Message from the Mayor: 3 February 2023

Published on 03 February 2023

Hello I'm John Connors, mayor of the Dungog Shire, welcome to this week's mayoral message.

During the week, I had the pleasure of attending the Clarence Town sporting complex along with the deputy mayor, Steve Low, where we met with the member for Upper Hunter, Dave Layzell, and Scott Barrett, a member of the Upper House. They were there to announce funding for the resurfacing of the rugby league field. Some of $275,000 has been made available for this project, so it was great to be there for the announcement and to see the benefit of the money. At the time we met, the rugby league team were training on the oval and I'm sure they were all looking forward to the oval becoming a little less uneven in the not too distant future.

Also during the week, we received notification that Transport for NSW is going to add Dungog Shire to the Live Traffic app. Many of you will be familiar with the Live Traffic app and I'm sure many of you use it travelling through New South Wales. This a proposal now to add I think it's a further 32 local government areas to the to the app, and we’re one of those councils. So, very shortly you'll be able to access on your phone on the app, details of where roads might be closed or where road work is being undertaken or in times of floods or other disaster, where the road might be blocked or where it's inappropriate to travel. So that's something we've been agitating for some time and it's great to see it coming on board.

The member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell has announced that Dungog Shire has been successful in receiving $1.316 million of the government's $50 million for road repair, heavy patching, pothole patching but heavy patching. Earlier on we received about $247,000 in the first round of the pothole program. That money was designed to do a quick fix and fill the potholes as quickly as we were able. The new round of funding that Council has received is to progress that and to carry out heavy patching on the worst affected areas. We propose commencing work as a result of those funds in the very near future, and Council will be presented with a program of works early next week, and from then on, hopefully the works will progressively rolled out as the workforce is available.

And the workforce is a critical issue at the moment and it applies not just to this Council but to all Councils and not just the Council's but to business and industry generally. Obtaining employees is very difficult and retaining them in areas such as this is equally difficult. There's lots of attractive employers closer to the coast and that makes it incredibly difficult. We've had up to 10 vacancies at the works depot, at which every attempt has been made to fill those vacancies as quickly as possible.

With vacancy numbers like that it makes it extremely difficult to carry out the necessary roadworks and repairs and General facilities maintenance. But rest assured, every possible action has been taken to fill those vacancies or to find contractors to carry out the necessary work. Contractors are as hard to get as employees with all the work that's being undertaken. Not only in this Shire, but everywhere at the moment.

The weekly broadcast by me on Radio Dungog 107.9 will recommence today, after the news at one o'clock. So for those that are interested from today going forward after the one o'clock news, Brian Simpson will be there with me to bring you up to date on events within the Shire.

And I think that's about it for this week but in the course of the week, I'm sure you'll see and hear further good news for the Shire. So keep your eyes and ears open and I'm sure there'll be more to come during the coming week. Until next week, goodbye and thank you.

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