Council News, 31 October 2013

 
Media Release - Council News
Release: Thursday 31 October 2013

With the devastating bush fires in the Blue Mountains and Lithgow area now under control it is time to start the recovery process after such enormous loss.  There have been a number of local groups quick to take up fundraising efforts to help those who have been affected by the fires and I commend them for their quick action.  It is pleasing to see a community come together to assist one another in times of need.

The tourism sector has also been hard hit with sudden and significant losses as many visitors were forced to cancel their accommodation bookings due to the fires.  It is important that we take steps to recover from this loss as quickly as possible.  The Great Western Highway and railway are open and major attractions such as Jenolan Caves and Mayfield Garden remain open.  

The areas around Oberon were fortunate enough to be largely unaffected by the fires and the National Parks are open to the public. Accommodation providers in the area have reported in excess of 50% cancellations due to the fires and it is important to get the message out that we can return to business as usual.  

There are a number of activities planned in Oberon next weekend as Oberon’s 150 Anniversary celebrations continue.

The Oberon Arts Council are holding their “Art Shaping Life Exhibition” at the Oberon RSL Club on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 November 2013. The show will be presenting a large number of works from prominent artists such as Greg Hyde, Dawn Daly, steel sculptures by Stephen Hogan, pastels by Kerry Klemens and many other local artists.

The opening of the exhibition will be held from 6pm – 9pm on Friday and entry is $15.00 per person, which includes a lucky door prize, finger food and one free drink.  The exhibition will also be open on Saturday 2 November from 10am to 4pm, entry by gold coin donation. All members of the community are invited to come along and enjoy this great event.

The Oberon Golf Club will host the Oberon Sesquicentenary Challenge on Sunday 3 November 2013.  Entry is $25.00 per person and includes a BBQ lunch. Please contact Barry Lang by phone on 6336 1352 or by email on barry@swpco.com.au or at the Oberon Golf Club on Saturdays on 6336 0262 for more details.

The Oberon Garden Club will host their annual Open Garden weekend on 2 & 3 November from 10am to 4pm.  There are six beautiful local gardens open and country style teas are available at one of the gardens.  Tickets are $10.00 per person and can be purchased at the Oberon Visitor Information Centre and the open gardens.

Mayfield Garden and Gairlock Garden are also open to visitors between 9.00am and 4.30pm on Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 November.  

For more information regarding any upcoming events please visit the website oberonaustralia.com.au or contact the Oberon Visitor Information Centre on 6329 8210.

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Local Council’s are anxiously awaiting the final report from the Independent Local Government Review Panel, which was due to have been handed down last Friday.  It is important to have a clear understanding of where Professor Samson and the panel sees Local Government heading into the future so Council’s can get on with the job of planning and delivering Local Government services to their communities.

It is hoped that the final findings of the panel will address the original purpose of the review, that is to ensure the ongoing viability of Local Government.  There is also a review of the Rating System underway and this is vital for the future financial security of Council’s.  The current system is completely out of date and still includes rate exemptions and concessions for State owned corporations such as the Forestry Corporation and land used for commercial purposes in National Parks.  This has a major impact as there are 67,000 ha of pine plantations in the Oberon Local Government Area which are currently not rateable.
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I was pleased to hear earlier this week that Borg Panels are entering a recruitment phase at the Oberon MDF plant.  They will be recruiting new personnel to work in their production process and will be converting a number of casual positions to full time employment. They have advised that although the market is still tight they are confident in the future of the panels industry.
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General Manager Alan Cairney, Works and Engineering Director Aruna Wickramasinghe and members of Council’s Engineering staff met with the Roads and Maritime Services earlier this week to discuss the final design plans for the O’Connell Road, Oberon West Project.

It is expected that the final road design and other construction details will be available in the very near future.


ENDS