Council News, 14 March 2013

Media Release - Council News
Release: Thursday 14 March 2013

There have been a number of reports in the media recently concerning the possibility of Local Government Amalgamations occurring.  Last Wednesday evening Councillors were invited to attend the Oberon Business Association Meeting and during this meeting I took the opportunity to speak to the members regarding Council's position against forced amalgamations.

I believe the impact of being amalgamated with a larger regional centre would be disastrous for the Oberon Local Government Area.  Groups and organisations such as the Oberon Business Association, Oberon Plateau Tourism Association and other community groups currently work collaboratively with Council to produce great outcomes for the local area and I am fearful that this would not continue if we were part of a larger regional centre.

Council has strived for many years to have stronger relationships with the community and in particular with the village and rural areas in the shire.  I believe we have made excellent progress in recent times with a greater focus on consultation and far less confrontation.

In last week's Oberon Review I referred to an informal meeting that the General Manager and I attended with the Mayors and General Managers of Bathurst and Lithgow Councils. Council will continue to have discussions with our neighbouring Council's to seek a suitable Governance model for the future.

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On Friday 22 March 2013, the Oberon Public School will host a special event.  The Distance for a Difference Tour 2013 will come through Oberon as part of the 615km ride they are undertaking to raise funds for the Day of Difference Foundation.  

The Day of Difference Foundation was established in 2004 by Ron and Carolyn Delezio after their daughter Sophie was critically injured in a tragic and highly publicised accident. The Foundation is the only charity in Australia working in the field of children's critical injury.

There will be opportunities for children from Oberon Public School's bike group to ride with the Tour and the tour will stop at the School to give a short talk to students.  I am extremely pleased that the tour will visit Oberon and I looking forward to seeing the riders come into the School.  For further information about the Day of Difference Foundation and the Tour please visit www.dayofdifference.org.au.

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There has been some very pleasing news with Council's investments during the past two weeks.   Council was very pleased when with little forewarning, the sum of $494,877 was deposited in Council's Bank Account.  This represented the redemption of the Lehman Brothers Zircon/Coolongatta CDO which had been valued at $0 in Council's Investments Portfolio for over two years.

The initial sum invested was $500,000 and coupon payments (interest), although suspended in 2011, have totalled $125,358.  In summary, Council invested $500,000 with a net return of $120,235.  Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that Council now has an addition $494,877 to spend as the money received will be allocated proportionately to the Reserves from which funds were deducted when the Investment was written off.  The event does, however, confirm that Council's previous decision to retain the CDO's until maturity or redemption in lieu of the option to sell at a substantially discounted rate has, to date, resulted in a positive result for the community.

This news was shortly followed by the delivery of the judgment by the Federal Court of Australia on 1 March 2013 in relation to damages awarded subsequent to the proceedings against Local Government Financial Services Pty Ltd (LGFS) for losses incurred as a result of the Rembrandt CPDO investment.

The Court has found that:

1.    Council is entitled to $933,225.83 damages for the loss in the principal amount invested,
2.    Council is entitled to pre-judgment interest at the rate of 4% above the Reserve Bank cash rate from the date of the cash out of the Rembrandt Notes, 24 October 2007, to the date of the final orders,
3.    Post-judgment interest will accrue from 21 February 2013 until the date on which payment is received, and
4.    Council is entitled to costs on an ordinary basis.

No determination has yet been made by the Court in relation to the sum to be awarded in respect of costs, however this is again a very pleasing result for the Council and the Oberon community.
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A reminder that a Seniors Week Luncheon will be held at the Oberon RSL Club on Friday 22 March 2013, commencing at 12 noon.  A Barber Shop Quartet and a Professional Storyteller will provide entertainment on the day and lunch will be served by Hospitality students from Oberon High School and St Joseph's Catholic School.  Entry is free and all Seniors from the Oberon Shire are welcome to come along and enjoy the day.

Councillor John McMahon
Mayor

ENDS