Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has resolved to place its draft 2019 – 2020 Operational Plan on public exhibition and the community is invited to make submissions on the document. The 53 page document includes the Delivery Program, and Council’s proposed budget for the 2019-2020 Financial Year. The only movement in Ordinary Rates for the 2019/20 year is the 2.7%, increase determined by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) through the rate pegging process. The Operational Plan is on public exhibition and submissions will be accepted until 4pm Thursday 13 June.
The Operational Plan is available for public perusal at LPSC’s Administration Centre, at Werris Creek and Quirindi Libraries, and on Council’s website. A copy can be emailed or posted out to residents who make a request by calling 6746 1755 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A further report will be submitted to Council at the completion of the formal exhibition period detailing any public submissions received during the period for Council’s further consideration.
“Liverpool Plains Shire Council is responsible for delivering a wide range of services and facilities to residents, businesses and visitors. The challenge we face, is how to prioritise those services to ensure the needs of our Community are met. The Delivery Program 2017/2018-2020/2021 and Operational Plan 2018/2019 provides the Community with details on what Council plans to do to achieve the priorities of the Community Strategic Plan 2027 and how we plan to fund it. The Delivery Program/Operational Plan is Council’s working guide and is an important mechanism for ensuring LPSC’s decisions and activities are transparent to the community,” said LPSC General Manager, Ron Van Katwyk.
“Council’s planning is governed by the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) Framework set down by the Office of Local Government. The individual elements of this framework include the ten year Community Strategic Plan which provides objectives supported by strategies. The four year Delivery Program is your elected Councillor’s commitment for their four year term, providing strategies supported by actions while the annual Operational Plan outlines the specific actions Council will undertake, providing the direction for Council’s budget expenditure during the financial year. Other items in the IPR suite of documents include The Asset Management Plan, Workforce Management Plan and Long Term Financial Plan.
“To deliver the Community Strategic Plan, Council will continually contribute to and support its responsibilities for key areas of the plan and will maintain its efforts to advocate on behalf of our community in areas that cannot be directly resourced by Council.
“The 2019/20 Annual Operational Plan provides the community a clear view of the actions Council can resource, including services, events and capital works. It is divided into four key Focus Areas or themes being: Social, Governance, Environment and Economic,” he continued.
Mr Van Katwyk said Councils planned Capital Works for the 2019 - 2020 Financial Year amount to $30,525,769 and encompass projects that have been identified by Council and the budget developed for completion of the works during the 2019 - 2020 financial year. The Capital Works projects are listed individually within the Operational Plan budget.
“In developing the Operational Plan, Council noted a number of projects that it currently doesn’t have the funds to deliver but we will continue to investigate further grant funding opportunities. Some of these projects may be selected for development to a ‘shovel ready’ stage to help attract such funding and other external investment should the opportunity arise.
“In accordance with section 608 of the Local Government Act Council, each year, adopts a range of fees and charges and those for 2019/20 are also included within the documents on public exhibition. All of the fees and charges levied by Council have been comprehensively reviewed for the forthcoming year to determine that each charge addresses Council’s obligations. These include; ensuring that community facility charges represent a fair and reasonable cost,” he said.
“Council will continue to ensure we make the best use of our resources and will continue with our service improvement reviews. The aim is that services provided by Council now and into the future are relevant to the Community and financially sustainable in the long-term.
“I extend LPSC’s sincere appreciation to the many community members who have assisted Council and share our vision to deliver the best possible future for the Liverpool Plains Shire. I urge all residents to view the Operational Plan and if they wish to make a submission to do so by the closing date,” Mr Van Katwyk concluded.
Following Liverpool Plains Shire Council’s (LPSC) decision, taken earlier this year, to authorise the Director of Engineering Services, Warren Faulkner, to apply for funding assistance under Round 4 of the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program, Mr Faulkner has advised Council he has received notification that the application has been successful.
Council has subsequently accepted Mr Faulkner’s recommendation to accept and match the Offer of Funding provided by the Federal Government and is moving to formalise a Project Agreement to allow the replacement of the old structure to take place.
“This is great news as the Australian Government will pay half the estimated $865,000 cost of replacing the old bridge with a new, single lane concrete structure built to current Australian standards and with a life expectation of 100 years. Council will contribute the remaining 50% cost of the project,” Mr Faulkner said.
“This is a far better option than the alternative, if our application had been rejected, to repair the current timber bridge by replacing up to 10 timber girders and renewing the guardrail system at an estimated cost of at least $120,000 and that for only a limited lifespan,” he said.
“The project will be undertaken as a design and construct contract and project managed externally. As soon as the funding agreement is finalised, we will be able to commence the preliminaries such as a Review of Environmental Factors and geotechnical investigation as part of the development process to prepare tender documentation for the project.
“Council expects to have the Project Agreement finalised by 30 June and to have awarded a Design and Construct contract by 30 September with construction to commence on site early in 2020,” Mr Faulkner concluded.
Mayor of Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC), Councillor Andrew Hope, has extended his thanks to the many people, who contribute their time to helping build stronger communities through the public consultation process, Local Advisory Groups (LAG) and as volunteers supporting many local organisations that enrich our way of living.
