Media Releases & Exhibitions
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has advised Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) that it will commence level crossing road surface renewal and track reconditioning at Waverley Road level crossing between Kamilaroi Highway and Mystery Road, Caroona.
The project is scheduled to occur from 7am Monday 8 February to 6pm Thursday 11 February, weather permitting. The works will be continuous, both day and night. Site preparation works will commence approximately 3 days prior to commencement. The preparation works will occur within standard hours.
During the actual maintenance works, Waverley Road, between the Kamilaroi Highway and Mystery Road will be closed to all traffic with detours in place. Light vehicle access will be provided for residents and emergency services by way of pilot escort around the worksite via a temporary bypass road.
LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, is requesting that motorists who use Waverly Road as a through route be aware of the project taking place and to allow extra time to travel via the detours provided. He is also urging local traffic to drive with extra caution, to drive to conditions and to ensure the safety of work crews.
This maintenance work will involve the removal of the existing bitumen level crossing. The level crossing will be reconstructed with a concrete road surface. ARTC will also be carrying out track maintenance either side of the level crossing.
ARTC have advised that these works will be noisy, may generate dust, will utilise light towers for night work which will be positioned to shine away from residences. The project will be under traffic control. ARTC will implement measures to manage their impacts on the community.
ARTC have also advised they will schedule noisy work for daytime hours where possible and turn off machinery when not in use to minimise noise. Water carts will be used to reduce dust generated from site traffic and carry out visual inspections to help manage dust impacts.
Councillor Hawkins said the works are being undertaken to maintain a safe and reliable rail network. He said the timetable for the works is subject to change due to unplanned or unexpected events such as operational changes or heavy rain. He added that anyone requiring more information can email enviroline@ARTC.com.au or call 1300 550 402.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has called for tenders for the new Quirindi Showground pavilion. Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, said interested parties should go to www.tenderlink.com/lpsc for more details.
“The new pavilion will have amenities/showers, a change room facility, a first aid room, and a new canteen/kitchen. It will provide 960m² open space for show and other events,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“The tenders close February 2, 2021 at 10am,” he continued.
Councillor Hawkins said the new pavilion is being funded, along with other projects at the precinct, as part of the $2.6 million Council secured through the State Government’s Showground Stimulus Funding Program.
“The redevelopment of the showground precinct is a major project being undertaken following extensive consultation with showground user groups. Many organisations from around the Shire utilise the facilities and it is an important hub for many events,” he said.
“During the past week replacement of the trotting track fence and installation of a new rodeo arena has commenced.
“A new amenities block has already been constructed and an old bore has been recommissioned to provide an additional source of water for irrigation of the precinct,” he continued.
“Additionally, the works to be undertaken include construction of new club rooms and a kitchen to service Polocrosse, Pony Club, Campdraft and Rodeo events, and the redevelopment of fields to provide for campdraft and rodeo plus a new show jumping arena.
“Other aspects of the project are the replacement of the PA system, a new all-weather access track to campdraft and rodeo facilities, re-purposing the existing Pony Club building into an office, improved signage, creation of a new pedestrian and spectator entrance, extension of a shared pathway and refurbishment of the ticket box,” he said.
“The Showground is the heart and soul of a rural community. It is a community hub providing multi-use facilities and this redevelopment will improve safety and enhance community enjoyment bringing people together for a broad range of events plus the extra benefit of boosting the local economy,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
At its last meeting, Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) adopted its 2019-20 Annual Report. The report is available on Council’s website here.
As part of its Integrated Planning and Reporting framework, Council is required under section 428 of the Act and clause 217 of the Regulation to prepare an Annual Report detailing its achievements in implementing its Delivery Program. The Annual Report contains a copy of Council’s audited Financial Reports and such information prescribed by the Regulation or the Office of Local Government’s Integrated Planning and Reporting Guidelines.
In 2019-2020, Council committed to delivering an ambitious program of works, projects and programs and despite the impact of COVID-19, close to 85% per cent of actions contained in the Operational Plan were either successfully delivered or are on track to being completed during 2020-2021.
This result is testament to the effort and energy of Council’s staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to make the Liverpool Plains an even better place to live, work, invest and visit.
