As we farewell 2021 and ring in the new year we asked community leaders to reflect on the year that was and their hopes for 2022.
Justin Clancy, Member for Albury
Events so often identify a generation - think of the Depression of the '30s, or the 9/11 generation of the early 2000s. We are living in a moment that will be identified by the COVID pandemic.
So, if COVID identifies this moment, how will it be defined? Throughout the year I have witnessed countless good deeds by many people - those working with our CALD communities, our health workers, our school leaders.
Yes, there are countless challenges and heartaches cast upon us by the pandemic - yet it is our continued support and looking out for one another, and an ongoing strength to meet this adversity that will define us. May we go well in 2022.
Bill Tilley, Member for Benambra
I'm amazed at the strength of our community after two years of COVID struggles.
It's a tribute to everyone that we were able to adapt to an ever-changing set of rules and regulations - the Victorian Border regulations have had 44 separate versions alone, a change every two weeks. We must never forget that businesses, hospitality, health, schools and individuals have suffered great hardship but now we must look to the future and celebrate our successes.
We can't jump at shadows. Nationally we are 91 per cent double dosed, it's time to live with COVID.
I hope 2022 condemns remote learning to the history books, that we never see another Border closure, community sport plays out the season, health workers get a break, that we support local businesses, pump up our tourism and end the vax mandates for all but the most vulnerable.
Sussan Ley, Member for Farrer
As we see off the challenges again thrown at us this year, I want to take this opportunity to wish you a happy holiday period.
With travel restrictions finally easing, it's been great to get back across my electorate over the last month or so - and equally exciting seeing tourists and travellers back out and about along the border.
Where you can locally shop, stop, visit or stay...please do, as it benefits all of us.
While my electorate office will be closed between Christmas and New Year, I'll be on-call for any critical issues or emergencies during this time.
Stay safe - indoors, and out - and here's to a better, brighter 2022.
Helen Haines, Member for Indi
As we start a new year, it is traditionally a time of hope, of looking forward and making plans for the year ahead.
It is also a time of reflection. While 2021 was difficult in so many ways, we can look back on the year we have just experienced with pride and gratitude. We saw our health teams, our social services, our businesses, our schools, and the young and old alike faced the challenges of the year with courage and determination.
It is that capacity to work together and to reach out to others, that will enable us to rise up and meet whatever opportunities and challenges lay ahead.
I wish you all safety, health and happiness in 2022.
Happy New Year!
Kevin Poulton, Wodonga Council Mayor
None of us need to be reminded that 2021 was another challenging year.
Ahead of 2022, I hope that everyone gets a moment to stop and spend time with those that cherish their company.
I'm hoping we can stay optimistic heading into 2022 and that we see a return being able to safely gather, celebrate and connect with each other.
I take great pride when people approach me to say how wonderful the city is presented and hear the opportunities Wodonga residents are provided each day.
As a council, we look forward to continuing to deliver great outcomes for our community with another busy year ahead and we look forward to hearing from them on what can make our city better and what is important to them.
Heather Wilton, Greater Hume Shire Mayor
After two very tough years we can look forward to the new year with some optimism with the very high COVID vaccination rates right across our cross border region.
We have many businesses in Greater Hume, which rely on the travelling public, and I am sure they will look forward to a greatly improved level of traffic over the holiday period and into next year. The current spike in COVID cases provides an ideal opportunity to stay a little closer to home and explore our own backyard rather than travelling to holiday destinations interstate.
On behalf of Councillors, I extend a Happy New Year in 2022, to all of our residents. Please travel safely over the holiday period.
Frank Zaknich, Albury Council chief executive
Adversity sometimes brings out the best in us, and if there was one silver lining to our COVID-troubled 2021, it was our community spirit that shone during the hard months of lockdown and restrictions.
We're grateful to our community for working with council and each other to overcome the challenges and place us in a good position to deliver some exciting improvements next year.
Among them are signature projects such as the Riverside Precinct, the Wagirra Trail extension and the Wonga Wetlands Experience Centre - significant additions to our city that we hope will herald a better, brighter 2022 for us all.
Bernard Gaffney, Indigo Shire Mayor
A year for patience and understanding. To care for and look after one another. We all had to adapt and find ways to stay connected with family, friends and community.
We end the year with hope for a better 2022. Our vaccination rates are high. We feel like we have turned the corner. A lot of our businesses rely on tourism. With lockdowns and border closures many did it really tough.
Coming out of it we have become more resilient and innovative. We appreciate what we have and what we have achieved. We are very fortunate to live where we live.
Dean Rees, Rural City of Wangaratta Mayor
As we say goodbye to 2021, I recall the hopes we had for the year just gone.
Optimism for 2021 was met with challenges, but together we stood strong, as rural communities do in a crisis.
I'm proud to say that Wangaratta's double dose vaccination rate has passed 95 per cent as many people get their third jab.
In 2021 the community supported our quality local businesses in the face of staff shortages and vaccination checks. I ask people to continue to be kind to each other as we navigate this pandemic in 2022.
On behalf of myself and the Rural City of Wangaratta, best wishes for 2022.
Together we will get through this.
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