“Almost on a daily basis, I witness things that are being achieved by individuals and organisations and find them very inspiring. On behalf of the whole community I thank them sincerely and I encourage others to join in and help further strengthen the fabric of our towns and villages,” Councillor Hope said.
“There are many examples and two recent ones I’d like to highlight are an initiative from the Spring Ridge community to facilitate exercise classes in the town and A Day in Currabubula with Paul West to be held on Friday 14 June. Both projects received their funding through the New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network Empowering Communities Grant,” he said.
“Through the initiative of Spring Ridge resident, Laura Wilmott, working in collaboration with the LAG and Council, $33,960 has been obtained to underwrite free exercise classes, 3 times a week, for a year, at the Spring Ridge community hall. Initially, the plan is for a class mid-morning, that will include child-care so mothers and carers of young children can easily attend. Two classes will be held after hours. This is a great initiative as it’s a well-known fact that Australia has an increasing problem with lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes, as well as mental health. These issues are accentuated during challenging times such as the current drought,” he said.
Laura Wilmott said she’d spoken with community stakeholders, from a range of demographics, and keen interest was shown for the idea. She said there are a number of people who travel long distances to attend a gym and for many the journey is just too far so unfortunately, they miss out.
“Exercise classes in Spring Ridge will enable members of our local community to access a regular exercise program which will benefit not only their physical, but also mental wellbeing. A bonus is it will provide a meeting time for people to come together and I think that’s very important in rural and remote communities,” she said.
“Councillor Hope said the Spring Ridge community is a proactive one that through power of community has added greatly to public facilities, including a children’s playground and improvements at the recreation ground, to better cater for locals and freedom campers. He said Council is very pleased that Spring Ridge has gained this funding to develop a program that is locally driven and needed and look forward to collaborating with them on other projects in the future.
“At Currabubula, the LAG has secured funding of $13,500 to stage a day, where locals can come together and escape the rigours of the drought for a few hours. LAG chair, Veronica Filby, sums it up when she says, ‘the drought is a struggle for all of us, whether we are young or old or living on a farm or trying to run a business in town, so we wanted to create a day in the village for everyone to enjoy’.
“The day will include a Feel Good event at Currabubula Public School that will provide the students with a great opportunity to take part in lots of fun activities that encourage positive mental health with art therapy, mindfulness, dance, gardening and cooking all to be part of the program. TV celebrity Paul West, host of the popular River Cottage Australia will join the kids on the day and then in the evening he’ll be guest speaker at Currabubula’s 100 Mile Dinner at the Currabubula Pub and Café. This is a great initiative by local people for their local community,” he continued.
“Best results are gained through collaboration. Communities can gain a lot by working together, collaborating with their Council, State and Federal Governments and other agencies to gain funding through a multitude of programs designed to build stronger communities. Both Spring Ridge and Currabubula communities have shown what can be achieved and other communities can benefit in the same fashion.
“People who would like to see their communities grow and prosper can become involved with their LAGs as a first step. They provide an opportunity to discuss ideas in a friendly and constructive environment. LPSC’s Economic Development Officer, Ian George, is available to advise our communities and organisations on funding sources that may be available for well thought out projects that will provide long term benefits for the community. He can also put you in touch with contacts for your local LAG. Ian can be contacted on 6746 1755 during business hours,” he said.
“It is all about harnessing power of community to drive these initiatives towards successful outcomes,” Councillor Hope concluded.
National Volunteer Week (NVW) is the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our volunteers. It runs from 20 – 26 May. Volunteering Australia defines volunteering as time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.
This year’s theme is Making a World of Difference and it certainly sums up the outcomes achieved by the Liverpool Plains Shire’s many selfless, dedicated volunteers,” said LPSC GM, Ron Van Katwyk.
“LPSC is celebrating National Volunteers Week and the community are invited to attend an event on Friday 24 May, to be held at the Emergency Services Precinct, 124 Pryor St Quirindi, between 11am and 2pm, with a free BBQ lunch provided by the volunteers from Quirindi Lions Club. Council is inviting and encouraging all volunteers and the wider community to come along and celebrate our volunteers’ important role in the community and to find out more about volunteering,” Mr Van Katwyk said.
“Not only do we wish to recognise our volunteers on the day, but we’d also like to introduce the public to the local volunteer groups who assist and serve all the people of the Liverpool Plains Shire. The event will be a networking space for local volunteer groups with an opportunity to introduce people to their organisations and a means to recruit new members—no matter the age!” he said.
“The event will provide the opportunity for interested persons, organisations and school groups to attend 20 minute workshops provided by the Rural Fire Services (RFS), the Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA), and the State Emergency Services (SES),” he continued
Mr Van Katwyk said during the workshops members of the community will be able to see;
- The RFS’s fire control room and how it operates;
- Meet a Local Fire Brigade and inspect their truck;
- An SES vehicle tour and chat with the volunteers;
- The VRA demonstrating how their equipment works and how they get into accident damaged vehicles to rescue victims.
“If you’re interested in attending and participating in one of the workshops please contact email@example.com or LPSC’s Community Events Officer, Andrew Ballard on 6746 1755 so numbers can be confirmed for different sessions and catering purposes. You can also call Andrew if you have any other queries. Members of the community can join volunteer organisations on the day if they’d like to contribute to the community and help make that world of difference,” he said.
