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From the Mayor's Desk

13 April 2017

Over the last five weeks the General Manager, Directors, staff and some Councillors have been busy with the Community Strategic Planning (CSP) meetings and the new Disability Inclusion Action Plan which will form part of the new CSP.  Meetings have been held Shire wide but if you missed a meeting then please drop into the Shire Offices and pick up a feedback form or complete the online survey.

Sunday March 5 was the Opening of Seniors Week for 2017.  A good number of Seniors attended the Town Hall in Coonabarabran and were entertained by the Orbital Swing Band before the service conducted by Tony Brain.  We then provided a BBQ to celebrate Seniors Week and the opening of a week of celebrations.  The theme for Seniors Week 2017 was “Let’s do more together”.

Monday March 6 the General Manager, Steve Loane, Councillor Capel and I met with the Governor of NSW David Hurley and his wife Linda in Coolah, with members of the RFS, VRA and Recovery Committee.  At this function, the General Manager and I were able to express our concerns at the way the asbestos problem was being dealt with on the Sir Ivan fire ground.

Tuesday March 7 was the first meeting of the Sir Ivan Mayors Bushfire Fund Committee.  Representatives from St Vincent De Paul Coolah and Dunedoo, CWA Dunedoo, C 4 C Coolah, BlazeAid, the DPI and Warrumbungle Shire attended and initially voted to dedicate $40 thousand to support the BlazeAid volunteers camp in their efforts to rebuild fencing destroyed by the fires.  $10 thousand was allocated for delivery of potable water and $20 thousand for community welfare.

Wednesday March 8 my wife Julie and I accompanied Councillors Todd, Capel, Lewis and the General Manager and Council staff members at the funeral of former Councillor Mark Powell.  Later in the afternoon the General Manager and I met with Dr. Kevin Ruming and Robert Larkings form the Geological Survey of NSW who are involved with a stratigraphic drilling program to determine the coal resource in the Mendooran area. The information gained from this program will determine whether there is a potential coal resource, the quality and the possibility of future development.

Friday March 10 I met with James Walker and his wife Manny and children who would be opening the Coonabarabran Show.  James is a fifth generation grazier and entrepreneur from Longreach in Queensland.  In 2013 he won a Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarship and has developed the Agrihive system, a digital resource encompassing weather forecasting and business metrics for farmers and graziers. My wife Julie met him at an Australian Taxation Office workshop in Queensland and recognized that he is the type of rural leader that our young farmers and graziers in this shire need to associate with.

Saturday March 11 Julie and I worked at the Coonabarabran Show.  Another successful show for 2017.

Sunday March 12 Julie and I attended the Sir Ivan Fire Fund raiser held at the Armatree Hotel.  Around 300 people attended the auction and bid on over 70 items that were donated by the community.  Close to $80 thousand was raised on the day and will be used to buy fencing material for the BlazeAid crews.

Thursday March 16, I attended the Council Meeting held in Coolah. At this meeting, Council determined to provide a subsidy capped at $1000 per property to pay for plant hire to clear road reserves where trees are deemed a threat to new property infrastructure or road users.  Council also determined to contribute to half of the cost of the components for the fencing of Council owned land.  On a final issue, Council determined to stimulate local business by informing them through advertised meetings of what the Council requires or would purchase and how to tender or quote for the Council business.

Tuesday March 21 the General Manager and I attended the Bushfire Management Committee (BFMC) meeting in Gilgandra.  At this meeting, we received a briefing on the Sir Ivan Fire and another report on the poor support from Broadcast Australia on the efforts of the BFMC to create a fire protection zone around the Mount Cenn Cruaich facility.  We also heard that the new Fire Control Centre in Coonabarabran should be officially opened in May 2017.

Thursday March 23, I attended the Traffic Committee meeting in Coonabarabran. There were no recommendations coming from the advertised agenda items.

Friday March 24 the General Manager and I attended the Country Mayors meeting held in Parliament House, Sydney.  We had two interesting presentations the first from Ian Dinham the President of Floodplain Management Australia. He informed us that flood damage is estimated to be $560 million per annum and is predicted to increase to $33 billion by 2050.  The big problem in Australia is that 90% is spent on restoration and only 10% on mitigation.

The second presentation was from Gary White the Chief Planner with the Department of Planning; his was a most intriguing presentation concerning mega trends.  Megatrends is evidenced by major shifts in environmental, social and economic conditions and means that changes are occurring at a faster rate than previously predicted. Opportunities brought about by megatrends included new information technology, consumers being empowered by choice, increase in efficiency and productivity, connectivity and entrepreneurism which allows a community like our Shire to develop a competitive edge in agriculture, freight logistics and tourism.

We also had presentations from the new Minister in the Berejiklian Government the Hon. Melinda Pavey MP Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight and the Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP Minister for the Environment, Minister for Local Government and Minister for Heritage.

Monday March 27, I attended the Community Strategic Planning (CSP) meeting held in Coonabarabran with five fellow Councillors.

Tuesday March 28 in the early morning I attended the CSP meeting held in the Bugaldie Hall with two fellow Councillors.

In the mid-morning,  I chaired the Warrumbungle Pre Aspiring Global Geopark Steering Committee meeting held in Gilgandra.  At this meeting the delegates determined that I should contact the Chairman of RDA seeking their active support to ensure the project is supported by the three levels of Government; also, that the executive meet with the Chairperson of Chief Government Geologists to convince him of the positives of Geopark Tourism.  On a final issue the Linnean Society of NSW is looking to a conference in 2018 to study regeneration after the 2013 fire in the Warrumbungles.

Wednesday March 29 in the late afternoon I attended the CSP meeting held in Baradine with 2 fellow Councillors.

Thursday March 30 in the early morning I attended the Purlewaugh CSP meeting in the Purlewaugh Hall Supper room.

In the mid-morning I chaired the Sir Ivan Fire debrief held in the Town Hall in Coonabarabran where most of the agencies involved in the firefighting effort and the recovery were present.  All of the agencies had a chance to praise and/or criticise the running of the Sir Ivan section 44 fire event and all comments will be considered to improve the running of future events.

Friday March 31, I attended the Goolhi CSP meeting at the Goolhi Hall with two fellow Councillors.

Saturday April 1 my wife Julie and I met up with other Councillors at the Binnaway 100 years of Railway celebrations held at the Binnaway Railway Station and the Showground. A very enjoyable day and a great success for the organisers of this day.

Monday April 10 Councillor Lewis and I attended the Castlereagh Macquarie County Council meeting in Coonabarabran.  This was an excellent meeting with delegates realizing that the playing field has changed with the new Biosecurity Act.  Our field officers will require more training and the whole recording, reporting and funding processes have been changed. At this stage there has been no commitment by the LLS to funding any of the new requirements of the Biosecurity Act.

Till next time.


Last Updated: 11 Apr 2017