Council News, Thursday 10 October 2013

Media Release - Council News
Release: Thursday 10 October 2013

Last Saturday I had the privilege of officially opening Lake Oberon to the public for kayaking, canoeing and the use of electric motor boats.  It was pleasing to see such a large crowd in attendance at the opening.

It was great to see such good weather over the long weekend for locals and visitors to be able to utilise the lake. All indications are that it will be a success and a fantastic attraction for visitors and locals.
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The General Manager and I attended the Local Government NSW Annual Conference held in Sydney last week.  Councillor Keith Rhodes from Coffs Harbour was voted President of the newly formed Association following the merger of the former Shires Association of NSW and Local Government Association of NSW.

The key note address was delivered by the Minister for Local Government, Don Page and during his address he reiterated the NSW Government’s positions that there will be “no forced amalgamations”.  I took heart from this as it means that regardless of the recommendations contained in the final report from the Independent Local Government Review Panel there will be no forced amalgamations in the foreseeable future.  

The conference passed a motion to remove the current Rate Pegging system and supported a new taxation revenue sharing framework which will ensure that Local Government has a revenue base that allows for a reduction in the infrastructure backlog currently faced by many Councils.

Local Government is using a system that is 100 years old and completely out of date.  Some glaring examples are the rate exemptions and concessions that are still in place for State owned corporations such as the Forestry Corporation and land used for commercial purposes in National Parks.  There are 67,000 ha of pine plantations in the Oberon Local Government Area which are currently not rateable, while private operators have to compete with the State owned corporation.

This places additional burden on Council to provide infrastructure such as roads to service the Forestry industry.  Council has in the past had a maintenance agreement in place with Forests NSW however this no longer applies.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the conference was the large number of delegates who missed the Thursday afternoon session which meant the conference had to close down 2 hours early due to the lack of a quorum.
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A reminder that nominations are now open for the Australia Day Citizens Awards for 2013 and I encourage members of the community to nominate an outstanding Australian from the Oberon community in one of the Citizen Awards categories. These include;

Citizen of the Year
Young Citizen of the Year
Local Legend
Sportsperson of the Year
Junior Sportsperson of the Year
Sports Team of the Year and
Community Event of the Year

The Australia Day Citizens Awards are an ideal opportunity for you to recognise the efforts of those local residents of Oberon who contribute time and time again to the community. Any individual or organisation can make a nomination.

Nomination forms are available for collection from Oberon Council, Oberon Visitor Information Centre, Oberon Library or can be download from Council’s website www.oberon.nsw.gov.au.  All nominations must be received by Oberon Council by 4.00pm Wednesday 6 November 2013.
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The General Manager Alan Cairney and I met recently with Member for Bathurst Paul Toole MP in relation to the works Council is currently undertaking on O’Connell Road on behalf of the Roads and Maritime Services.

Paul Toole has undertaken to arrange for the RMS to meet with Council on a regular basis to have input into planning future road programs in our Shire.

During the meeting, discussion was also held in relation to Water Security and Paul Toole will be seeking to ensure that better use is made of the water from the Duckmaloi Weir.  There is some work required at the Duckmaloi Weir to clear willow trees and ensure the water quality in the future.
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Nominations are now open for the Central West Volunteer Sporting Spirit Award.  This is a great opportunity to recognise the volunteers who are the lifeblood of sport in our community.  Sporting clubs and associations are invited to nominate individual volunteers who deserve such an award.

For further information or to nominate a worthy volunteer please contact the Office of Communities, Sport and Recreation Orange Regional Office 6362 6623 or email orange@communities.nsw.gov.au.  Nominations close on Friday 8 November 2013.
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ENDS