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From the Mayor's Desk - 15 May 2017

Over the last fortnight, plenty of meetings, the Geopark proposal progresses and a Mother’s Day walk to raise funds for Breast Cancer.

Tuesday May 2 most Councillors, the General manager and Directors attended a Extraordinary Council Meeting held in Coonabarabran.  All documents requested were provided in confidence, the matters were discussed in confidence and no resolution was determined on Councils dealings with ICAC since the election of this Council in September 2016.

Thursday May 4 a Projects and Finance Committee meeting was held in Coonabarabran and was abandoned due to the lack of a quorum of Councillors.  This is the first time since I have been on Council that a Council Committee meeting has been abandoned.

Friday May 5, I had an early morning meeting with NPWS staff and their Chief Executive Mr. Anthony Lean from the Office of Environment and Heritage at the Mt Woorut lookout on Siding Spring.  Here we discussed the Wambelong Fire, the Dark Sky Park Classification, the Geopark Proposal centered on the National Park and the new Visitor Information Centre which is under construction.

In the mid-morning the General manager Steve Loane and I met with Jock Laurie, the NSW Land and Water Commissioner.  Mr Laurie presented the results of his latest project which is to collate and present the monitoring results for dust, noise, water, blasting and the progression of mine disturbance and rehabilitation for various resource projects in our neighbouring Shires.

While all of this information is publicly available it is currently presented in different formats and has been very difficult for the community to access, locate and then understand.

Monday May 8 the Projects and Finance Committee meeting was rescheduled and Councillors who attended accepted the Quarterly Business Review Statement (QBRS) for the March 3rd Quarter before the Chief Financial Officer presented the Draft 2017/18 budget documents outlining the new fees and charges and a small cash surplus before the external budget submissions were considered.  At the end of the session Councillors had decided to add to the budget a total of $131,500 leading to a cash deficit of $95,500 and an overall surplus of $17,500.

In the late afternoon, most Councillors attended a Delegations Workshop where they gained an understanding of the intricacies of the 88 NSW Government Acts that direct Local Government in NSW.  The responsibility for carrying out the functions directed by these Acts are delegated to the General manager who then sub-delegates to his Directors and other staff through their job descriptions.

Tuesday May 9 in the morning I contacted Mr Chris Yeates the Chairman of State Chief Geologists regarding our proposal for a Geopark Classification over the Shires of Coonamble, Gilgandra and Warrumbungle and centering on the Warrumbungle National Park.  Mr Yeates will be presenting and discussing our proposal with the Department of Planning which will ultimately elevate to the Premiers Department for support to the UNESCO submission.

That evening I attended the Health Council meeting in Coonabarabran.  Again, we were presented with the programme to re-open closed sections of the Coonabarabran Hospital.  This appears to be a long and arduous task to rid the hospital of the effects of mildew created by water entering the building in extraordinary rainfall events earlier in the year.  The upshot of all of this is that some of the planned new services being proposed for the hospital such as Oncology Services and the introduction of a Palliative Area for the hospital with funds raised by the Palliative 4 People Committee are all delayed.

Sunday May 14 Mother’s Day, my wife Julie and I took part in the inaugural Mother’s Day Classic with about 50 people who had the like feeling of raising money for the Breast Cancer Foundation.  We enjoyed the 4km walk which embarrassingly was on some streets I have never walked on before but until near the end we were in front of Nicole Hunter and her children but they had enough to sprint to the finish line in the end.  Hopefully this small start will continue as a major Breast Cancer Fund raiser in our town.

Monday May 15 I attended the Mayors Bushfire Appeal meeting held in Coolah.  At this meeting the four charities responsible for dispersing the funds; St Vincent De Paul Coolah and Dunedoo, the Anglican Church Coolah and the Dunedoo CWA reported on their activities. The Fund now totals close to $200,000.  We also received the content of the Mayors Appeal funds from Upper Hunter Shire which will be preserved for funding requests from that Shire and administered by our staff. The Committee also decided to call a Public meeting in the near future to be held in Uarbry to discuss the way forward for that village and environs.

Till next time.


Last Updated: 22 May 2017