given the cyclone caused devastation to both towns and across much of the shire. Never-the-less, we will spend the money as wisely as we can.

From the end of June, DFES Community Officers, Dept of Communities and Red Cross will no longer be at the hubs in Northampton and Kalbarri. A DFES Community Recovery Officer based in Coorow will continue to support the area.

Last Friday Deputy President Horstman and myself met with Joanne Loftus, our local pharmacist and her hard-working staff. She indicated that in the forthcoming federal budget, the dispensing time for medications will increase from the current 30 days to 60 days. Whilst on the face of this, it presents like a reasonable cost saving measure for the government, it will mean that regional, independently owned pharmacy businesses are likely to lose significant revenue. It will challenge small businesses to keep larger stocks of medicines on hand, possibly cause supply chain issues and very importantly from a safety perspective, will increase the risk of medicine management by the potential hoarding of medicines in homes and the increased risk of overdosing. I also spoke to Mohammed and Yung from the Kalbarri Pharmacy who were particularly concerned about mismanagement and wastage of meds.

I mention this to encourage you to support your local pharmacy. Both businesses are independently owned and rely on local support to keep them viable. It would be devastating if either of these businesses were forced to close. To find out how you can help, talk to your pharmacist. Finally, don’t forget your ticket for the Kalbarri Gala on Sat 20th May.

My best wishes for a fantastic event.

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