Message from the Mayor: 12 April 2024

Published on 12 April 2024


Hello, I'm John Connors, the Mayor of the Dungog shire, bringing you this week's mayoral message.

Over time it's become apparent that some members of the community think that the means of communicating with Council registering complaints is to comment on Facebook. Well, that's not the case. There's a complaints procedure, a complaints policy, and if you follow that, you'll be given a number and you're able to follow up on the issue you’ve raised with Council. I urge everyone, if you have an issue, telephone Council or come to the counter and lodge your issue that way. If you just make an adverse comment on Facebook, it will not be followed up. It's not the way to do it. So I encourage you to do it the correct way as I’ve just outlined.

Last Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the General Manager and I went to Forbes to participate in the Country Mayors Association Regional meeting. Country Mayors Association is made up of 88 Mayors from throughout country NSW. It's a forum that deals with issues that are more relevant to country areas rather than metropolitan. The other bodies such as Local Government NSW tend to deal with the whole state, but naturally metropolitan issues take some prominence.

So the focus of the meeting in Forbes was not only to see the great initiatives that Forbes has become involved in in recent years, and how they've overcome the flood impact of merely eighteen months ago, but also to hear from relevant ministers and department heads. Most particularly was Minister Rose Jackson, who amongst other things is the Minister for Housing. Housing was the theme of the event and she and the head of Housing NSW, both spoke of initiatives that are now available to facilitate the development of housing to cater to all groups of society. Dungog Shire Council is in the process of seeking funding from two of the sources that were mentioned in the course of the Association Meeting in Forbes. So hopefully they might come to fruition and if they do, we might be able to proceed with some social and affordable housing within the shire.

There have been many complaints over time that the Return & Earn facility has been full when people have attended, and they've had to go away and cart their bottles and cans with them. Well hopefully that complaint won't exist in the near future. Tomra, the operator of Return & Earn, has agreed to double the size of the facility in Dungog. So that should alleviate the issues that have arisen in the past. Over the four years that the machine has been there, there's been 7.4 million containers put through the machines which have returned $740,000 to members of the community who have utilised them.

Like all things, there is a small price to pay to get the benefit at the end of the day. That price in this instance is that the Return & Earn facility will be closed from the 23rd to the 24th of April inclusive and from the 30th of April to the 2nd May inclusive. It's then hoped that the machine will be up and running in the second week of May. It will then have twice the capacity that it has now.

The Services Australia Mobile Bus is visiting the shire at the moment, and today Friday 12th of April it’s at Paterson from 9 am- 3.30 pm in King St. It will then be in Dungog on Tuesday the 16th of April near the Dungog Community Centre in Dowling St between 9.30 am and 4 pm, and finally in Clarence Town on Thursday 18th April between 9am and 3pm opposite the IGA in Grey Street.

So there's an opportunity for those who need support with Centrelink, Medicare, and the like to attend the mobile office and get that help that they might otherwise not have available to them in their community.

There has for some years been justifiable complaints about the state of the road at Stroud Hill. Well, I'm pleased to say that the work should commence this coming week. There'll be the establishment of the site compound and the clearing of the work zone. So there will be no physical work on the road that week, but it’s the first step of the contractors establishing themselves on site to commence those roadworks. So I'm sure that will bring joy to all those who use that very bad stretch of road regularly.

Road works continue in Durham Rd between East Gresford and Gresford. There's traffic control in place and some short delays whilst those works towards the top of the hill continue as they will for some time.

Queen Street in Clarence Town likewise is closed and there's a detour in place. The works there will also be continuing for some time. So there'll be some inconvenience to residents in that street and to road users who have to use the detour although I'm sure at the end of the day it will be all worthwhile.

The intersection of Dowling and Mary Streets works continue but it is coming to a close with asphalt works being undertaken this coming week. So that should see it completed probably in the following week.

I think that brings me to a close this week. So until next week, good luck and goodbye.


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