Mt Royal Fire
I am very pleased to hear that the Mt Royal fire has been officially declared under control by the RFS. While the cooler conditions and rainfall have greatly assisted, it has been the herculean efforts of RFS members, working aside National Parks and Wildlife, Forestry and other emergency services personnel that has kept this fire at bay for the past few months and protected life and property. Thank you from an extremely grateful community to all who have worked tirelessly on this fire.
Visit from Greg Warren
Cr Jan Lyon, Dungog Shire Council General Manager (GM), Coralie Nichols, and I met with Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren and his advisor, Melanie Dagg. We spoke about a number of issues currently effecting Dungog Shire.
You may recall, Council recently wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Michael McCormack, regarding funding for drought relief for our community, in response to several requests from our farmers. I had previously written to then Federal Minister for Agriculture, Ms Bridget McKenzie, when the first round of funding was announced, to be told that funding was based on rainfall deprivation data and overall economic effect of the drought, which we somehow did not meet. Dungog Local government Area (LGA) recently missed out on a further round of Federal funding. We have written to request that we be considered for the supplementary funding that is to be provided to LGAs that have previously missed out on drought relief funding. Greg has agreed assist in our lobbying efforts to the Deputy Prime Minister for a share of this funding for Dungog Shire.
We also updated Greg on the current status of Brig O’ Johnston Bridge and the next moves, as I described in last week’s update. He has asked to be kept abreast of the situation and promised to assist in any way he can.
There has been some conjecture spread in the community regarding funding shortfalls for our roads and bridges due to the large commitments being made by both levels of Government in response to bushfire damage. I have had no discussion with anyone in either level of Government that suggests any promised and on-going funding will be put at risk and I asked Greg if he had been given any indication of this. He had recently had a meeting with the NSW State Minister for Regional Roads, Mr Paul Toole, and was also given no indication that this would happen.
Funding promised to Dungog Shire includes $16 million for our wooden bridge replacement project, funding for Tillegra and other bridges in the Shire, $25 million to finish work on Clarence Town Rd between Raymond Terrace and Dungog (this includes $20 million Federal funding, honouring a promise made in 2011 but never followed up, plus $5 million from the State Government), $8.8 million from the Federal Government from Brig O’Johnston Bridge, adding to previous commitment from the State Government of $5.5 million. We have also been promised by the former Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey, to be prioritised in the roads reclassification process, which will see our 124 km of regional roads being returned to state control, with Council being contracted to maintain this road network.
I will continue, as I have always done, to hold both levels of Government accountable to their election promises made to the residents of Dungog Shire.
The Service NSW mobile service will be visiting Clarence Town this Thursday 23 January between 9 am and 3 pm. It will be at 48 Grey St and provides the following services:
- Driver licence, photo card applications and renewals
- Driver Knowledge Tests
- Working With Children Check applications
- Applying for birth, death and marriage certificates
- Cost of Living service to access more than 70 government rebates and savings
The Mobile Service will also be at Clarence Town on Thursday 19 March and Thursday 28 May.
Library Author Talk – Patrice Newell
Dungog Library is very pleased to announce its first author event for 2020.
Patrice Newell has written numerous books on farming and agriculture. Her new book Who’s Minding the Farm? addresses food security in an era of rapid climate change. Patrice and her husband Phillip Adams own Elmswood, 10,000 acres of prime agricultural land in the Upper Hunter Valley town of Gundy where they run cattle and produce organic olive oil, garlic & honey. Patrice, a former model and news presenter, is a passionate sustainable land manager and writer/researcher, dedicated to developing and communicating improved agricultural systems and innovations in an era of rapid climate change.
Patrice will be at Dungog Library on Wednesday 19th February at 10:30am.
This event is free, to make a booking, call the library on 4992 1819. You won’t be disappointed.
I will be at Clarence Town Markets this coming Saturday, 25 February from 8am to noon, and at John Tucker Park Paterson the following Saturday 1 February, from 9am to noon. Please come and discuss any concerns or ideas with me.
Given that Council is preparing the Local Strategic Planning Statements, which will guide future development decisions, I am particularly interested in hearing from you about your ideas for the future of your towns/places, and what is important to you to maintain, such as heritage, the natural environment or other features and also what you would like to see changed/improved upon.
Regards Tracy Norman
20 January 2020