Tallarook-based lawyer sees plenty of scope for improvement.By Chalpat Sonti
She might be new in the role — and the town — but the president of Nagambie’s main business group has plenty of fresh ideas to tackle her task.
Jacqueline Brauman was elected unopposed as Nagambie Lakes Tourism and Commerce president at the group’s annual meeting recently, succeeding Tony Barber. The Tallarook-based Ms Brauman bought Rod Theobald’s Nagambie law practice late last year.
The wife of an Australian Defence Force member, her family were posted back here after being in NSW, but she is more than familiar with the region, having worked at Tehan George and Co’s Seymour law practice previously.
‘‘We love central Victoria,’’ she said.
‘‘(Puckapunyal’s) here and it’s close to Melbourne but far enough away .
Nagambie had a ‘‘perfect location’’ on the lake, the closest one to Melbourne.
She saw the bypass as an opportunity.
‘‘There’s a fair bit of negativity around it but I don’t think it’s a negative thing,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s an opportunity for Nagambie to become more of a gourmet destination rather than a fast-food takeaway pitstop.
‘‘There’s going to be a fair bit of change, the town still has to have the main street redevelopment and so businesses will turn over and there are a lot of empty shops as well. We want to encourage a fair bit of diversity.’’
Ms Brauman said the principal aim for NLTC in the near-term was to look at what its main priorities were.
‘‘A lot of businesses are struggling and don’t have anyone to talk to or support them,’’ she said.
‘‘That’s what this group can do. I’m not necessarily looking initially for active participants — if we’ve got a good committee that’s doing things, you don’t need huge involvement, which can become a negative.
‘‘If the group starts doing positive things (members) will come.’’
That included such things as timing of meetings.
‘‘Meetings at 6.30
Hayley Purbrick will continue as secretary, with assistance from Martin Cole, with Don Van de Pol remaining treasurer. Michelle Ward will assist in that role.
Mr Barber was thanked by Ms Purbrick for his work with NLTC.
‘‘If Tony hadn’t put his hand up (last year) it would have been all over,’’ she said.
Ms Ward, who has been running the New Year’s Eve fireworks, said she had ‘‘copped two years of abuse’’ from locals and businesses.
‘‘I’m not prepared to put up with it any more,’’ she said.
‘‘Two years ago what happened was when the park wasn’t cordoned off I got abusive phone calls and emails, and last year there was more abuse from other traders. One trader swore at me and said they weren’t giving money to something seen as being a council-run event.
‘‘It’s not a council-run event, not a single cent went into it from council. The people who come are fantastic, I know people who come from Melbourne each year. It’s the people who should be supporting it (locals) more than anyone else (who are abusive).’’
Discussion at the meeting raised the issue of tapping the same businesses for support for the event each year. Ms Purbrick said part of the NLTC membership fee could be quarantined for the fireworks.
Ronda Richards said she believed townspeople should be asked for a donation.
Ms Purbrick said the centre, staffed by volunteers, should be open on weekends if it was to be open.
‘‘I haven’t seen the shire go out to recruit people,’’ she said.
Mr Cole said no information was forthcoming from Strathbogie Shire Council ‘‘about anything’’.
Ms Ward said the lack of communication was a consistent theme.
‘‘They know what’s going on but it’s like ‘don’t worry about Nagambie, we’ll leave them in the dark’,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s just not fair. They’re supposed to be there to support people who pay rates.’’
The information centre was supposed to be a ‘‘class one’’ facility, meaning it should be open 365 days a year.
‘‘At the moment there’s a notice on the door (when closed) handballing them to (Nagambie Motor Inn owner Mr Barber) or myself,’’ Ms Ward said.
‘‘A lot of people are saying why do they have an information centre if it isn’t open.’’
Volunteers at the centre were ‘‘getting a bit jack of the business community not doing anything’’.
‘‘They all appear to be newcomers. I think we need to address that before they call it quits.’’
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