Last week I travelled down to Sydney with my fellow mayors and general managers from MIDROC (Mid North Coast Region of Councils) to meet with several NSW state government ministers about a number of issues of concern. We met Gabrielle Upton Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole Minister for Lands, Forestry, Liquor, Gaming & Racing, Melinda Pavey Minister for Roads, Maritime & Freight as well as several government staff.
We were seeking some clarity around the Joint Organisation announcement, the new legislation around the management of Crown Lands, the handover of the Old Pacific Highway, and the rating of Forestry lands. I was in particularly concerned that there would be further costs to our ratepayers from the handover of the management of Crown Lands and the old Pacific Highway to Council.
I was also seeking some answers about the ongoing funding and make-up of the newly announced Joint Organisations. In addition I asked the question about Forestry paying rates as we have large areas of both our shire and more broadly across our region that are unrateable. Although we did not come away with the answers we were seeking at this meeting, being able to approach these issues as a united group was very empowering and I hope we can continue to work together in the future for the benefit of our communities.
HOMES FOR OUR FUTURE
Council has been out and about engaging with the community over the past month as part of its Growth Management Strategy review process. Community Information Sessions were held in Dorrigo, Bellingen and Urunga last week and Council Planners set up a stall at the recent Urunga, Bellingen and Dorrigo community markets.
A number of targeted meetings have also been held with key stakeholders including development industry professionals, seniors groups and local Aboriginal Land Councils regarding specific matters of interest.
Over the next few months we will be continuing our engagement process so, if you are part of a group that has an interest in how we should grow in the future please make contact with council to request a meeting. We have deliberately chosen to engage for a three-month period to hear from as many people as possible. You can also make your views known on the Homes for Our Future project on the Create Community Engagement Hub at http://create.bellingen.nsw.gov.au.http://create.bellingen.nsw.gov.au.
Until next time
Cr Dominic King
1 June 2018