Message from the Mayor: 23 February 2024

Published on 23 February 2024


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

A week ago, we received good news that funding had been made available by the NSW Government to facilitate two studies at Clarence Town. The first is a flood study which will enable planning to take place to ensure flooding risk of any future development zone is reduced.

The other is a strategic plan for the development of Clarence Town and not just the urban area, but the developing areas around Clarence Town. This will enable the LEP, the Local Environmental Plan, to be amended or redone to bring it up to date and appropriately zone our land in relevant areas for development. The funding has come from the Regional Housing Strategic Planning Fund, as part of the process of providing further housing in the Hunter. As we all know, Maitland and the like, one would think virtually full and there's a need for housing to be provided elsewhere. Not just any form of housing of course, because housing within the Dungog Shire that that's appealed to purchases over recent years is lifestyle housing, housing on 8000 square metres or the like, which enables them to live outside the urban area and I'm sure that demand will continue into the future.

The ‘Meet the Mayor’ sessions start today, Friday, with the first session being at Dungog Council Chambers from 4pm - 6pm. All sessions are being held from 4pm to 6pm, and on Monday, I'll be at the Beatty Hotel at East Gresford, on Tuesday at the Vacy Store, then Thursday at Tucker Park, at the amenities block at Paterson, and then finally next Friday at the School of Arts in Clarence Town. So please if you've got issues come and talk to me. I won't have the answers, I'm sure, but I'll take them on board and obtain the answers and ensure you get a response to whatever it is that your question relates to.

This week saw the first council meeting of 2024 and at it Council resolved to support other councils within NSW and Local Government NSW in urging the State government to not only stop but adjust, the cost shifting that has gone to local government in recent years.

It's a problem that goes back many years and prior to their election, the current government highlighted it and undertook to do something about it but nothing's been done. The study that has been done by Morrison Low on behalf of LG NSW stipulates that for most ratepayers there is an increase of $460.67 to their rates over time. And for rural ratepayers, it's even worse, it's $590.80 of your rates that is going to the NSW Government in costs that have been moved from the government to local government. So we're effectively collecting a tax for the NSW Government which is considered by the local government to be unfair. And that's why we, Dungog Shire, have joined with other councils and LG NSW to highlight the problem to the government and urge them to remedy it.

The council meeting also saw the adoption of a recommendation to accept a tender for the rehabilitation of about five kms of Stroud Hill Road. I know many people think this should have been done a long time ago and it probably should, but it's now being done.

It's being done in two stages. First is about 2.94km, from the sub-station to Majors Creek Road, and the second is from Majors Creek Road to east of the rail divider.

It's hoped that work will commence towards the end of March and it will take a total of about 48 weeks to complete all the work.

It was pleasing that for the first time in perhaps 12 months or more, there were several tenders for this work, there were six tenderers.

For example, for the works at Durham Rd in East Gresford there was only one tenderer and for the works on Clarence Town Rd coming into Dungog there was one tender which was at a very high price and Council ended up carrying out the work. So we seem to be seeing a change in the market where there are now fortunately multiple tenderers at much more reasonable prices. So work can be done more often within, or close to budget, unlike what we had seen throughout last year, at worse the third quarter of last year, when crisis seemed to be at an absolute peak, but perhaps work and funding is reducing throughout the state and that's allowing there to be more tenderers and that's always better for the consumer, and in this instance, better for Council and better for you.

Several business houses within the Dungog town have joined together to sponsor the Dungog Cup being held at Newcastle Jockey Club at Broadmeadow. These business houses have been led by the Settlers Arms and on March 2nd, the Newcastle Jockey Club will host the Dungog Cup. This has been seen as a great opportunity to put focus on the Dungog Shire, on the region to racegoers in Newcastle and heighten the exposure of the Dungog shire and certainly bring the name to the populace of Newcastle and the race goes there. So a special thanks to those who have facilitated this occurring and I'm sure there'll be an ongoing benefit to tourism over time.

 That’s it from me for this week. So until next week, good luck and goodbye.


Tagged as: