Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My Councillor Questions 25 June 2018



At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on June 25th 2018, I asked the following questions on the following topics:

1.     Animal Control
-         In light of the Murrurundi community’s concern regarding loose and dangerous dogs, does council believe that we are living up to the draft DPOP statement found on page 162 in the section “This is how we measure it” … and I quote “animal control functions provided to the community at levels that meet their expectations” are greater than 90%? Over at least the last 6 months Murrurundia residents have raised many instances of dog attacks resulting in deaths to pets and livestock, and I have been informed that many Murrurundi residents feel that council is doing nothing to remedy this alarming situation.
-         Please can I have a complete breakdown of monies from the years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, that were allocated and used for animal control … down to the last bag of kibble?
-         When are we going to insulate the cat section of the pound? And can we please not look at using fans as a summer solution for cooling the area. We all would agree that sitting in a tin shed in 40+ degrees is not optimum.
-         What is the purpose for the big empty shed which is situated at the dog pound area?

2.     Library
-         The technical services librarian whom we share with Muswellbrook Council, has resigned and the Upper Hunter Shire Council Library Services Advisory Committee requests that Muswellbrook Council (1) fills the position as soon as possible for the remainder of the maternity leave position, and (2) provide a report to the Upper Hunter Shire Council on the allocation of tasks and hours provided by the technical services librarian? The Upper Hunter Shire Council pays a significant sum of money for the services of the technical services librarian and we appreciate them, but we will not be happy to wait until next January 2019 for a new one to be appointed.
-         Are the Cassilis, Aberdeen, Merriwa and Murrurundi libraries deemed operational land or community land?

3.     Tomra Cleanaway and the EPA
-         Has council had any feedback from the EPA in relation to disability access to the Return and Earn machines? I have been in communication with TOMRA cleanaway and they inform me that their new machines being installed have disability access, and that they are working on a solution to provide like access to their old machines. Could council perhaps communicate with TOMRA cleanaway and suggest that they swap our 6 month old machines with their new ones as we are not happy that still not all residents in the Upper Hunter Shire can use their ‘old’ machines.’

4.     Code of conduct
-         How much did the 2017 code of conduct matter cost to the Upper Hunter Shire community? The community has a right to know.

5.     Bypass
-         In relation to the Scone Bypass, the Scone community is gravely concerned. Scone is not being bypassed; it is being cleaved into two. Many residents feel that there has been a lack of communication and information from both the Upper Hunter Shire Council and the RMS. Many residents of Scone are justifiably concerned about the irrevocable change that is on Scone’s horizon. There are many questions being asked by Scone residents, and they want answers before the bypass constructions works begin.
-         Residents of Aberdeen and Wingen Streets want to know what is the RMS going to do about the trucks crossing Liverpool and Aberdeen Streets as these trucks cart gravel to the golf course/bypass building-site? The residents had a meeting with the RMS this morning and they were informed that this issue is a council matter. So what is the UHSC going to do?
-         Residents of Aberdeen and Wingen Streets want to know what is the RMS going to do about the St Aubin’s Street intersection and the increase in traffic along this part of Scone? At the same meeting with the RMS this morning, the residents were told this issue is nothing to do with the RMS but again were informed that this issue is a council matter. So my question is what is the UHSC going to do about the increase in traffic on these quiet local roads as a result of flowing off and on the St Aubin’s Street intersection?
-         Many residents are concerned that sodic soils throughout the Scone floodplain will have an impact on the bypass infrastructure and its longevity. Is council concerned about the levels of high sodicity that may affect embankment stability and plasticity?
-         Is council concerned about the potential of low wet-bearing strengths?
-         Has the RMS conducted proper and thorough assessments of both current and future soil and landscape factors and processes in order to reassure the Scone community that the Scone Bypass is to be constructed and maintained appropriately?
-         Has the RMS considered the likelihood of gullying as a result of poor sodic soil management in the Scone bypass area which could also affect many hectares of adjoining property owners’ land?
-         What is the Scone Bypass’ design life?
-         What protections are in place for the stand of river red gums which are an endangered ecological community (EEC)?
-         Are the RMS engineers properly and expertly acquainted with soil science?
-         In light of these questions, can the Upper Hunter Shire Council seek an interim injunction to halt the building of the Scone Bypass until the Scone community has the answers to their questions? I, myself, feel very poorly briefed on this matter, and still wonder why Scone is getting a bypass when Muswellbrook and Singleton are not, notwithstanding that both Muswellbrook and Singleton wanted them so much more that we did. We wanted safe and efficient passage for emergency vehicles.

6.     Refugees
-         In light of recent distressing images of children being separated from their parents at US borders, it comes as a salutary reminder that our human rights record for asylum seekers and refugees is none too kind. Would council consider writing to our local member to suggest that he makes representations on our behalf to close down the Manus Island and Naru refugee processing centres, and to open up refugee processing centres here in Australia in order to administer refugee/asylum seeding claims. I understand that we need to have limits on immigration but to outsource this sensitive process overseas where matters are conducted behind closed doors is horrific and inhumane, and it does not sit well with me that it is done in my name, our name.

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