Ordinary Council Meeting Tuesday 27 July 2021

27 Jul 2021

Following is a summary of resolutions from the Ordinary Council meeting of Tuesday 27 July 2021. NB: it is not a full record of resolutions.

Lord Mayoral Minutes

Strategies to help ameliorate homelessness in Newcastle

A Lord Mayoral Minute was supported that called for City of Newcastle to receive a report on partnering with NSW Government agencies, Hunter Community Alliance leaders, Soul Cafe and civil society to establish a 24-month pilot of safe rough sleeping zones. City of Newcastle will also work with NSW Land and Housing Corporation to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to expedite the delivery of new and refurbished social and affordable housing, including the exploration of a 'Make Room Project' in Newcastle. The Lord Mayoral Minute reiterated the urgency for City of Newcastle to finalise and implement its Affordable Housing Contributions Scheme.

Infrastructure Australia 2022 Infrastructure Priority List

A Lord Mayoral Minute was carried unanimously that called for City of Newcastle to prepare a submission of 15 infrastructure priorities, including Catalyst Area Projects as outlined in the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036, to seek their inclusion in the Infrastructure Australia 2022 Infrastructure Priority List. It recognised that City of Newcastle's previous advocacy to Infrastructure Australia led to Infrastructure Australia listing the 'Newcastle Airport Capacity Expansion' as a Priority Initiative in 2021, before the project was funded by the Federal Government earlier this year.

Bring Back JobKeeper

A Lord Mayoral Minute was carried that supported a bi-partisan calls from the NSW Treasurer and NSW Leader of the Opposition for the urgent reintroduction of JobKeeper for businesses impacted by the continued pandemic, while also expanding eligibility to casuals, the University sector, local government and the childcare industry. City of Newcastle will write to the Prime Minister, the Federal Treasurer, and their respective Shadow Ministers, along with the Federal Member for Newcastle, advising them of the City’s position and advocacy.

Ordinary business

Adoption of Draft Community Infrastructure Incentive Policy

Council voted to adopt the Community Infrastructure Incentives Policy, which is designed to enhance the delivery of community infrastructure to support urban renewal in Newcastle through the provision of development incentives.

A Planning Proposal will be prepared to amend the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 and the Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 to enable implementation of the Policy, initially focussing on supporting implementation of the Wickham Masterplan.

Newcastle Art Gallery Expansion funding options

Council voted to endorse borrowing up to $22.6 million by way of low-cost loan over 10 years as the preferred funding pathway for the expansion of the Newcastle Art Gallery. A Loan Borrowing Report will be separately submitted seeking Council approval to borrow funds from NSW Treasury Corporation (T-Corp), including a capital expenditure review in accordance with Office of Local Government guidelines. City of Newcastle will continue to seek Federal and State grant funding up until the time of borrowing loan funds from T-Corp to ensure all available grant funding options have been exhausted prior to commencing the project.

Frederick Street, Merewether - proposed raised pedestrian crossings

Council resolved to approve raised pedestrian crossings on Frederick Street, Merewether, at Coane Street and at Berner Street.

Acquisition of Part 64 Mackie Avenue, New Lambton

Council voted not to acquire part of the property known as 64 Mackie Avenue, New Lambton for road widening purposes.

Investment and Borrowing Policy annual review

Council voted to adopt the draft Investment and Borrowing Policy and in doing so terminate the previously approved Investment and Borrowing Policy. Investment Policy Guidelines issued by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, May 2010, recommend that a council's investment policy be reviewed, and any amendments approved, by council resolution annually.

Authorisation for signing of the annual Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2021

Council noted that the preparation of City of Newcastle’s Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2021 is underway and upon completion they will be referred to CN’s Auditors, NSW Audit Office. Council voted to authorise the Lord Mayor, a Councillor, the Chief Executive Officer and the Responsible Accounting Officer to sign the Statements by Councillors and Management at the conclusion of the external audit.

Hunter and Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel temporary membership

Council voted to appoint a second planning expert to replace the Director Governance as a temporary City of Newcastle representative to the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel for one matter only, being consideration of the rezoning review following Council’s decision to not endorse a Planning Proposal to rezone 505 Minmi Road, Fletcher.

Notices of Motion

Vandalism of New Lambton parks

Council adopted a notice of motion to express frustration and disappointment at the vandalism of local parks and sporting fields in New Lambton by a motor vehicle. The motion noted previous efforts to prevent illegal vehicle access and vandalism, including the installation of large sandstone blocks along Birdwood Street in 2020, and a commitment to install sandstone blocks to restrict vehicle access from Orchardtown Road. It called for witnesses to come forward to ensure those responsible for the damage of public property can be held accountable.

Improving connectivity between Wickham and Wickham Park

Council adopted a notice of motion to write to Transport for NSW and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment seeking support to temporarily open a pathway across the Bullock Island Rail Corridor between Wickham and Wickham Park, and for ongoing acquisition negotiations between City of Newcastle and Transport for NSW to be prioritised.

Property development

Council adopted a notice of motion calling on the CEO of City of Newcastle to submit this motion to the LGNSW Conference in support of the adoption of a policy which prohibits property developers and their close associates from holding office as local Councillors in NSW. The motion also called for the CEO to write to the NSW Premier and the Minister for Local Government in support of a bill on the same topic, which was passed by the Legislative Council and is currently before the Legislative Assembly.

Development notification for boarding house residents

Council adopted a notice of motion to write to Boarding House operators in the Newcastle Local Government Area advising them of a new notification process to ensure their tenants are reasonably notified of a Development Application relating to the Boarding House. This includes requiring the operator to advise boarders that a DA has been lodged, place a copy of the DA application in a common area of the Boarding House and notify boarders when the DA has been determined, including the outcome.

Best practice employment conditions for construction workers undertaking City of Newcastle projects

Council adopted a notice of motion to ensure that all major construction projects for Council are undertaken by organisations with current Enterprise Agreements registered with the Fair Work Commission. The motion noted that the best employment conditions and work health and safety standards are often achieved as a result of the collective power of trade unionism, and the ability for workers to take collective action and negotiate their terms of employment through Enterprise Agreements.

Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster

Council adopted a notice of motion to request a briefing from NewH2 - Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster on opportunities for City of Newcastle to support and accelerate the emerging hydrogen economy locally, and receive a report regarding options including but not limited to developing and maintaining supporting infrastructure, connecting local businesses with industry, and early adoption of hydrogen technologies for specialised uses within Council operations.

Protecting our urban forest through an aerial bundled cabling program

Council adopted a notice of motion that notes City of Newcastle's commitment to achieving the best outcome for the City's urban forest by working with Ausgrid to identify key sites where essential service lines and significant tree stands intersect. It noted the need for an Aerial Bundled Cabling (ABC) Program by City of Newcastle and Ausgrid, which identifies priorities and systematically plans for the conversion to bundled cabling or application of other engineering solutions. The motion also called for Council to engage with the Australian Energy Regulator to advocate for funding, including State and Federal funding, for the development and implementation of engineering solutions.

Love Lambton 150 Years - celebrating local community heritage milestones

Council adopted a notice of motion that notes the success of the Love Lambton 150 Years event, acknowledges the volunteers and City of Newcastle staff involved in organising it and recognises the financial support provided by the City, with a call to ensure City of Newcastle annually promotes the existence of its grant programs.