Mayoral Update

Mayor Tracy Norman

Port Stephens Hunter Local Area Command Community Precinct Safety Meeting    
I attend these meetings quarterly, twice a year in Maitland and twice a year in Raymond Terrace. It is an opportunity for police to discuss target areas and also a chance for community leaders to express any concerns that their community has over police matters. If you have any issues, please contact me and I can forward your concerns to police. For example, this meeting I was able to table concerns brought to my attention by residents of the Upper Allyn to do with criminal and anti-social behaviour experienced by the residents over a considerable time.

Hunter Water Corporation (HWC) Customer and Community Advisory Group (CCAG)
Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Graham Wood gave a rundown on HWC’s Corporate Scorecard. These are measurements that HWC uses to gauge the corporation’s performance in key areas such as customer satisfaction, revenue and of course water usage and savings. HWC customers have performed better than expected with the level 1 water restrictions, using 12-16% less water than what would be expected given the prevailing conditions.

However, if the weather remains hot and dry, HWC expects to move to level 2 restrictions toward the end of January 2020 and level 3 by the end of summer or towards mid next year.  Transfers of water from the Central Coast have begun as part of a water sharing deal that is triggered by the relevant water levels in the two regions. Plans for building a desal plant have moved to the exhibition of the Environmental Impact Statement. Submissions close 19 December, 2019.

The grace period for enforcement of Level 1 restrictions ends on 16 December, 2019. Large business users have already needed to implement their water management plans. Level 2 restrictions will require medium commercial customers to implement their plans and Level 3 requires all business customers to have their water management plans in place. HWC is working on templates to help those businesses with their plans.

Citizenship Ceremony
Congratulations to our newest Australian Citizens: Sharon, Craig and Kyle Duguid and Lyn Reformina Rizzo. It was such a pleasure to preside over your Citizenship Ceremony, and it was wonderful to meet you and hear about your journey to becoming Australian Citizens. I hope you got as much out of it as I did, thank you for sharing your stories.

Dungog Shire Council Access and Inclusion Committee
I am happy to report this Committee has reconvened. The Committee, which was originally set up to advise Council with Development Applications, needed to change focus with a change of legislation. The Committee needed to become more of an advocacy group for accessibility issues in the Shire. Several issues were raised by meeting attendees regarding accessibility issues, both with Council held and privately held assets. If you have any accessibility issues that you’d like to raise with the Committee, please contact me.

Making your premises accessible make good business sense. I was recently told about a holiday park that upgraded its facilities to being accessible. Occupancy rates increased from 54% to 77% and the park was the recipient of the inaugural Accessibility Award in the recent Tourism Awards. The park owners had spent $5000.00 on the upgrade. These changes benefit everyone, young, old and those with access requirements.

Love Your Library Week 2-6 December
Renew Our Libraries, an initiative of the Public Libraries Association, in collaboration with Local Government NSW is running phase 2 of its campaign. Love your Library Week is encouraging local MPs to visit our libraries and to support on-going funding for libraries. Phase 1 of the campaign was successful in achieving extra funding for libraries. This extra funding has been used by Dungog Shire council to increase our opening hours, a change that we are getting great feedback on.

Dungog Regional Library is a well-loved Council facility, with survey after survey coming up trumps for the library and our librarians, Amanda and Tracy. A recent audit of membership shows that the library is utilised by members right across the Shire and beyond.

As I have flagged earlier, Dungog Shire Council has applied for a grant to upgrade and extend the facility. We should hear in the first quarter of next year the success of this grant. We received strong support from the Office of State Librarian in applying for this grant.

Council recently endorsed our support for the Renew our Libraries campaign. I have written letters to our Federal and State Local Members and Minister Don Harwin regarding the need for increased and on-going funding for our libraries from the State Government. We have had replies from both Michael Johnsen and David Gillespie showing their support for our campaign.
Please visit the library this week to show your support of our campaign. More information on the Renew our Libraries campaign can be found at: https://renewourlibraries.com.au/

The latest Author Talk will take place at Dungog Library this Friday, 6 December. Mr Todd Alexander will talk about he and his partners journey from city slickers to farmers and winemakers. He has a great story and an equally good sense of humour.  Come along and join the fun, it starts at 5.30pm.

See You in Clarence Town and Paterson This Week
Just reminder that Council is conducting community engagement sessions this week in Clarence Town (Monday night 7pm at the School of Arts) and Paterson (Tuesday night 6.30pm at the School of Arts).  Please feel free to come along and share your views about the 20-year vision for land use in your town.  Council is required by the State Government to have developed a Local Strategic Planning Statement for the Shire and we thought the best approach was a town-based approach.

Its Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas
Get into the spirit of Christmas this Wednesday, dress up in your best Christmas outfit and come along to the Dowling Street Christmas Party. There will be lots to see and do, including a street parade, jumping castle, street markets by local people, carols, Santa, face painting and the chance to spend locally in the many shops with extended opening hours. Thanks to the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Dungog Shire Visitors Information Centre for supporting this lovely community event.

Regards Tracy Norman

Mayor

Dungog Shire

2 December 2019