The OROC Board meeting in Mudgee last Friday enabled all 12 Councils to hear some presentations of importance to all our communities as well as deal with other business of relevance to Local Government. OROC's Executive Officer, Belinda Barlow does a great job in organising presentations and preparing an agenda that makes attending these quarterly meetings worthwhile.
The 12 Councils cover an area of over 200,000 square kilometres, which is 25 percent of NSW. With a total population of only just over 118,000, OROC has to be effective to attract a fair share of attention and resources from the Government, which is constantly being lobbied by much higher population centres especially in the Sydney basin and coastal area.
Gary Worboys, Deputy Commissioner Regional Field Operations, and Geoff McKechnie, Assistant Commissioner Western Region, from NSW Police gave the meeting an update on policing policy including officer numbers. The NSW Auditor General, Margaret Crawford also gave an address outlining new arrangements for additional oversighting of all Councils in NSW. Peter Halyburton from Energy and Management Services was able to again present options for Councils to consider as we try to get the best possible results for our communities concerning street lighting charges and ownership.
The Lower Macquarie Water Utilities Alliance's Project Officer, David Swan presented a new deed of agreement to include Central Darling Shire's membership and Mid-Western Regional Council's membership as well as Dubbo Regional Council's name change to reflect the merging of Dubbo City and Wellington Council. This successful alliance has grown from 6 Councils in 2008 to 13 now and is considered the benchmark for how to provide high quality water supplies and sewerage services to rural and remote communities.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW and Natural Resources, Rick Colless MLC was in attendance and committed to coming to future meetings, which hopefully will help in keeping our issues in front of the Government's decision making as he reports regularly to Cabinet. As well as providing an opportunity for input into some strategic planning documents, which Governments seem so keen on these days, the meeting enabled our new General Manager, Glenn Wilcox, to catch up with the region's General Managers and Mayors.
On Wednesday Paul Metcalfe, Zone Manager of the North West Zone of the NSW Rural Fire Service and Paul Smith the Regional Manager were in town for the official opening of the new Gillendoon shed at Glenrowan and long service medal presentations to Jim McCalman, Tony Walker and Barry Beach. Their combined total of 180 years service is indeed remarkable. Later on a similar presentation was made at the Warren Headquarters Brigade Station to Shaun Doughty, Phillip Fuller and Shay Stephens, which coincided with the official handover of a new tanker valued at over $409,000 taking the total value of the Warren Brigade's three (3) vehicles to over $800,000. However, the real value is in having well trained volunteers ready willing and able to operate the appliances.
NRF (Rex) Wilson OAM
7th August 2017