Message from the Mayor: 16 December 2022

Published on 16 December 2022


Hi. I'm John Connors, the mayor of the Dungog Shire with this week’s mayoral message.

The last Council meeting for the year was held on Wednesday night and there were a number of matters that came before Council of note. There were two mayoral minutes in particular and the first of those was encouraging Council to join with Local Government NSW and the Country Mayor's Association in seeking a statewide road emergency declaration as a result of the impact of rain and floods on the roads throughout New South Wales.

Everybody within the Dungog Shire is well aware, I’m sure, of the impact that that's had and the difficulty, nearing or the impossibility, of remedying the problem in a timely way. So hopefully, with I think it's 125 Councils joining in seeking the declaration, hopefully, we might see some further initiatives come from the from the government to alleviate the problem. As I've said in the past, the problem isn't merely money. It's also manpower and resources. And it's a problem that faces every shire throughout the state and Councils in the urban areas and cities as well.

The second mayoral minute dealt with the Dungog Common and members of the Dungog community have become aware in recent times that the name has been changed by the Crown Land managers from the Dungog Common to the Dungog Recreation Reserve. It would appear from various government gazettal’s that the still the proper name of the organisation is the Dungog Common Recreation Reserve Management Committee or alternatively the Dungog Common Recreation Reserve.

So that mayoral minute that was passed by Council sees correspondence go to the minister administering the Crown Lands Management Act, asking that the change, which appears to have been done without consultation, or certainly without consultation, and maybe without authority, be reversed.

There was also a significant planning method that came before Council and that was the approval of a citrus nursery to be located on the Wallarobba Brookfield road. This is a very significant development, where the developer is moving his citrus nursery operations from Sydney to the Dungog Shire.

Looking further afield for the events of the year, it's been a very busy year for Council and Council staff. It's been a year that we've seen unprecedented amounts of money available for bridges and roads and other infrastructure. But we've also seeing extreme and unprecedented difficulties in delivering those programs. Firstly, with the rain, the never-ending rain, then and of course with the impacts of COVID both on the supply of materials but also our manpower with the increased sickness and absenteeism that's flowed from that. We've been able to continue with the delivery of the 23 timber bridges. We're now almost halfway through that program with what's been built and the tenders that have been left.

We've also continued of course was the road program. And with a couple of significant community infrastructure builds the community facility at the East Gresford Sporting Complex, where in excess of a million dollars has been spent on new dressing rooms, a canteen, and the like, which will be I think formally opened in the new year as the commencement of the next soccer season. And in Dungog we’ve seen the significant upgrade and expansion of the Dungog library again, a project that's in excess of a million dollars, which is planned to be completed towards the end of February. or early March in 2023.

Those two significant bits of infrastructure follow the earlier construction of an amenities facility at Clarence Town, a facility that services the two ovals at Clarence Town, both the one used for soccer and the one use for rugby league and cricket.

So there's been a spend of as I've said, unprecedented amounts. If we were able to deliver all of the programs that are on our books, this current financial year, that would be nearing $50 million, but it will be impossible to deliver that for the reasons that I keep giving; the shortage of manpower and resources. But we'll do our best and with the support of the community, we'll get there in the end.

So that's it for me for 2022 I wish always those listening or reading this message, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and a prosperous 2023 And we'll be back in the new year.

Goodbye and good luck!

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