LPSC has remained firmly focussed on delivering positive outcomes for the community. In addition to delivering a $4.3 million Capital Works Program, Council has completed a series of grant-funded projects across the region, including improvements to the Currabubula Recreation Reserve, Quirindi Showground, Werris Creek Swimming Pool, and Spring Ridge Oval.
Through extensive engagement and consultation with the Shire community, Council completed a series of strategic documents to guide its long-term decision-making, including the Recreation Strategy, Arts and Culture Strategy and Waste Management Strategy. Council thanks all members of the community who participated in consultation activities to shape these strategies.
Establishing strong foundations for success is one of LPSC’s key priorities. Through working collaboratively across all levels of government, including with the NSW and Commonwealth Governments plus the Namoi Joint Organisation of Councils, Council has succeeded in progressing matters of local significance and securing the funding needed to improve local infrastructure.
At its December Ordinary Meeting, Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Council adopted its Schedule of Ordinary Meetings for 2021 as required under clause 3.1 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice.
Meetings in 2021 will be held at the Council Chambers, commencing at 2.30pm, as follows;
- Wednesday 3 February
- Wednesday 24 February
- Wednesday 24 March
- Wednesday 28 April
- Wednesday 26 May
- Wednesday 23 June
- Wednesday 21 July
- Wednesday 25 August
- Wednesday 22 September
- Wednesday 27 October
- Wednesday 24 November
- Wednesday 15 December
“Council meetings are open to the public with strict COVID-19 safety measures in place. If you wish to attend a Council meeting, please read the COVID-19 Safety Plan here and register your details by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins.
“All Council meetings are webcast live via YouTube. It is simple to access the live meeting and they are archived so if the meeting time is inconvenient you can access them at a time of your convenience. Go to YouTube and type in Liverpool Plains Shire Council. You are encouraged and welcome to subscribe to the channel. On meeting days, get online a few minutes before 2.30pm and you’ll see the meeting listed and ready to stream when it commences,” he said.
“Council holds a Public Forum prior to the commencement of each meeting, during which members of the public may address Council on a matter or issue listed on the meeting agenda for consideration. To speak at a Public Forum, you must first apply using the Approved Form here” he continued.
“Each meeting follows an order of business and a Business Paper is produced and placed on Council’s website several days before the scheduled meeting. These can be accessed at http://www.lpsc.nsw.gov.au/index.php/my-council/council-meetings.
“Each item to be discussed is supported by a written report. These reports detail the issue and any matters that are to be considered to arrive at a recommendation,” he said.
“On occasions, due to unforeseen circumstances, meeting dates may need to change, and the community will be advised accordingly.
“Sometimes meetings need to be held outside the adopted schedule to allow Councillors to meet other commitments. If this happens the meeting is called an Extraordinary Meeting of Council. An Extraordinary Meeting can also be called if a matter needs to be determined urgently. Again, the community will be advised when this occurs,” he continued.
“Council meetings are a vital part of the decision-making process of LPSC. I invite residents and encourage them to attend to familiarise themselves with the way Council makes decisions,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
During the past year, volunteers from the Rural Heritage Village in Quirindi have contributed many hours of their time to restore a c1914 Sunshine Harvester for Sister City, Blacktown City Council. Upon completion the historic machine will be returned to Blacktown to be displayed. LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, visited the Heritage Village and inspected the progress on the project with the President Bob McInnes.
“I saw this old machine, in a pretty sorry state, when our friends from Blacktown brought it to Quirindi. The team at the Heritage Village have done a fantastic job on the restoration project and Bob told me there’s a couple of cosmetic things still to complete and the seed box will be refitted.
When completed representatives from Blacktown will come to Quirindi to pick the harvester up and return it to Blacktown. The harvester holds great importance both for its place in the development of secondary industry in Australia and also for the industrial relations aspect of the Harvester case of 1907 which laid the groundwork for the establishment of a minimum liveable wage in Australia,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“This has been a mammoth task and one Village volunteer told me that Bob alone has probably contributed over 250 hours, ably assisted by Geoff Ingall. Parts that were needed for the restoration can no longer be procured, so Scott Taylor in the blacksmith shop set to work along with metal fabricator Ian Saunders to produce them. It really has been an impressive team effort,” he said.