Mr Van Katwyk said on Tuesday 21 May, from 11.30am to 1pm, the Home Support Service (HSS) will host a sausage sizzle at Sunset Park, Werris Creek, and all volunteers are most welcome to attend. The event will celebrate what a gift to the community volunteers are. For more information and/or to confirm your attendance please contact the HSS on 6768 7505,” he continued.
“Volunteers are worth their weight in gold. They share their time and talents, so it is vital to acknowledge their contributions and to let them know how much we appreciate them.
“This year we celebrate 30 years of National Volunteer Week. Established in 1989, National Volunteer Week was the first collaborative attempt to promote volunteering nationally and LPSC is very proud to have been involved throughout the years,” he said.
“Figures from the 2016 census reveal Australians collectively, in a one year period, volunteered 932 million hours in their local communities. Those volunteers annually contribute an estimated $290 billion to the national economy, yielding a 450% return for every dollar invested. In addition, many Australian volunteers have worked overseas in developing countries, since the 1950s, through community and government supported programs.
“On behalf of the Council and the entire LPS community I thank and congratulate our local volunteers for their amazing contributions. Not all super-heroes wear capes and while there is no ‘I’ in team we sure are glad there is ‘U’ in our volunteers,” Mr Van Katwyk concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) is developing a LPS Arts and Cultural Plan. Rob Gebert Arts Consultancy has been appointed to work with Council and the community in the preparation of the Plan. It will provide a framework for the future development of arts and cultural activity across the Shire’s communities.
LPSC Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope said Rob will be undertaking a series of Arts and Culture consultative workshops, within the community, at the end of May. He said Council is encouraging community members interested or involved in arts and culture to attend one of them.
The consultative workshops will be held:
Monday 27 May - 4pm – Quirindi - LPSC Council Chambers
Monday 27 May - 7pm – Currabubula - War Memorial Hall
Wednesday 29 May - 4pm – Spring Ridge – Community Hall
Wednesday 29 May - 7pm – Willow Tree - War Memorial Hall
“The workshops provide an opportunity for community members to provide input to the vision for the future of arts and culture in the Shire, to identify the needs of the community and to develop ideas and initiatives as part of the Plan,” Rob Gebert said.
“Everyone is welcome to attend the workshops whether you are a consumer, participant or creator of arts and cultural activities,” he continued.
Councillor Hope said the arts, culture and creative initiatives are significant for the development of rural communities in the economic, environmental, social, and education domains.
“Council’s aim is to build long-term sustainability for arts/culture and creativity through appreciation of local culture, history and heritage, local people, assets and characteristics as well as positive attitudes and local entrepreneurship.
“Please come to one of the consultative workshops and help us create an Arts and Cultural Plan that will serve our community well into the future,” Councillor Hope concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) is once again supporting the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards which have just been launched for 2019. The search for community champions has begun.
“The awards highlight and reward the contributions that individuals, groups, organisations and businesses make towards building stronger local communities and a vibrant State,” said Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope.
“To submit a nomination, go to www.awardsaustralia.com/nswactraca and select ‘Nominate Now’. Alternatively, you can call the award’s organisers on 1300 735 445, provide details and they’ll take it from there,” he said.
Councillor Hope said there are 7 categories seeking nomination:
- Awards Australia Connecting Communities Award - recognises grass-roots, ‘real life’ initiatives led by local community groups or not-for-profits.
- Department of Planning and Industry Crown Land Manager Excellence Award.
- Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award – searches out the spirit of innovation through the application of technology or process improvement to demonstrably enhance production and increase efficiency, maximising returns along the value chain, particularly where that value flows back to the primary producer.
- Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award - recognises and acknowledges businesses, organisations and not for profits who have a strong focus on staff engagement, safety and wellbeing, training and providing staff with higher learning opportunities.
- Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award - recognise individuals that provide customer service excellence, best practice and innovative thinking in customer service.
- TransGrid Leadership Award - acknowledges role models who through their leadership pave the way for others to follow.
- Wholistic Financial Solutions Small Business Achievement Award - will acknowledge and highlight the successes and achievements of small businesses, whilst also recognising their community contributions.
“Seven category winners will be presented with $2,000 and a trophy, the other category winner will receive Television exposure on PRIME7 and a trophy. Every nomination will receive a certificate of achievement,” Councillor Hope continued.
“The Shire has innovative, entrepreneurial and community spirited people who deserve recognition amongst their peers from around Regional NSW. Many of these people are quiet, unassuming achievers so they will only get the recognition they deserve if others in the community take a few minutes to nominate them.
“For assistance please feel free to call the Awards Office on 1300 735 445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org,” he concluded.
Mayor of Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC), Councillor Andrew Hope, has welcomed the upgrade that has taken place to the internet service at Quirindi Library, with installation of the NBN being completed last week.
“I’m sure the many people who utilise internet services at Quirindi Library will welcome the NBN which is providing fast, 80 megabit download speeds,” Councillor Hope said.
“It is planned that Werris Creek library will be similarly upgraded to the NBN by October,” he added.
