Last Week, the Deputy Mayor Victoria Boag, Director of Finance and Corporate Services Stephanie Waterhouse and myself attended the Local Government NSW Annual Conference in the Hunter Valley. The annual conference was held over three days, with around 700 hundred representatives from various Councils in NSW. I was pleased to hear about the announcement of the ‘Infrastructure Betterment Fund’ which I believe is a much more sustainable way of delivering disaster relief recovery for roads. Under the existing disaster recovery funding arrangements, infrastructure like roads can only come under recovery funding if the damage done is repaired to the same state that it was previously, which means repeated recovery works, instead of changing the infrastructure design to prevent further damage and repeated repairs. The Betterment programs will promote changes in rebuilding infrastructure in a way that makes it less likely to need repeated repairs and assist in preventing it being wiped out every time there is a natural disaster.
The continuous flooding in our Shire is having a real impact and causing significant damage to our roads, businesses and many farm crops and livestock. The Bogan River peaked again at a new height of 4.26 metres in Nyngan last week with more rainfall predicted in the coming week. The Macquarie and downstream Duck Creeks and Gunningbar Creek are also causing major flooding issues in the north and east of Nyngan. With so many roads cut it will be very difficult to even assess the conditions let alone the repairs needed before harvest. When it eventually dries out road assessments will be undertaken.
The ongoing flooding over Canonba Road has meant the Nyngan Waste and Recycling Facility has had to remain closed for a period of time now, which has created frustration and concern in the community. With this in mind, Council has now placed skip bins at the showground for the community to use for general household waste and household green waste rubbish, hopefully deterring any illegal dumping by people who have been unable to visit the Waste Facility. Council has also resolved last week to trial a bulky kerbside collection where residents will be able to have large items such as furniture and white goods collected for disposal. This is a service the community has raised with Council over the years and Council had originally considered it back in 2020. A waste contractor will likely conduct the trial and if this works well it could be a service Council will continue to offer.
As you would all have been made aware the shortage of nursing staff at the Nyngan Multipurpose Health Service continues to be a frustrating and concerning issue for the health and safety of our community. At last week’s Council Meeting, Council resolved to bring this matter to the attention of the Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and our local Member Roy Butler. Prior to last week’s Council meeting the General Manager and myself met with Nyngan Multipurpose Health Service Manager Jenny Griffiths and expressed to her that Council and the community was 100 per cent behind them to support them through this situation that has eventuated over a five year period due to employment and staffing changes. Through the Alliance of Western Councils we will push for the matter to be addressed at a NSW Government Level. It is a totally unacceptable that 5 out of our 6 inpatient beds are closed.
We began last week’s Council meeting with a minutes silence for two well-known local people Judy Richards OAM and Brian ‘Sketa’ Field. Both Judy and Brian had worked for the Shire in the past. Judy was also one of our Order of Australia medal recipients, having a long connection with local racing and very involved within the community. ‘Sketa’ was well known Shire operator for many years, no one who drove passed his property on the Mitchell Highway at Christmas time each year could miss his mailbox display with Santa on a motorbike. Both Judy and Sketa will be greatly missed by the Nyngan Community.
Mayor, Bogan Shire Council