Heritage Village Secretary, Cedric Greyson, said the volunteers were very pleased to undertake the restoration as a way of giving back to Sister City Blacktown who contribute so much to this Shire.
“Unfortunately COVID-19 put a stop to the annual Hangi in the Country which sees a large contingent come from Blacktown City which underwrites the event, but we are hopeful that they will be able to attend the Military Tattoo in March and other events later in 2021,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“Similarly, the Heritage Village has been restricted in its operations, but the volunteers have been hard at work and many improvements have been made to facilities and displays which will enhance the visitor experience when it can fully reopen.
“The outdoor activity of the Miniature Railway is still taking place and they will be operating the trains between 10am and 2pm on Sunday 27 December and Sunday 24 January. It is well worth considering taking the kids for a ride on these dates during the school holidays,” he continued.
“The Sister City relationship between Blacktown City and Liverpool Plains Shire has resulted in many firm friendships being forged and the Harvester project is an example of the cooperation that has evolved through the social and cultural connections that have been established,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, has extended his thanks to the Liverpool Plains Business Chamber (LPBC) for their invitation to attend their pre-Christmas nibbles and drinks evening and the opportunity it provided to social network with small business owners who play such an important part in the Shire economy.
“I was delighted to be able to mingle and to be able to listen to the views of over 40 members representing their business. The LPBC play an important role as a representative umbrella group for local business and I am always interested in hearing their views and exploring how Council can compliment their activities,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“2020 has been an extremely tough year for business operators through the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place. It really has been a further blow for businesses that had already suffered through the impact of drought. I congratulate the resilience so many have displayed through these troubled times,” he said.
“LPSC, through our collaboration with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner, provided the opportunity for local small businesses to participate in various webinars during Small Business Month that provided advice on how to examine new and smarter ways of doing business. Council has also strongly supported the Go Local First campaign. We look forward to being able to continue positive interaction in 2021,” he continued.
“I offer a big thank you to community members who do support local business. Our Shire would be the poorer if we lost the services they provide and the opportunities they provide for local employment. Community support is evident through the 6,922 entry forms submitted during the LPBC’s Small Busines Month Shop Local campaign. Let’s all continue to do our part and to Go Local First,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
According to Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, while Christmas is just around the corner, for many Seniors who don’t have a lot of family support or connection with neighbours, the holiday period may be a trying time particularly following the disruptions of the last 10 months caused by COVID-19.
Councillor Hawkins said R U OK? have launched a campaign to connect senior Australians through the gift of conversation.
“The campaign, Your Natter Matters aims to empower our Seniors to reach out to one another to increase their confidence levels and reinforce to them the value of simply asking Are you OK? and lending a listening ear,” he said.
R U OK? Campaign Director, Gennie Sheer, said “a meaningful natter can positively impact feelings of self-worth and self-esteem and make a big difference to someone who might be struggling with life.”
Councillor Hawkins said, the signs it’s time for an R U OK? conversation can be subtle.
“There might be changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour. Someone might tell you they’re having difficulty filling their days or they might be withdrawing from social situations. If we know someone is going through a significant life change that’s when we should make a conscious effort to connect.
“Additionally, some Seniors will experience mental health challenges for the first time and not know how or where to find support. Isolation, grief, changing circumstances and concern about their independence can all increase risk factors,” he said.
Kirrily Lord, General Manager Retirement Living Operations said, “the campaign recognises the breadth of life experience older adults can draw on to support those around them who might be struggling.
“We know that at times, Seniors might be reluctant to reach out so it’s important their peers know when and how to start a conversation that could change a life,” Councillor Hawkins continued.
“Ageing is not without challenges. Health, relocation, loss, isolation or difficulties completing tasks that were once simple, any of these can lead to friends, family members or neighbours becoming disconnected from their community and support networks. Our Seniors have paid their dues, they deserve our support and I’m proud to support the Your Natter Matters campaign. Go to https://www.ruok.org.au/yournattermatters for more information and to download your free guide,” he concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council is seeking community feedback on several key strategic planning documents currently on public exhibition.