“The 80 megabit download speed will greatly enhance the user experience when you consider browsing the web, for example, requires about 1-2Mbps, streaming video in SD about 3Mbps, and streaming in HD about 5Mbps. To stream video in 4K quality you need about 25Mbps,” he said.
“The new NBN connection was supplied by NSW.net and TPG Internet. They supply the majority of internet to Council Libraries throughout NSW. NSW.net is a State Government body who help Councils and public libraries with free services as well as supplying a 50% discount to the internet costs for all libraries that have an account through TPG. This provides an excellent cost saving to the local community plus a super-fast and reliable service for our library lovers. This service is managed by the State Library of New South Wales to help libraries build better connected communities.
“NSW.net currently provides all NSW public libraries with free access to twelve state-wide online databases, covering a broad range of topics including the arts, science, literature and health,” he continued.
“LPSC acknowledges the important role that libraries play in the community. One of Council’s first projects, when the Shire was formed, was building the library facility that Werris Creek now enjoys. We are currently in the planning stages for the redevelopment of the Quirindi library precinct that will provide more floor space and provide an enhanced library experience for all users. In this knowledge age, it is important that our libraries adopt relevant technology, as it becomes available, to allow them to continue their important function in our community. The modern library is a lot more than just books,” Councillor Hope concluded.
Up until close of business on Wednesday 15 May, residents are invited to make submissions on a proposal for Long (Recreational) Vehicle parking in the Railway Square Carpark. The plan is currently on display at Council’s Administration Building and Quirindi Library.
“This proposal is examining the installation of three designated parking bays, in the Railway Square Carpark in Quirindi, for use by long RV (recreational) vehicles as part of a solution to establish long vehicle parking as suggested in Council’s Recreation Vehicle (RV) Strategy,” said LPSC Director Engineering Services, Warren Faulkner.
“As part of a solution to satisfying this requirement, the railway square carpark is considered to be the most suitable location within the Quirindi CBD as it is an off-street carpark, has good access and egress and is easy for longer vehicles to manoeuvre through,” he said.
“As these vehicles come and go randomly, it is difficult to quantify how many RV spaces are required in Quirindi. Once some dedicated parking is provided, it will place Council in a better position to monitor utilisation of parking bays and make a further assessment on how many spaces might realistically be required.
“The plan is for three spaces to be provided, initially by a simple line marking exercise, located in an area where extra spaces can easily be provided if required. As such, the suggested location for three RV spaces is at the northern end of the centre aisle parking in Railway Square, on an angle to assist ease of parking a long RV,” he continued.
“To ensure a balance is provided between the existing need for car parking and the provision of specialised RV parking, counts have been undertaken to assess the current level of parking and the impact that any dedicated RV spaces might have on availability of parking for normal use.
“The proposed RV parking area for three, 3 metre wide parking bays will result in the loss of 12 existing bays in the centre aisle. The carpark counts, over a four week period, show that the maximum occupancy at any one time left 24 bays available. Hence, present usage is still able to be easily accommodated if 12 spaces are converted to 3 RV parking ones,” he said.
“Submissions on the policy should be forwarded to the LPSC General Manager by 5pm on Wednesday 15 May.
“The period of public exhibition of this plan allows for community comment to be made on this issue. The matter has also been referred to the Local Traffic Committee for comment and technical advice. Their comments, plus public submissions, will be reported back to Council for consideration before making a final decision on the proposal.
“When the report goes back to Council, a proposal to dedicate some long RV parking as parallel parking on George Street opposite the IGA supermarket in Quirindi will also be considered,” Mr Faulkner concluded.
A detailed report on the proposal was provided to Council at its Ordinary Meeting on 17 April and can be accessed on Councils website by opening the Council Papers link. For further information on this proposal, please contact Mr Faulkner on 6746 1755 during business hours.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) is undertaking a wide spread mains flushing program, in part of the Werris Creek water supply reticulation system, to help clean them of any dirt, debris, iron and manganese build-up, and dirty water remnants resulting from recent incidents. The exercise will be undertaken during the week following Easter.
“The flushing program is a proactive step to deliver clean water to the resident’s taps. Residents may experience a temporary drop in pressure during flushing. The process itself also creates a short term dirty water situation and discolouration may occur after flushing. Residents are advised to check their tap water before commencing washing or drinking,” said LPSC Water Services Manager, Rod Batterham.
“Residents may also experience ‘cloudy’ water which can occur when air enters the water. This will dissipate fairy quickly when placed in a glass and provides an assurance it is just air. If discoloured water is present, a short running of an outside tap, preferably the furthest from the water meter, to flush the consumers own system should suffice to clear the colour.
“If the problem persists, however, residents are asked to contact Council, on 6746 1755, to allow the crews working in the field to rectify the issue during business hours. Please avoid calls outside of hours as response at these times is costly to the whole community and should be avoided,” he continued.
In acknowledging the current dry conditions, Council will endeavour to capture as much of the flushing water as possible into a water cart to then use beneficially on locations such as David Taylor Park to irrigate grassed areas. Flushing water cannot be used on residents’ lawns and gardens as the water will be expelled at force and could damage plants during flushing if directed onto them.
