Oberon Council News - Thursday 29 October 2015

Latest News from Mayor Kathy Sajowitz

The major issue for council at the moment is the IPART report handed down last week declaring over 60% of councils in NSW are not “Fit for the Future”. The Premier of NSW and his Minister for Local Government Paul Toole have given those councils deemed “unfit” 30 days to respond to the IPART report, encouraging voluntary mergers with neighbouring councils. The carrot to encourage this is a predicted 2 billion dollars in efficiency savings over twenty years across all councils including the city councils and 5 to 10 million for newly merged entities depending on how many councils are in the merge; this money is only available to merged entities. Also on offer are low interest community infrastructure loans. Oberon failed to meet the scale and capacity criteria based on IPART’s prediction that the population would not meet the 10000 mark by 2031. We met all other criteria including financial. 

Council met on Monday after studying the report to put a strategy in place as to our response. All options available and the advantages/disadvantages will be compiled by council and put to the community at a public meeting on Nov 9 venue to be confirmed. If you are in the least interested in Oberon’s future whether you support a standalone model or a merge with a neighbouring council it is imperative you attend this meeting to give council direction as to the path to chose. Whichever decision is taken it will ultimately impact on all our lives in one way or another. A letter will be sent to all ratepayers very soon confirming all the details of this meeting.

The Acting General Manager, Gary Wallace and I met on Tuesday 27 with Mayor Statham from Lithgow and Mayor Gary Rush requested a meeting which was held on Wednesday 28, as these meetings are occurring after this publication goes to print the outcomes will form part of the options presented at the public meeting. Forced amalgamations are not mentioned in the IPART report with the emphasis on “voluntary” but neither Premier Baird nor Minister Toole will rule out such an action.  

Only a week left for our own Australia Day Award nominations to be submitted, forms are available from council office. So let’s recognise the contribution community members give by acknowledging their commitment and achievement.

We welcome Gary Wallace to the position of Acting General Manager.

A great night was enjoyed by all who attended the Bush Poets Event held last Saturday at the Oberon RSL Club. The event raised money for Can Assist.

I was pleased to present the certificates to the RFS cadets this week, several schools from Oberon, Bathurst and beyond are involved in this very beneficial program and despite the rain or maybe because of it, the cadets had lots of fun during the competition with Carrene School coming out on top.