Most of you will be aware that the NSW State Budget was released last week and there was mixed news for funding Local Government services. Unbelievably funding for Libraries has been slashed by eighteen percent. Public libraries in NSW already receive the lowest per capita support of all Australian states. Governments across the board constantly bemoan the current literacy levels of our young people then cut library budgets – it makes no logical sense to me. With such a huge surplus and the investment in transport infrastructure at an all-time high especially around the major cities, social investment appears to be going backward. The funding cuts will inevitably mean that many smaller regional libraries, many of which are already marginalised, whilst maintaining core services could struggle to provide extra social programs for their communities across all age groups. No increase above the CPI to funding allocations for council maintained roads, which make up ninety percent of the NSW road network, so in an LGA such as Oberon with huge local road assets to maintain, your rates will continue to be eaten up in this area. We will however continue to seek grant funding to assist. On the plus side the budget offers $315 million to improve road safety outcomes on NSW roads, including a significant increase in funding under the Road Safety Plan targeting regional areas. Road safety is a major concern for us all especially in regional NSW and am pleased to see this recognised at a state level.
The Local Government NSW organisation that represents most NSW Local Councils have expressed disappointment that the business case (recently released under the Freedom of Information Act), behind the NSW Government’s plan to rebuild Allianz Stadium relies on relocating football fixtures away from locally-owned sportsgrounds. The business case, prepared by KPMG suggests at least two metro council sportsgrounds (Lottoland Brookvale and Leichhardt Oval) would be allowed to deteriorate sufficiently (allocated no funding) to force National Rugby League games to be played at a rebuilt Allianz Stadium. I wonder is it in the best interests of the state to have funding directed to elite stadiums when that money could be spent in a more equitable way across both metro and regional areas to include local sports facilities.
School holidays are coming up next week, Oberon library has a range of activities planned for all ages and are offering tickets for a staff supervised bus trip to the Ice Skating at the Bathurst Winter Festival on Wednesday 12 July – at a cost of only $5.00 which includes transport to and from Bathurst and the ice skating. Also on offer are Lego building workshops, a movie and the Programming for the Future van is visiting on July 10. This is a brilliant technology concept for six plus years, making robots and paper circuits etc. please contact the library for more information or to make a booking 6329 8220.
Save the date - Tuesday 17 July commencing at 10.30am at the Robert Hooper Community Centre the Oberon Health Council, supported by Oberon Council are hosting a Drought Support Talk for rural women themed “Waiting for the Dust to Settle." Rural women are affected by the pressures of drought upon their families but do not always receive the support they need, so please watch out for further details of this event, which will be out there soon. If you personally know someone who may be struggling could I ask that you pass this information on to them. Council are looking at further initiatives around this important issue of support for our rural landowners.
Our parks and gardens are receiving a bit of a tidy up through the cooler months, playground equipment maintenance and after the dusting of snow and rainfall even some mowing is under way.