The public meeting held on Monday Nov 9th to discuss the FFTF options was held at the Oberon RSL Club and was attended by more than 500 community members. There are 26 written submissions at this time and 549 have recorded their preference as to Oberon’s options either before or at the public meeting. Particularly noted was the amount of responses from absentee landholders. It is encouraging that so many are concerned about the future of their town. Council commissioned an independent study of its options to stand alone or merge with Bathurst Regional Council, Lithgow Council or Upper Lachlan Shire Council; the results of this study were presented to the meeting and highlighted the flawed IPART report which relies purely on assumptions based on population size. Based on sound academic data, the commissioned report found that “size does not equal efficiency” and by using population as a measure of efficiency would most likely disadvantage rural shires with kms of road infrastructure and relatively small populations. It also found that based on scale and efficiency Oberon’s best option was to “Stand Alone” The overwhelming preference of the Oberon community is to continue with its “Stand Alone” proposal as submitted to IPART in June this year. A resolution to reflect the community preference will be presented at the November Council Meeting for consideration. After November 18 the NSW State Government through the Minister Paul Toole and Premier Mike Baird will consider the responses of affected councils and act according to their agenda. It is hoped that democracy, which is the cornerstone of our society, will be upheld and the will of the people noted. We did not vote for forced amalgamations we voted for our local councils to represent us, the people. If Premier Baird has justifiable reasons to change our current system of local government then it should be tested and endorsed by the people so why not a referendum.
I have been advised that a “no forced amalgamation rally” is to be held on Wednesday 18 November from 12pm – 2pm in Macquarie Street outside the NSW Parliament. It is envisioned this rally will be well attended with a variety of speakers including radio broadcaster Alan Jones. A bus will be leaving from Oberon, for more information contact Marj Armstrong on 63361760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other things are happening within our community. Last week I attended St Josephs final Graduation Ball and Presentation Assembly. There was some sadness as the secondary school will be closing at the end of this term and students will be moving to other high schools in Oberon, Lithgow and Bathurst. The primary school will remain open. The school marked the “end of an era” it is the 150th anniversary of the school this year so the closure was all the more poignant. The students at the ball looked handsome and glamorous and all had a great evening. I wish all the students and staff moving on to the next phase of their educational experience the very best of luck.
You will notice the new bike racks recently installed outside IGA in the Main Street. This is an Oberon Youth Council Project and will make the storing of cycles whilst shopping much safer in the future. The next project for the Youth Council is exploring the possibility of a new skate park. A working committee has been formed and have put some options for the type of facility and its location out for community comment, please share your thoughts. Fundraising has already begun.
Mayor Kathy Sajowitz