Well the news of the moment of course is the resignation of former Premier Baird and the subsequent appointment of Gladys Berejiklian MP as the forty fifth Premier of NSW and Leader of the NSW Liberal Party. John Barilaro remains the Deputy Premier. In a strongly worded press release on Friday Mr. Barilaro announced the forced mergers of councils in rural NSW would stop, while this announcement was reinforced by the current Minister for Local Government Paul Toole at the time of writing this column 24/1/17 no official notification in relation to this has been received, all information is coming through the media. I wrote to the Minister in an attempt to clarify the current situation and have been advised by the Office of Local Government that as no official announcement has been made Oberon can consider itself still under a merger proposal with Bathurst Regional Council and still subject to Section 23a guidelines influencing the day to day running of the organisation. I assume the new Premier will consult with her Deputy and other members of her newly formed cabinet before announcing changes to current policy if any. For Mr. Barilaro to follow through with his very welcome announcement will be a test of his resolve to take on board the feedback he has received from rural constituents about the lack of listening skills displayed by the National Party over recent time and the erosion of basic democratic rights as a result of the deeply unpopular forced amalgamation policy adopted by the previous NSW Premier.
Shooters Fishers & Farmers State Leader Robert Borsak along with the Local Member for Orange Phil Donato visited Oberon last Saturday. The Robert Hooper Community Centre had standing room only as visitors from the Central West and Sydney along with Oberon residents took note of what Mr Borsak had to say. We look forward to seeing the bill the party will introduce into the Upper House in the near future to ensure the immediate cessation of forced amalgamations in both rural and city areas, the bill will include provisions for deamalgamations and for a plebiscite to be held before any amalgamations at all occur in the future.
Federal Member Andrew Gee was in town on Friday to present grant funding for the new upgraded CCTV camera network soon to be installed in the Main Street. Total cost for the project is $55,000 so the $25,000 as part of the Safer Streets Program will be matched by $30,000 from council. Upgrade of the system will improve image resolution by 500% and will greatly assist police to monitor and curb any anti social behaviour. I had discussions with Andrew on a range of topics and feel we are developing a positive working relationship.
The “Healthy Town Challenge” will be launched at the Oberon Show as part of this initiative Oberon Council will be installing three water stations in the town, more information on this as it comes to hand.
Tickets are now available for the inaugural Mayors International Women’s Day Lunch to be held on IWD March 8 at the Community Centre. This is a free event for Oberon Women but a ticket is essential for catering purposes. Contact Sharon Swannell at council on 6329 8151 if you would like to join me.
Mayor Kathy Sajowitz