“Council apologises for any inconvenience; however, this exercise should improve the situation in Werris Creek once completed. Residents can contact LPSC Water Services Supervisor, Garth Parker, on 6746 1755 during business hours, if they if they have any enquiries,” Rod concluded.
The following Council facilities will be closed for the entire Easter Long Weekend (Friday 19 April to Monday 22 April inclusive) and on Thursday 25 April for Anzac Day:
Council Administration Office
Quirindi Home Support Service
Service NSW Agency
Werris Creek Library
Eastside Childcare Centre
Landfills (except Quirindi)
The Liverpool Plains Visitor Information Centre, Willow Tree will be closed on Good Friday only and will open on all other days.
Quirindi Library will open on Saturday 20 April and will close for all other public holidays.
Quirindi Landfill will be closed on Good Friday and Anzac Day and will open on all other days.
Werris Creek Home Support Services (HACC) will be closed from Friday 19 April to Thursday 25 April inclusive.
DOMESTIC WASTE AND RECYCLABLE BIN COLLECTIONS
There will no changes to waste and recycling service pick-ups within the Liverpool Plains Shire area over this period.
FOR ALL EMERGENCIES PHONE 6746 1755 AND FOLLOW THE PROMPTS.
The following road closures will take place on Anzac Day to facilitate the various events:
- Dawn Service Werris Creek – 5:00am to 6:15am, Anzac Parade between Single Street and Henry Street
- Dawn Service Quirindi – 4.45am and 6.30am George Street between Henry Street and Pryor Street, Station Street between Pryor Street and Dalley Street and Pryor Street between George/Station Street and Church Avenue
- Morning March Willow Tree – 8:45am to 9:15am, New England Highway between Eipper Street and Sisson Street
- Morning March Werris Creek - 10:00am to 12:45pm Single Street between North Street and Poole Street and Anzac Parade and Coronation Avenue both between Single Street and Henry Street
- Morning March Quirindi – 11.00am to 11:45am. George Street between Thomas Street and Henry Street. Roads closed between 10:00am to 12:30pm, George Street between Henry Street and Pryor Street, Station Street between Pryor Street and Dalley Street and Pryor Street between George/Station Street and Church Avenue.
Friends, clients and workmates recently got together for a farewell morning tea held at the Quirindi Home Support Office for two local, long serving Home Support Services staff and to wish them well in retirement.
“Kay Wheeler and Maureen Harrison have provided dedicated and caring support to those requiring it in our community through what was Home and Community Care (HACC) and is now Home Support Services (HSS). They were very popular with the clients and wider community and will be sadly missed by all whom they interacted with,” said LPSC GM, Ron Van Katwyk.
“On behalf of the community, their clients and LPSC I wish them both the very best into the future and thank you for a job well done,” Mr Van Katwyk concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope, has welcomed the appointment of Anne Baily as the Shire’s Drought Coordinator.
“Anne has joined the team as a result of $38,842 funding, received through the Drought Communities Program, to engage a support officer to manage drought funding and assist drought-affected community members with support and information. Anne can be contacted during business hours on 6746 1755,” Councillor Hope said.
“Amongst Anne’s duties as the Drought Coordinator will be to project manage all funding under the Drought Communities Programme including liasoning with contractors, Council staff and community members, plus keeping the community informed on progress of projects as well as being the first point of call for community members looking for drought assistance,” he said.
“Anne will oversee the Drought funding projects developed for public facilities and amenities including $404,128 for upgrades to and refurbishment of amenity blocks, installation of barbecue and camp kitchen facilities at the Shire’s Freedom Camping areas, installation of air-conditioning units at community halls in Blackville, Warrah and Wallabadah and installation of a water tank at Blackville hall.
“Anne will also be responsible for the roll out of new tourism signage across the Shire, the $71,455 project to install solar powered emergency lighting and associated equipment required for night operations of emergency helicopters at the Liverpool Plains Emergency Services Precinct to ensure 24/7 operational capacity and the $90,000 Currabubula Water Tank Argumentation project,” he continued.
“All of these projects were developed following extensive public consultation, held late last year, to determine the community’s wishes as to how funding received should be best invested to provide short-term support to our drought impacted communities. It will help boost local employment and procurement as well as addressing social and community needs driving the dollar further in our towns and villages,” Councillor Hope concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has received an update on progress in relation to the Quirindi Library Precinct redevelopment project. In 2018, Council was successful in gaining $200,000 from the Public Library Infrastructure Grant Program towards this project.
“The Quirindi Library, in its current form, has served the community well over many years however, expansion of services during this time has resulted in the need to increase available floor space in order to better serve the community into the future. In recent years ongoing community consultation has indicated the need for such an expansion to be a priority,” said LPSC Economic Development Officer, Ian George.
“LPSC has developed long term plans to revitalise the overall precinct area, including an additional library/community space in the former real estate office.
Our Sister City, Blacktown City Council has kindly provided, at no cost to LPSC, architectural services and drawings and these were forwarded to a Council engaged draftsperson to develop the plans required for the Development Application (DA) and its public exhibition which took place between November 5 and 19, 2018,” Ian said.
