Council News, 30 Oct 2014

Article for Council Page – Oberon Review 
Council News – Thursday 30 October 2014

Last week, General Manager Alan Cairney and I attended the Local Government NSW Annual Conference in Coffs Harbour. This year’s conference was very well attended by over 500 delegates and observers. However the conference was bogged down by far too many visiting speakers and not enough time was allowed to deal with the 244 motions put forward from constituent Councils. Over the two days of the conference only four hours was dedicated to conducting business and 77 motions were dealt with.

In my opinion the conference either needs to be extended to three or four days or alternatively two separate conferences could be held, one for Urban Councils and one for Regional Councils.  Failing that I believe that we should have the business completed prior to inviting any speakers to address the conference. This year there were 16 guest speakers on the program and I have suggested to the Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole that in future speakers should be limited to three, being the Premier, the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Planning.

One of the main items of business was the concern over the freeze on indexation of the Federal Assistance Grants (FAG’s) over the next three years. Local Council’s will loose many millions of dollars over the three year period and the conference resolved to request that the Federal Government reconsider the freezing of indexation on FAG’s grants.

The other item that I found particularly interesting was a motion regarding rating of commercial Government property, including Forestry land. A motion was carried and the executive now have the delegates support to approach the State Government to request that Forestry land be rated along with any other commercial entities that are owned by the State Government. This is a significant issue for rural Councils as Forestry land is currently not rated. The heavy haulage that is associated with the Forestry business places enormous pressure on our rural roads and has a huge impact on small rural Councils such as ours.

On Saturday 18 October the Combined Churches of Oberon held a service for young Joey who passed away in Oberon so tragically in August. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Service, but I was heartened to hear from Pastor Andy Godden that the service was very well attended by over 50 people including members of Joey’s family, Police Officers and medical staff.  Until shortly before his death Joey had been loved and cared for by his extended family in Sydney which included his Grandmother, Uncles and other family members and the congregation heard from his Uncle George who spoke on behalf of the family of the beautiful boy that Joey was, so full of life and vigour.  The service concluded with the release of balloons and those who attended were grateful for opportunity to honour Joey’s life.

Nominations are open for the 2014/2015 NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards. The awards recognise young achievers between 12 and 28 from the community and are open in seven categories.

Award winners will receive $2,000 and a hand crafted glass trophy. Nominations close Thursday 4th December 2014. To nominate a young achiever please contact the Awards office on 1300 735 445 or nominate online at

Mayor John McMahon