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The latest news from the Colac Otway Shire

Cr Woodcroft resigns to focus on Police Youth work

Colac Otway Shire Council Mayor Joe McCracken today confirmed Cr Terry Woodcroft has officially resigned from his role as Councillor, effective from Monday 6 August, 2018.

Mayor McCracken said Cr Woodcroft had decided to resign from Council primarily to focus on his work commitments as Police Youth Officer.

“Terry is committed to his role as Police Youth Officer and the increasing demands of that role, combined with those of local government, were not sustainable in effectively serving in both roles into the future.

“He is a dedicated representative of local government and takes this role in serving his community extremely seriously. On behalf of Council and staff I would like to thank Terry for his service and commitment to our Colac Otway community.

“Terry’s focus and experience regarding youth related issues in our community has been invaluable – we wish him the very best in concentrating his efforts towards his role with Victoria Police,” Cr McCracken said.

Cr Woodcroft said the decision to resign had been made after many months of consideration.

“The most difficult part of this decision was considering the ratepayers who re-elected me to Council in 2016. I sincerely thank these people who placed their faith in me,” he said.

“I have been greatly inspired and often challenged during my five and half years with local government. I have witnessed dedicated service and commitment.”

Cr Woodcroft said he had learned a great deal about the diversity of a Councillor’s work during his time at Colac Otway Shire.

“Christmas Day 2015 brought bushfires to our shire and there were more fires in our neighbouring shire this year,” he said.

“On both occasions, I had the privilege of seeing local government employees and members of this community work together toward a common goal - support and rehabilitation.

“The experience of serving on local government will be invaluable as I concentrate solely on my role as Police Youth Officer. I will continue to encourage our youth to enrol and have their say for the 2020 shire election.

“If you are turning 18 during the next two years, please enrol as soon as you can. I would encourage all those who are already enrolled to exercise the power you have as a voter. Don’t vote informally and research your candidates, ask questions about them and make an informed choice when the time comes,” he said.


More than 70 nominations for Colac Otway Youth Awards recognise outstanding efforts

Eight inspirational young people have been recognised for their achievements and contribution to their community through the 2019 Colac Otway Youth Awards.

The Awards, a joint initiative coordinated by Colac Area Health and Colac Otway Shire, and sponsored by local businesses and community-focused organisations, were presented tonight at a youth-led event at Colac Botanic Café.

Colac Otway Mayor Cr Jason Schram congratulated the nominees and award recipients of the seven categories and acknowledged the work by the organising committee and CAH Youth Engagement Officer Scarlet Cridland.

2019 Colac Otway Youth Award Winners are:

  • Mitchell Hall, who received the Colac Otway Great Mate Award
  • Penny Smith, who received the Colac Otway Sports Award
  • Georgia Howell, who received the Colac Otway Arts Award
  • Grace Gardiner and Eleni Neumann, who received the Colac Otway Environment Award
  • Samara Riley, who received the Colac Otway Community Award
  • Jack Holland, who received the Colac Otway Business Award
  • Tyson Williamson, who received the Colac Otway Inspiration Award

“The Colac Otway Youth Awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise, celebrate and acknowledge the young people in our community and the valuable contribution that they make every day,” Cr Schram said.

“There were more than 70 nominations across the seven award categories this year, with the majority of nominations made by young people.

“This shows the impressive number of young people who are making outstanding contributions in the Colac Otway community.

“This is also a great indication that our young people value these awards and want to recognise the efforts of their peers.

“I’d like to acknowledge the Freeza youth group and the work that members are doing to bring young people together through events and activities in our shire,” he said.

“Colac Otway is proud to sponsor this year’s awards event which has not only recognised the true calibre of our young people across the shire, but also provided a great opportunity for our young performers to showcase their talents.”


Colac Otway Shire Council has enacted its Pandemic Response Plan, which is guiding Council’s delivery of services to the community while prioritising the community’s health during the current COVID-19 situation.

Colac Otway Chief Executive Peter Brown said the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic was rapidly evolving and he was confident that the organisation had the necessary plans in place to respond.

“All decisions are based on the latest advice from the State and Federal Governments,” Mr Brown said.

“Reducing the spread of infection, and protecting the health and safety of Councillors, employees and community is our priority.

“Delivery of essential services to the community is critical, although it is likely there will be some services which will become more essential than others as this unprecedented situation unfolds.

“Council’s Pandemic Influenza Sub Committee is meeting regularly to evaluate and respond to the latest COVID-19 developments and providing updates to Council’s Executive Management Team.

“This morning, the sub-committee was joined via phone link by representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is the pandemic control agency, and Colac Area Health to ensure Council’s actions are in-line with the latest information from health authorities.

“As of today, March 17, all Colac Otway Shire facilities including COPACC, Bluewater, Customer Service Centres, Maternal and Child Health Centres and Visitor Information Centres, remain open. This will be reviewed daily on the advice of DHHS.

“However, social distancing is being advised by government authorities and customers who need to contact Council are strongly encouraged to phone or email Council or go online at if it is not essential to visit a Customer Service Centre.

“COPACC has cancelled today’s Morning Music show because of the older, more vulnerable audience demographic and the large number of bookings which would have forced people to sit closely for more than 90 minutes.

“COPACC was also forced to cancel a children’s show this week after schools cancelled excursions.

“We encourage the community to monitor Colac Otway Shire updates via Council’s website at and Facebook page, and go to the Department of Health and Human Services website at for COVID-19 updates.”

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