“Community consultation has been an important part of this project. Following the public exhibition period for the DA there were no submissions received from the public however submissions from the State Library of NSW (SLNSW), Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and library staff were reviewed by Council and applicable changes were made in consultation with the draftsperson,” he continued.
Following these amendments, they were forwarded to SLNSW and LPSC library staff for additional review with State Library suggesting a further change relating to ensuring library staff can supervise all areas safely. The next and final step with the DA assessment is to have the draftsperson make amendments based on the SLNSW suggestions.
“The project will be delivered in stages with Stage 1 being the upstairs ground level floor. When the draftsperson completes the amendments, a builder will be engaged to establish the preliminary scope of the works within the current available budget,” he said.
“Further funding will be required to complete the following stages and Council is currently investigating and pursuing grant opportunities in this regard.
“Research over recent years has reinforced community feedback of the importance of libraries as public spaces as well as educational hubs where local residents have access to resources and information. The vision for Quirindi Library is a precinct that is genuinely welcoming to all, a safe
place to go for everyone, that is indiscriminating, a place of equality and company, providing a hub of learning and knowledge that is the heart, mind and soul of the community,” Ian concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope, says the ongoing drought crisis highlights the value of the $4,825,000 investment in providing the Quirindi to Willow Tree water pipeline and the projects accompanying infrastructure.
“There is no doubt we would have had to be trucking water, at great expense, into Willow Tree during drought conditions such as we are currently experiencing if the pipeline hadn’t been built,” Councillor Hope said.
“There were sceptics a few years ago who scoffed at the scope of the pipeline project, to overcome Willow Tree’s water woes, suggesting that a new bore would suffice. Before committing to the pipeline LPSC extensively investigated the bore option finding water levels may have provided sufficient yield for stock purposes but were inadequate to supply the village’s water supply needs and to cater for any increase in demand. Taking this all into consideration it was deemed the best option to drought proof the village with a reliable, quality water supply was the pipeline. The State Government accepted this premise and Council was successful in gaining funding through the NSW Water Security for Regions Program,” he said.
“The first real test on the pipeline, after it was commissioned, was the tragic fire that destroyed the Willow Tree Bowling Club. The system easily provided water for the duration of the fire and drew the water at the reservoir down to just above 70% when the normal operational level is just below 80%. By 3am the system had fully recovered even while the Rural Fire Service continued mopping up operations. Additionally, there was no drop in pressure and the Quirindi Supply was not affected by the extra demand to draw water down to Willow Tree. The system proved its reliability and worth,” he continued.
“LPSC’s vision to prepare for greater reliability and water security continues with the ongoing $25 million+ Quipolly Water Project to replace the old Water Treatment Plant and pipeline for Werris Creek. The dryer, hotter weather we experienced over summer brought on events, increased algal blooms and water ‘turning over’ in Quipolly Dam, of an extent never previously experienced. This has resulted in the planning once again having to be modified to ensure the most appropriate, technologically advanced water treatment facility, that can handle such events in the future. Whilst this has caused more minor delays, it is fortunate we have gained this experience before construction begins. We are getting closer to the point where contracts can be finalised for work to commence,” he said
“In looking further ahead Council isn’t resting on its laurels. Forecasts of hotter conditions, more extreme heatwaves and prolonged drought highlight the requirement for a critical analysis that audits current sources and availability of water, to identify supply, security and access issues now and potentially 20 years into the future. In collaboration with our Namoi Unlimited JO partners the Water for the Future project is being undertaken. It will provide advice on the issues, opportunities and impacts for agriculture, agricultural products, commodities, supply and value chains, as well as services that are dependent on water security and supply. Agriculture is the Shire’s primary industry, so it is crucial we focus on and set directions to support agriculture and innovation into the future as well as the security of domestic supplies,” he continued.
“Various experts and industry analysts have n recent years touted fresh water as the ‘new gold’. Various factors, ranging from climate change to increasing populations and industrialised agriculture have increased the demand for clean water. Globally, societies have to become more water-efficient and LPSC is endeavouring to ensure our community, through these projects, is well placed to meet future requirements,” Councillor Hope concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council General Manager, Ron Van Katwyk, and TAFE NSW Regional General Manager, Kate Baxter, have signed a Statement of Intent between the two organisations to recognise a training and development partnership at the TAFE NSW Quirindi Connected Learning Centre (CLC).
“As part of the partnership, TAFE NSW has been identified as the preferred training provider to deliver eight courses to more than 90 Council employees. LPSC will utilise the CLC for workshops and employees will also be assessed onsite in the workplace,” Mr Van Katwyk said.
“LPSC is committed to providing opportunities for young people to gain hands-on qualifications locally, that can open a path for them to gain local employment, and TAFE NSW is helping make this a reality,” he continued.
“We recently welcomed Lucy Sadler, Cody Mackenzie and Jack Crombie to the LPSC team to begin their trainee/cadetships. They’ll spend part of their time undertaking courses at TAFE and part getting practical experience with other Council staff,” he said.
“LPSC recognises the importance of providing opportunities for the Shire’s young people to get training and work experience locally and their trainee/cadetships with Council will provide them with skills that will allow them to develop career paths in local government. We are also keen to further develop skills for others in our workforce as part of our strategy of succession planning.” he continued.
