Council Meeting: 14 December 2022
Published on 19 December 2022
8.1: Mayoral Minute – Declaration of Statewide Road Emergency
Councillors endorsed a call to whole-heartedly support the Local Government NSW declaration of a Statewide Road Emergency following the recent wave of flooding events that have plagued Dungog shire and many other parts of the state.
The declaration – and urgent call for the NSW and Federal governments to increase their existing road funding commitments in the wake of the floods, was made last month and comes on the back of an estimated $2.5 billion in road damages and a collapse of the local and regional road network.
Dungog Mayor, John Connors, has pledged to write to the Prime Minister and the NSW Premier pleading for immediate action and secure funding to help Dungog fix its critically damaged road network.
“Our road network, and the road network of shires across the state, have disastrous damage. We are facing a task that is beyond the reasonable scope of any local government authority,” Mayor Connors said.
“We need help. Our community needs help. Other regional and rural communities across the state and beyond need help. We desperately need our leaders to lead.
“We face an unprecedented disaster that requires an unprecedented response.”
The local and regional road network is critically enabling infrastructure. It is absolutely vital to primary producers, and the key to keeping affordable food on the table across New South Wales and beyond.
The declaration has already been publicly supported by peak regional body, the Country Mayors Association of New South Wales.
As part of the Statewide Roads Emergency, LGNSW and Country Mayors Association of NSW are calling for:
· An acceleration and significant increase in funding for the $1.1 billion Fixing Local Roads and Fixing Country Bridges program from the New South Wales Government
· A boost to road grant funding to compensate for the damage to the regional road network from the Federal Government
· New funding to provide councils with plant machinery and skilled workers to expedite road repairs from the Federal Government
8.2: Change of name for the Dungog Common
A recent name change to the Dungog Recreation Reserve, formerly known as the Dungog Common, has caused the ire of community members at the lack of consultation for the move.
The reserve is currently managed by a Board of Crown Land Managers, appointed by the Minister for Lands and Water for the purpose of environmental and heritage protection, public recreation, rural services, and tourist facilities.
In response to calls from the community for proper consultation to be undertaken regarding a change to the community asset of such magnitude, Council resolved to write to the Minister for Lands and Water, the Honourable Kevin Anderson, expressing the concern of the community and Council at the renaming of the Dungog Common without reference to, or consultation with, the community or Council.
Council will make the request that that the name be immediately changed back to the Dungog Common Recreation Reserve and the board be urged to consult its stakeholders- the Council and community.
9.1: Development Application Tracking
Dungog Council’s planning department approved 30 development applications for the reporting period of November, totalling $9.74M investment in the Shire.
Councillors praised the efforts of the Planning and Environment department, for its hard work in progressing the volume of applications, recognising the efforts taken to assist the landowners moving forward with planning and development bids. These efforts are contributing to reducing DA waiting periods and fast-tracking proposed investments into the shire.
9.2: Development Application - Intensive Plant Agriculture
Council approved a development application for an intensive agriculture plant at Brookfield that will bring considerable investment to the shire and heralds a confident outlook for future agribusiness endeavours in the area.
The proposed three-stage development is planned for a 15.64ha site at 164 Wallarobba-Brookfield Road, will include the staged construction of beds, greenhouses, shade houses, sheds, an office and a carpark (pictured below) and primarily will cultivate citrus trees. However, the owners, Fairmont (Australia) have indicated that in time they may diversify to incorporate alternate plant species.
It is believed once complete, the operation will employ a workforce of 25 people. It is proposed that the facility would be operational 7am to 4pm Monday to Friday. During operational hours, it is anticipated that delivery of materials such as soil, fertiliser, pots and the like would occur several times a week. At full operation, a semi-trailer is anticipated six times a year and dispatch of plants would generally occur twice weekly. The facility is not proposed to be open to the public.
Councillors remarked that the attraction of this type of agribusiness to the shire was pleasing to see and this type of development is exactly what Council is seeking to attract in the future.
12.2 Election of the Deputy Mayor
Dungog Shire Council wishes to congratulate Cr Stephen Low, who was voted in (unopposed) for another term as Deputy Mayor from February 2023 up until the next local government elections in late 2024.