With Council having notified the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of its intention to apply for an SRV, it is a requirement that Council’s Integrated Planning and Reporting documents be publicly exhibited and adopted prior to a formal application being submitted.
LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, said the strategic documents, which include Council’s Long-Term Financial Plan and Asset Management Plans, highlight the challenges the organisation continues to face in becoming fit for the future.
“The Long-Term Financial Plan clearly identifies that Council cannot continue delivering the existing range and standard of services our community currently enjoys, while also funding the maintenance and renewal of local infrastructure,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“In addition to modelling the “status quo” of Council’s current income and expenditure and what that looks like over the coming decade, the Long-Term Financial plan models two alternative scenarios which include the introduction of an SRV and how each of those would affect our bottom line,” he continued.
Councillor Hawkins said Council’s preferred scenario, which will form the basis of its SRV application should it proceed, includes the introduction of a permanent SRV of an additional 8 per cent, which includes the rate peg, in 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24.
“While we understand that rate rises of any kind are never welcome, it is clear that without the introduction of the proposed SRV, we will struggle to provide services and maintain infrastructure in line with community expectations,” he said.
“The community owns and your Council maintains an extensive infrastructure network, including roads, bridges, drainage, footpaths and public buildings, but as our Asset Management Plans demonstrate, the cost of maintaining these assets increases as they age,” he concluded.
Public submissions on the documents close Friday 22 January 2021.
The strategic documents can be accessed from Council’s website at www.lpsc.nsw.gov.au, with hard copies available at Council’s Customer Service Centre at 60 Station Street, Quirindi.
For further information about the proposed SRV, visit OurSay Liverpool Plains at https://oursay.org/LiverpoolPlains
According to LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, as Christmas, New Year and school holidays approach, many people will be looking forward to and hoping the festive season presents an opportunity to relax, enjoy time off and celebrate with close family and friends.
“2020 will go down in history as one of our toughest years. Thankfully, we are a resilient community. We’re used to drought and floods, fluctuating commodity prices and at times the flow on effects of these on local businesses and employment. As one of the worst droughts in history reached a climax at Christmas time last year along with the impacts of bushfires with weeks of smoke filled skies, followed by flooding events and damage to infrastructure at the end of January few of us imagined that 2020 would throw a further spanner in the works in the form of COVID-19, which changed the way we live, work, learn, play and travel.
“Yet, we have been fortunate, things could have been far worse. Many parts of Australia have done it much harder than we have. We have remained COVID-19 clear but that does not mean we are immune to the risk of cases and until there is a vaccine we must remain diligent and maintain our self-discipline,” he said.
“In many ways. this past year has highlighted to me how fortunate we are to live where we do, in great communities with people who support one another and together help make the Liverpool Plains Shire one of the most liveable regions in Australia. Let’s continue to stare adversity in the eye and keep hope alive this Christmas. Yes, 2020 has been a tough year, but despite everything there have been many stories of hope. A great example is our volunteers who find another level when the going gets tough, or there are people in need. Your efforts throughout 2020 are greatly appreciated you are such an important ingredient in what makes the LPS a great place to live, work and play,” he continued.
“This Christmas consider those who are less fortunate and think of those who may be in need of some extra support. While it can be an enjoyable time for some, it can also present real challenges for others, so remember the compassion Australians are famous for and check in on a neighbour, say g’day to the farmer, and look out for those who may need a kind word or a helping hand.
“I’d be remiss not to thank LPSC’s Management team and staff who have gone far and above the call of duty in 2020. They adapted to COVID-19 restrictions to, where possible, maintain services, and importantly, successfully applied for millions of dollars of grant funding for projects that provide stimulus for the local economy, a boost to local employment opportunities and a roll out of infrastructure projects that will benefit the community in the years ahead.
“I look forward to a New Year full of opportunities, helping deliver Council’s projects and works program, and welcome one of the best seasons our agricultural sector have experienced in a number of years. Every dark cloud has a silver lining and gives us more reason for hope.