“Council has been working towards these goals for some time and we’re pleased to have forged this partnership with our local TAFE as another milestone in rolling the program out,” Mr Van Katwyk concluded.
Lucy Sadler (trainee Financial Support), Cody Mackenzie (Building Maintenance trainee), LPSC Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope, and Jack Crombie (trainee Information Technology) at the TAFE NSW Quirindi Connected Learning Centre for the signing of the Statement of Intent.
Good progress is being made on the works that will see an upgraded and fully sealed road between Willow Tree and Merriwa completed by September this year, weather permitting. Funding for this project is supported by $5.5 million from the NSW Government, $5.4 million from the Federal Government and $1.1 million from Liverpool Plains and Upper Hunter Shire Councils.
LPSC Director Engineering Services, Warren Faulkner, said earthworks on the project are 70% complete with a target of May for completion of the remaining 30%. He said drainage structures are 60% complete and it is planned to have them finished by early June.
“LPSC has 3 kilometres of unsealed pavement remaining to be upgraded to sealed pavement and we expect to commence the sealing of the first 1.5 kilometres, the lower section, by late April,” he said.
“You get some idea of the scope of this part of the project when you realise these works require a change in elevation of 200 metres and more than 30,000 cubic metres of rock and earth to be moved,” he continued.
“When the road is fully sealed it will provide a more direct, all weather route, connecting two major highways, the Golden Highway and New England Highway, cutting travel distances about 44 kilometres, and removing the requirement to travel via Scone,” he said
“This link will provide substantial benefits for local cattle producers, grain producers and transport operators allowing them to reduce overall costs.
“It also provides potential tourism benefits. It is a very scenic route that will attract more drivers, grey nomads, caravaners and holidaymakers coming this way from the central-west of the State,” he continued.
“Once completed this $12+ million upgrade will provide an additional important link in our road network that is wider, safer and able to accommodate our ever increasing transport requirements,”
Mr Faulkner concluded.
Youth Week 2019 is being celebrated from the 10 to 18 April and Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) is encouraging its youth to participate in local events being held during that period.
“The theme this year is Coming Together to Connect, Share, Speak Out and Celebrate and that is exactly what we encourage our youth, an important sector of the Shire’s demographic, to do. Our youth are part of Australia’s future, they contribute much to our community, their efforts are appreciated, and it is acknowledged they face many challenges undreamt of by earlier generations as they make their way in life,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope.
Youth Week Events;
- Wednesday 10 April – Youth Film Festival – Royal Theatre Quirindi, 6 to 7.30pm – See 20 of the best short films by regional Aussie youth.
- Tuesday 16 April – Youth Fun Night – David Taylor Oval Werris Creek, 4 to 8pm – Free fun, games, food and entertainment.
- Tuesday 16 April – Free Skateboarding Workshop – Quirindi Skate Park, 10.30am to 3pm – Morning, 20 minute learn to skate sessions – Afternoon, Best skate, scooter and BMX trick competition.
- Wednesday 17 April - Free Skateboarding Workshop – Werris Creek Skate Park, 10.30am to 3pm – Morning, 20 minute learn to skate sessions – Afternoon, Best skate, scooter and BMX trick competition.
- Wednesday 17 April – Free TFSS Family Fun Movie Day with goodies to give away – Royal Theatre Quirindi, 10am to noon.
- Thursday 18 April – Big Sis, Lil Sis Program – Royal Theatre Quirindi, 9am to 3pm – Movie screening, food, games and activities for school aged girls.
“Youth Week allows us all to celebrate young people, 12 to 24 years, and their contribution to our local communities. It is now the largest annual youth participation event in Australia.
“Let’s all celebrate our young people during this event and throughout the year support them, encourage them and provide them with opportunities to express their views and act on issues that affect their lives,” Councillor Hope concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has noted and approved variations to its 2018/19 budget as outlined in its 2nd quarter Budget Review and noted and accepted the relative progress made as outlined in the status of its 2nd quarter Operational Plan targets.
“The quarterly budget review acts as a barometer of Council’s financial health in relations to its budget for the financial year. It discloses Council’s overall financial position, providing the information necessary to enable informed decision making while ensuring transparency in the decision making process. It provides the tool by which councillors can ensure that Council remains on track to meet its objectives, targets and outcomes as set out in its management plan / operational plan,” said LPSC GM, Ron Van Katwyk.
Council adopted the original budget included in the Annual Operational Plan for 2018/19 in June 2018. Any changes to the budget must be approved by Council at a later Ordinary Meeting. The annual budget is the means by which Council controls resource allocation and revenues as per the objectives set out in its Annual Operational Plan. Constant monitoring and updating of the budget is therefore important for sound financial management. This report is in compliance with the applicable sections of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005,” he said.
“At a high level Council’s projected financial position at the end of the financial year will be satisfactory. LPSC has been undertaking a restructure and updating of its financial management systems now for some time and currently making the changes necessary to provide even more detailed analysis to further improve the capacity required to make the sound management decisions modern local government demands,” he continued.
