Council update Tuesday 24 March

24 Mar 2020

Following is a summary of the Ordinary Council Meeting for Tuesday 24 March 2020. NB: it is not a full record of resolutions.

Lord Mayoral Minute

A Lord Mayoral Minute to develop a Community and Economic Resilience package to assist Novocastrians through this period of unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 was supported.

A report on the proposed package was presented to council and adopted. City of Newcastle in consultation with key stakeholders has developed a two-phase community and economic resilience package in response to the evolving COVID-19 crisis which will be implemented.

Ordinary business

Public Exhibition of Draft Our Budget 2020/21 (Delivery Program 2018 -2022 and operational plan 2020/21) and draft fees and charges 2020/21

Council resolved to place the draft 2020/21 Our Budget (2018-2022 Delivery Program and 2020/21 Operational Plan) on public exhibition.

Appointment of voting delegate for the 2020 National General Assembly of Local Government and Endorsement of motions.

Council has voted to appoint the Lord Mayor or delegate to exercise Council’s voting rights at the 2020 Australian Local Government Association’s National General Assembly. The Australian Local Government Association is the national voice of local government, representing 537 Councils across the country.

Adoption of Fern Bay and North Stockton Strategy

Council has voted to adopt the Fern Bay and North Stockton Strategy and Implementation Plan.

Proposed road closures – 35 Robert Street and 22 Annie Street, Wickham

Council voted to close a section of road reserve at John Street, Wickham, and sell the land as two separate parcels. The sale revenue will be transferred to City of Newcastle’s ‘Works Program: Specific Projects’ internal reserve.

Executive Monthly Performance Report

Council has received the Executive Monthly Performance Report for February 2020.

Notices of Motion

Submission to review Disability Inclusion Act

A Notice of Motion to prepare a submission to the NSW Government's Review of the Disability Inclusion Act was supported by council.

The submission will support ongoing funding to Newcastle based disability advocacy organisations (including Disability Advocacy NSW and Community Disability Alliance Hunter) and will convey its concern regarding the lack of NSW Government funding to implement the mandated Disability Inclusion Action Plans, that are required under the Act.

The submission will also note the impacts of the changing demographic profile of Newcastle, including its ageing population, which increases pressure on local government to provide accessible services without any additional Government funding.

The Future for Waste

A Notice of Motion on the Future of Waste was supported by councillors. The NOM notes the release of two Issues Papers (Cleaning Up Our Act – The Future for Waste and Resource Recovery in NSW and Redirecting the Future of Plastic in NSW) by the NSW Government. It also notes that City of Newcastle paid $32.7 million in the s88 waste levy in the last financial year, and received $176,290 in NSW Waste Less, Recycle More grants (equal to just 0.6 per cent of waste levy paid).

Councillors voted for the City to make a submission to both Issues Papers, consistent with its previously adopted positions, encouraging the State funding to support waste avoidance and recovery, including grants to support councils with major capital, develop a local circular economy, and support for local manufacturing using recycled product and to also deliver consistent education campaigns to promote waste avoidance and recycling.

Support of Wildlife Carers

A notice of Motion to support Wildlife carers was introduced with the officer’s recommendation supported. The NSW Government was commended on the creation of The Wildlife Heroes Bushfire Emergency Fund 2019 grant program and the important work undertaken by volunteer wildlife carers to rehabilitate wildlife recognised. The supported recommendation also notes the important work undertaken by the City’s Blackbutt Reserve volunteers who focus on animal care and education activities.

Social infrastructure, the community pantry

A Notice of Motion to install a ‘community pantry’ was introduced with the officer’s recommendation supported. In consultation and collaboration with Newcastle’s network of Specialist Homelessness Service providers council will identify potential uses of community assets for the distribution of outreach hampers, parcels and vouchers. It will also explore resources and guidance on the City of Newcastle website to inform the community about grassroots initiatives aimed at helping homeless people.

COVID-19 response measures
A late Notice of Motion was introduced for Council to provide clear communications to all Newcastle residents on the steps being taken to minimise the spread of the Covid 19 virus and to discuss the provision of financial relief to Newcastle people.