Mayoral Update

Assets tour
Councillors and Council staff completed their tour of the Shire on Saturday, looking at assets like bridges, roads, halls, playgrounds and parks. Staff spoke about issues that need addressing and decisions by Council and some up-coming works. Councillors also heard about wish-list items for improvements if we can secure funding.

Hunter Councils Conference and Strategic Planning Day
Acting General Manager (GM), Shaun Chandler, and I attended the annual Hunter Councils Con-ference and Strategic Planning Session (part 2) last week. As a group, the Hunter Councils Joint Organisation is determining regional priorities for the next few years, and identifying ways that the Local Government Areas (LGAs) can collaborate for positive outcomes across the region.

One priority, which is a national issue is what we do with recyclable material. Hunter Councils wants to remain on the front foot with this issue. Hunter Councils has formed a working group and a technical working group to find solutions.

Late last year Economic Development and Tourism Officer, Ivan Skaines, and I attended a work-shop on developing a Regional Events Strategy. This concept is being further investigated by Hunter Councils. A coordinated approach to the growth of the tourism and events sector throughout the region will benefit all the Hunter LGAs, no matter what their economic profile. Dungog Shire will have a voice when it comes to any future strategies.

Advocacy, for issues like transport, health and education services and other regional priorities, were also discussed within the context of devising the strategic direction that Hunter Council Joint Or-ganisation will follow.

Hunter Water Corporation (HWC)
Deputy Mayor, Digby Rayward, and I met with HWC’s Managing Director, Jim Bentley, and Ex-ecutive Manager Corporate and Legal, Peter Kembrey, to explore ways that we can work together more closely. HWC has many assets within the Shire, and is reliant on our catchments as a major water supply for the Lower Hunter. The need to keep these catchments healthy does put imposts on our Shire’s development prospects, but it also provides opportunities to explore innovations in sus-tainable development, in conjunction with HWC. We discussed some opportunities along these lines, as well as the need for certainty with planning matters that require HWC input. Jim and Peter indicated a willingness to work more closely with us, and to improve consultation with us on all things water in the Shire.

From Michael Johnsen’s Office:
Hunter Local Land Services within the Upper Hunter electorate is conducting workshops for farm-ers.  The Lower Hunter Producer Update will provide targeted advice … for landholders managing property and livestock in the current deteriorating conditions.
This half day event will focus on topics to assist and update producers, as well as providing peer social support during these challenging times.

Topics will include:

  • MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia) update on markets, objective measurement & MSA (Meat Standards Australia)
  • Processor update
  • Weaning management & early weaning advice
  • Important animal health information
  • Pasture planning & producer experience with pasture improvement

Event Details:
Wednesday 21 February
9am – 1.30pm
Venue – Tocal Agricultural College
RSVP via phone: 02 4930 1030, or via this link: https://hunterlls.wufoo.eu/forms/z1dlv8wm16sc5dd/

For further information contact:
Kirstin Bisley: 0438 593 875
Justine Baird: 0428 107 206

“Every Child Deserves a Chance!”
The 'Chances' program provides opportunities for children, in the Shire, to participate in a chosen activity and learn new skills. The program has been running through the Dungog Shire Community Centre since 2015. A number children have been taught how to swim, joined a Sport team or gained access to related educational equipment since the program began 3 years ago. 'Chances' promotes self - esteem, skills extension and a healthy life style. If you would like to support this wonderful program by donating funds or equipment please contact DSCC on 4992 1133.

Don’t believe everything you read
If anyone reads the Port Stephens Examiner, please rest assured that there’s been a little misquoting going on. I assure you that I did not say we’d be using any decision Port Stephens makes this week, on a voluntary merger, as a step to re-open merger discussions with Maitland. We do not have a mandate to do any such thing.


Regards
Tracy Norman
Dungog Shire Mayor

12 February 2018