Mr Van Katwyk said every year, Council adopts a yearly Operational Plan which details the activities to be engaged in by Council during the year as part of the delivery program and quarterly reviews provide updates on the extent to which the performance targets have been achieved. He said all targets in the Operational Plan 2018/19 are determined through the Community Strategic Planning process and that this review showed the majority of targets listed in the Operational Plan are on track with large projects requiring ongoing action during the 2nd half of the financial year.
“Again, this is an area where we are implementing change and senior staff have participated in a workshop with staff from the Office of Local Government to develop strategies for the continual improvement of Council’s Planning and Reporting documents. Many of the outcomes from this workshop will be implemented in the 2019/20 Operational Plan,” he continued.
“Reporting back to the community about progress being made via these reviews, providing updates and progress reports towards achievement of Community Strategic Plan outcomes, and financial performance against the annual and longer-term budgets are all part of the way Council is accountable and transparent to its community.
“Interested persons can find the full reports via LPSC’s February meeting papers, online at http://lpsc.nsw.gov.au/index.php/my-council/council-papers-meeting-minutes,” Mr Van Katwyk concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has approved a financial and in-kind support request made by the Willow Tree Bowling Club Inc. for assistance with fees related to their development application (DA) to rebuild their clubhouse, following the structure being destroyed by fire in January 2017.
“Council agreed to support the rebuild with $10,000 following an application for that amount submitted by the club to the LPSC Community Funding Program.
“The $10,000 will effectively cover the club’s section 94A contributions incurred through their Development Application (DA) as well as part of the fees for other associated approvals including the Construction Certificate,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope.
“Council’s Cultural and Events Advisory Group was supportive of the submitted application and considered that the proposal met the necessary criteria under the funds rules. They sent their recommendation to Council and it was endorsed unanimously,” he said.
“Prior to its unfortunate destruction by fire, the Willow Tree Bowling Club was an iconic local facility, community focal point and meeting place. It was also very convenient for travellers staying at Willow Tree’s then newly opened Freedom Camping area and when reopened it will again add to its amenity,” he continued.
“Council is pleased that the redevelopment of the clubhouse will again see this important Willow Tree facility providing its important function for the community. We acknowledge the efforts of the Club committee towards reaching this goal,” he said.
“The Community Funding Program aims to encourage a broad range of activities and initiatives to be undertaken for the ultimate betterment of the community. This $10,000 from the fund will benefit the Willow Tree community in achieving their goals,” Councillor Hope concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has completed the initial assessment of written correspondence and survey results to its Local Environmental Plan (LEP) review. Council is currently undertaking the preliminary assessment of over 50 requests received from landholders as part of the consultation process. In coming months, further discussion will be undertaken with landholders and then Council will consult with the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) before a Draft Planning Proposal and recommendations are presented to a Council meeting later in the year.
“202 responses were received to the community survey with responses from Ardglen, Caroona, Currabubula, Mount Parry, Quirindi, Spring Ridge, Tamarang, Wallabadah, Warrah, Werris Creek and Willow Tree. 65% of respondents utilise their land as their primary residence, 4% business and 31% as both. 36 people requested to have their property zoning reviewed via the survey,” LPSC GM Ron Van Katwyk said.
“In addition to the surveys, 10 landowners and/or their consultants contacted Council via email or letter and there are 27 submissions regarding heritage listing amendments, dwelling entitlements, minimum lot sizes and rezoning,” he said.
“The preliminary assessment shows 95% of respondents own their property and 58% said there is not enough residential zoned land for house blocks in towns/villages. The majority think residential zoned land should be located close to towns/villages and within a 5km radius of them.
“68% indicated they don’t think there are enough small rural/lifestyle blocks of less than 40 Ha zoned as residential. Respondents noted that the additional small rural/lifestyle should be located near towns, villages and roads at Willow Tree, Werris Creek, Currabubula, Quipolly and between Werris Creek and Quirindi and Wallabadah and Quirindi. 76.58% indicated a need for small blocks of less than 5 Ha, 68.47% see a need for medium blocks of 10-20 Ha and 45.05% large blocks of 40 -50 Ha,” he continued.
“General issues raised in the survey include, any review of dwelling entitlements be consistent with surrounding parcels of land and a focus, keeping in mind an ageing population and a need to attract investment, on smaller blocks. A review of possible impacts from flood and bushfire throughout the Shire, a need to further reduce red tape associated with development applications (DA) and a review of the general cost associated with planning activities. Several respondents called for no further rezoning of farming country,” he said.
Mr Van Katwyk said that LPSC will continue to consult with proponents and applicants in the weeks to come. He said overarching State environmental laws must be considered on all matters raised so everyone has to keep in mind there are limitations on what can legally be incorporated into the final draft plan, which itself will be put on public exhibition and open to submissions, before it is adopted and sent to the State Government for ratification.
“From day one of this project Council has consulted with many key stakeholders, including real estate agents, stock and station agents, builders, planners, developers, the Liverpool Plains Business Chamber plus the wider community. We will continue to do so as the review process continues and until a final draft LEP is adopted as the basis for sound management of the environment that encourages sensible development that encourages increased economic activity,” Mr Van Katwyk concluded.