At the time of writing this column, Tuesday August 23, no decision has yet been handed down in relation to the legal challenge against the forced amalgamation of Oberon and Bathurst Regional Council. The appeal by Woollahra Council against their adverse outcome in the Land & Environment Court was heard earlier this week; we await the determination with interest. I along with AGM Gary Wallace and Mayors from other councils involved in legal challenges attended a meeting last week organised by Mosman Mayor Peter Abelson. Outcome of this meeting being that an open letter signed by all Mayors on behalf of their affected councils be sent to Premier Baird and other Ministers. The letter aims to secure a meeting with the Premier, reconsideration of any further merger proposals and looking at other options to achieve the government’s aims. The letter also seeks a poll allowing local council constituents to exercise their democratic rights by indicating whether they support mergers or not.
One of the positive outcomes from the Country Mayors Meeting I attended last week is that I have an appointment today to speak with Toni McDonald, Director of Education Bathurst Region. Amongst topics I hope to discuss with Toni are issues affecting our small schools at Burraga and Black Springs. There is currently much innovation around education especially in rural and remote areas so I look forward to seeing how that can be applied in our LGA.
Oberon has been fortunate enough to secure a semi-final game at home this weekend. This will be a great weekend showcasing the town’s talent and facilities. Council has been happy to support this event both physically and financially, I wish all three teams playing the very best of luck and I urge you to go along and support the players.
I was pleased to launch Books on Prescription (BOP) at the Oberon Library last week. BOP is a package of self-help publications that can be accessed directly from the library or may be recommended by your doctor or health worker. Please have a look when next in the library.
The first meeting of the 2017 Australia Day Working Party was held last week, award nomination forms are now available, so thinking caps on – who would you like to nominate for an Australia Day Award?
I find it disconcerting that our local member Mr Paul Toole has been out and about in the local area performing various functions with no contact at all with your elected council representatives. As Mayor I would expect the basic courtesy of being advised that our local member along with other NSW Government Ministers is in the LGA rather than reading about such visits in the media. I acknowledge that Mr Toole has advised he cannot discuss merger issues with council at this time but opening roads and presenting grant funding is a separate local issue of a general nature. I note Mr Toole is frequently seen accompanying my counterparts from other councils also under a merger proposals. As we are all professionals possibly a little more respect could be shown in the future which may in turn generate a little goodwill.
Mayor Kathy Sajowitz