Message from the Mayor: 27 January 2023

Published on 27 January 2023

Hello, I'm John Connors the Mayor of the Dungog Shire, bringing you the first mayoral message for 2023.

This week, being Australia Day, Council held its annual Australia Day event at the James Theatre in Dungog. The event was patronised by the Australia Day Ambassador provided to us by the Australian Day Council. Corey Payne was this year’s ambassador, the young man with a very distinguished career and I'm sure what will be a distinguished future ahead of him. He's a former NRL player who graduated from Sydney University with a Master's degree, who has previously been the recipient of a Churchill fellowship which has enabled him to study overseas.

He's put all of that to good use personally in setting up a charitable foundation to assist young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve and attain qualifications and experience that they might not otherwise be exposed to. So he was not only inspiring but also then assisted in the acknowledgement and presentation of awards to the various recipients within the Dungog Shire.

Those recipients were:

  • The Junior Sports Award went to Georgia MacDonald from Glen William, a swimming star who also plays netball, touch football, and athletics at just 12 years old.
  • The Senior Sports Award went to Lachlan Richardson, a bullrider from Gresford
  • The Volunteer Service to the Community Award was shared between Pauline and Cambourne from Dungog who has volunteered at the Dungog Growers Stall for over 10 years and Susan Dillon from Gresford for her significant role in the Paterson River Pony Club over a very long period of time.
  • Environmental Citizen Award went to Bill Dowling from Dungog for his, what seems eternal involvement in all things environmental within the Shire.
  • The Young Citizen Award went to Gwen Rumble, the student from Dungog High School, who is quite outstanding, and I'm sure has a great future ahead of her.

Then the Citizen of the Year for the Shire, went to James Ashton from Paterson, for his significant contribution in establishing the Martins Creek Quarry Action Group. They refer people in and around Paterson and Martins Creek, who will be impacted by any further development of the Martins Creek Quarry. And he has been a dominant driver of that group and a dominant campaigner in making submissions to the relevant authorities from time to time about the proposed expansion of Martins Creek.

So the day was preceded by a breakfast cooked for those that are present by the Dungog Rotary Club and then followed by a morning tea, which included Anzac biscuits made by the Dungog Clarence Town CWA and lamingtons, so it was a very Australian celebration.

Apart from that, going back to the very recent past, Dungog Showground was the host to 500 Scouts and Scout Leaders last week, for the Hunter and Coastal Region Corroboree. It's the first time since 1929 that there's been such a Corroboree held in Dungog.

From all reports and from the discussions I had with the leaders it was a resounding success and from the neighbours of the showground that was a resounding success. They thought the behaviour, the conduct of the of the Scouts was quite exemplary. They were seen in and around the town of Dungog during the week, in and out of the shops, which was beneficial to everybody. And the Scouts to their great credit and purchased all their food for the 500 people from Dungog from the butcher, the baker and the IGA. So there was a flow-on benefit to the business community and the community at large. So it was a great success and I look forward to hopefully them coming back in the future, if not next year, certainly in the future because they were extremely enthusiastic and supportive of the facilities that were available to them.

Looking forward to next week, which is the end of January, it's anticipated that the NSW Government will be making an announcement about further funding for pothole repair at the end of the month, and it's also anticipated that Dungog Shire will be a recipient of a significant amount of money. But we have to wait for reality to occur and hopefully that will occur on Monday or Tuesday of next week, when we'll learn if we’re successful and if we are how much we're going to receive.

The Council, whilst it may have been a little slower than normal in responding to issues in the last three weeks, the staffing is all back to as normal as it can be, now that the holiday period is over. And I'd like to think that any inquiries or complaints will be dealt with in a prompt manner going forward. There's certainly some vacancies that exist and more will be said about that in the very near future. But those vacancies that exist within the workforce significantly impact on Council's ability to deliver the services that it wants to deliver. More will be said about that going forward.

So until next week, relax, enjoy the last remnants of the holiday period, talk to you next week.

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