Message from the Mayor: 17 November 2023

Published on 17 November 2023

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

Yesterday brought good news for the shire at large, and particularly the residents in and around Clarence Town, with the announcement by the federal government of the results of their infrastructure review. Clarence Town Bridge survived the review, and not only survived, but it was one of about half a dozen projects that received additional funding.

So now we've had confirmed that the original $8.8 million from the federal government is still available together with an additional $781,000. The $781,000 is 50% of the additional funding that was sought 12 months ago in the business case that was submitted to the federal and state governments.

So it's now a matter of the NSW Government increasing their original $5.5 million to equal the federal funding. And that will then give us what we sought 12 months ago to build the bridge. Costs have of course increased and even if we get that additional funding from the state government, there'll have to be some modifications made unless the state government were to increase the funding beyond the 50%.

But be that as it may, the first step is we've got the federal funding confirmed. We now need to get the state to match it. And then we'll have to try to encourage the state to give us a little bit more or find the money elsewhere. But at least it's good news.

Council at its meeting on Wednesday night received an update from the Assets and Infrastructures department with respect to the Timber Bridge Replacement Program. And as I've mentioned in the past, that program is to replace 23 timber bridges throughout the shire. The program will be completed by April of next year. And it's at the point now where all bridges have either been constructed, or in the process of being constructed, or gone out to tender.

So it's an exceptionally good program that leaves us with only one timber bridge to replace and that's the Swinging Bridge or Suspension Bridge at Gresford, and we are forever hopeful that funding for that might be announced in the very near future.

Australia Day rapidly approaches and nominations for the Australia Day Awards close on Friday of next week, the 24th of November. So just a reminder to all those in the community, think about the people that you think should be recognised either as the Citizen of the Year, Sports Person or the Young Sports Person of the Year, Environmental Citizen of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year. Put forward your nomination prior to Friday of next week. Further details are on Council’s website, as are the nomination forms. Or nomination forms can be picked up at the Administration Centre in Dungog. But I do urge people to think about those in the community who are deserving of recognition in those various categories. And now's the time to put their names forward so that they can be recognised.

Council with its meeting on Wednesday night also adopted the Annual Report which is now on exhibition and available on Council's website. I urge people to look at the annual report which will see effectively what Council has done and where the money's gone throughout the last 12 months. It contains many items that are there because they’re statutory requirements, but it also contains information that I'm sure will be of interest to the community. So I urge you to go online and have a look at the Annual Report.

Council was also obliged to prepare a Risk Management Plan and that plan was also adopted at councils meeting on Wednesday night.


And again, if you're interested in looking at that plan, it's available or will be available on Council’s website, but it is available on the website at the moment in the agenda for last Wednesday's meeting. And so you can look at it in either place if that interests you.

Roadworks continue, and I'm sure many people would wish that the roadworks at Durham Road at Gresford were completed but they're not, and they won't be for a little while. There’s been unfortunate delays with the work which has been carried out by contractors on behalf of Council.

It's acknowledged that the roadworks will cause, and are causing inconvenience, not only to the residents but those people who traverse Durham Road on a regular basis. All we ask is patience, the end result will be worth the short-term pain, so please respect the workers, show some tolerance, and travel in accordance with the restrictions and limitations that are imposed by the presence of the roadworks at the moment.

Roadworks are also continuing on Gresford Road and have commenced on Glen Martin Road. The road works on Clarence Town Road at Wirragulla have reached the point where they're waiting for the line marking, sealing has already taken place.

And speaking of Clarence Town Road, it also had its funding confirmed in the release of the federal government infrastructure review yesterday. The original $20 million for the works on Clarence Town Road has been confirmed and the additional sections will continue to be done by Council. I think there are at least three further sections to be done before those works are completed but at least now we've had the funding confirmed and that will be pursued to completion.

So with that, that's it from me for this week. So until next week, good luck and goodbye.



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