I really must congratulate the organisers and volunteers, who despite very challenging conditions, ensured the Highland Steam and Vintage Fair was again a success. Despite a slight drop in numbers due to the extreme hot weather, a good time was had by all.
Minister for Lands, Forestry and Racing Paul Toole MP last week announced that Forestry Corporation had purchased 7000 hectares of private pine forest in the Oberon LGA. The Minister also announced that this acquisition would remain rateable for the forseeable future. We welcome the expansion of forestry in the Oberon LGA, the ongoing secutity of our major industry is of vital importance to us. The Ministers Office stated that future acquisitions would be assessed for rateabilty on a case by case basis. As most Oberon residents would be aware, lobbying of the State Government by Council to look at the rateability of state owned forests in the LGA has been ongoing for many many years with no success. It is hoped that with a Minister who is very aware of the impact of non rateability on the council bottom line, we may gain some traction. Should the NSW Government privatise the Forestry Corporation as is widely speculated upon in Local Government and Forestry circles, then the devil will be in the detail and have severe ramifications for councils such as Oberon and Tumut. Should this occur Oberon Council would be keen to see consultation undertaken to ensure rateability of the forest land base is a major consideration. There are many ways that a more equitable contribution can be made by Forestry Corporation (NSW Government) to pay their way, such as a tarrif per kilo of haulage product. Other major heavy haulage companies in the LGA are required to contribute to the road upkeep. I have requested a meeting with the Minister to discuss this and other issues. I hope this request is acknowledged soon, it was disappointing that the Minister was in the LGA to announce this project and once again neglected to advise council or afford myself or staff an opportunity to be part of this announcement.
I along with Deputy Mayor and Senior staff met with the Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose along with Greg Warren MP for Campbelltown on Thursday to discuss issues on a local and state level. Mr Primrose is keen to support legislation to enable current merger proposals to be abandonded. We also discussed Forestry issues, State Road networks and potential future funding models.
The RMS have granted funding of $100,000 through the State Black Spot Program to upgrade the North Street/Oberon Street intersecton. The planned works will commence from Monday 21 February to 28 February 2017. Cautionary signage will be in place.
You will soon notice improved landscaping and seating around the outside of the pool complex, including an electronic noticeboard. Council is currently looking for funding to replace the wooden seating inside the pool area with tiered aluminium seating.
Tickets to the Mayors IWD lunch on March 8 are steadily being snapped up, please don’t wait to get your ticket for this free event. Please join me on this significant day for women worldwide, we have a great guest speaker.
Mayor Kathy Sajowitz