Ready to accept the final council merger decision
SEVEN months after the State Government stated its intention to merge Oberon Council and Bathurst Regional Council, we remain in a holding pattern with no clear timeframe or indication as to when, or if, the merger will proceed.
The merger proposal has both its supporters and detractors. For some, their concerns lie in the unknown, in the changes the merger would bring to the local government landscape in this region.
However, change is a constant and, some would say, a requirement for growth and progress in any community. Such was the experience as a result of the merger of Evans Shire and Bathurst City Council.
Bathurst Regional Council remains ready to accept the State Government’s decision for reform into local government, indeed a notion that was supported by the majority of NSW councils in 2011.
The rationale for merging any local council area is to enhance opportunities and deliver quality services, amenity and infrastructure, create financial efficiencies and provide scale and capacity across the entire local government area.
As the Oberon and Bathurst merger proposal continues without a clear outcome, it often becomes difficult to remain focused on the real issue: that the merger provides the opportunity to improve facilities and services for all residents of the council area.
The decision to proceed with the merger lies with the State Government. Bathurst Regional Council has always maintained that it will support and accept the decision handed down, and if that is to merge, our objective will be to make the merged entity a great success and to participate in the necessary reform required in local government.
Bathurst mayor Gary Rush
High quality care for a better quality of life
ACTIVITIES and celebrations will be held worldwide this Saturday for International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD).
The NSW Government is committed to continue to look for new ways to support people with a disability in relation to independence, care and employment.
In 2010, the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to recommend options for a national disability scheme that would “enhance the quality of life and increase economic and social participation for people with disability and their carers”. This was the birth of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The NDIS will fund long-term, high quality care and support for people with significant disabilities, better link the community and people with disabilities, provide information, and ensure quality assurance and best practice among service providers.
The scheme will also give people with disability choice and control over the support services they receive.
When the NDIS is fully operational, an estimated 140,000 people with disability in NSW will be able to access support, including 50,000 people who do not currently receive any disability support.
NSW was the first Australian state to sign up to the NDIS and is currently preparing for the full roll-out of the scheme, which will be completed by June 30, 2018.
We’re building confidence
IN the latest sign of the strength of the NSW economy, official ABS data has confirmed annual spending on construction has passed $50 billion for the first time.
The data showed construction spending (which includes residential, non-residential and engineering work) in NSW had risen by 12 per cent over the year.
The NSW economy is powering ahead and much of this strength is due to the State Government’s unprecedented spending on infrastructure, totalling more than $73 billion over the next four years.
The infrastructure spend is in turn encouraging private investment, creating jobs and confidence.
All of this unrivalled activity is creating more jobs and spurring more confidence in our economy.
Building construction (including residential) hit an all-time high, with $32.9 billion of construction in the last year.
Focusing on safety
NSW has been a standout road safety performer for many years, but the recent spike in road fatalities is concerning.
Driver education and training is often seen as only relevant to the young, however, it is time to examine the role of education and training for people of all ages, wherever they live, and however they use their vehicles.
A new parliamentary inquiry will examine the role of whole-of-life driver education and training to support improved road safety.
It will examine the effectiveness of refresher training and educate drivers about changing vehicle technology.
The inquiry will also look at the needs of driver trainers – those who work for driving schools, private operators, and parents and friends who train drivers and currently have limited support.
Submissions to the inquiry close on Monday, February 20, 2017.
More information is available on the Staysafe committee website at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/staysafe