“Speaking of hope, I recently read this story that reminded me the past 10 months has impacted people of all ages, but the spirit of Christmas provides hope and a message for all of us,” he said.
In an early Christmas message, as he answers post sent in from around the world, Santa responded to a little boy called David who was worried the festive season would be postponed this year.
The jolly St Nicholas reassured the youngster that Christmas would not be cancelled but to remember, “one of the most important wonderful aspects of Christmas is spending time together” while one of Santa’s helpful elf reminds us all that we should do so while following relevant public health guidelines.
“We are all looking forward to a brighter, healthier 2021. Let’s make the next few weeks a magic time for all. Take care on the roads when travelling, remember to Slip! Slop! Slap! Stay safe around water and share the love and caring we all need.
“I hope everyone in the LPS Shire enjoys the Christmas/New Year holiday period and on behalf of my fellow Councillors, Council staff and my family and I, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year. Take care and best wishes,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, says the response to date calling for nominations for the Shire’s 2021 Australia Day Awards has been disappointing and he is encouraging the community to get nominations for worthy recipients in before they pack up for Christmas, New Year and holidays.
“These are grass roots awards, and they depend on nominations from community members being entered. Many volunteers and organisations have made remarkable contributions, under very difficult circumstances during 2020 and richly deserve acknowledgement. Please help repay their massive efforts by nominating someone you know who is deserving,” he said.
“There are seven categories, Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Local Legend, Sportsperson of the Year, Junior Sports Person of the Year, the Marie Maunder Community Service Award, and the Emergency Services Community Award.
“Full details of criteria, eligibility and the nomination process can be found on the official nomination form. Complete the form online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LPSAUS21. Alternatively, hard copies of the form are available from the LPSC Administration Centre, Werris Creek library and the Visitor Information Centre, Willow Tree. You can request a form be emailed to you by calling the Customer Service Desk on 6746 1755 or via email to email@example.com. Details of how to return completed nominations is provided on the forms,” he continued.
“There are many people who unselfishly contribute many hours of their time towards making our Shire a better place to live, so please spend just a few minutes of your time to nominate them and to let them know they are appreciated,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
This week will see the completion of the project to recommission an old Town Water Supply site to provide an additional source of water for irrigation of the Quirindi Showground facilities. This project supports the redevelopment of the Quirindi Showground, a major project that Council is undertaking and has been funded with $210,000 successfully secured from the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program.
“The Quirindi Showground Redevelopment is great news for the Liverpool Plains Shire community. The facility is used by a wide range of local organisations and is the heart and soul of a rural community. The Showground is a community hub providing multi-use facilities and this redevelopment project will improve safety and enhance community enjoyment plus providing the extra benefit of boosting the local economy,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM.
“The recommissioning of the old bore relieves the need to use treated town supply water for irrigation purposes. Last week, the final installation of electrical wiring occurred as did testing of the new pump into the irrigation system,” he said.
“Commissioning the automation of the pump as well as the telemetry for remotely monitoring the pump for faults has been undertaken. The landscaping of the surrounds is being undertaken this week to complete the project,” he continued.
“The bore installation work was undertaken by local contractors, Brett Holz Electrical, Quirindi Excavations and Quirindi Plumbing, providing stimulus to the local economy,” he said.
“This bore will support the $2,567,950 Showground Redevelopment being funded by a grant Council secured from the NSW Government’s Showground Stimulus Fund. This project includes demolishing pavilions 1 and 2 and replacement with one large multi-purpose facility, construction of new club rooms and a kitchen to service Polocrosse, Pony Club, Campdraft and Rodeo events, provision of new toilet facilities and the redevelopment of fields to provide for camp draft and rodeo plus a new show jumping arena.
“Other aspects of the project are the replacement of the PA system, a new event ring fence, a new all-weather access track to camp draft and rodeo facilities, re-purposing the existing Pony Club building into an office, installation of a new surveillance tower, improved signage, and refurbishment of the ticket box,” he continued.
“The redevelopment project is being undertaken as part of Council’s broader Recreation Strategy and has involved ongoing engagement with our community partners the Show Society and the Showground Users Group. Thank you to all concerned who have contributed to the blue print for a facility that will cater to a wide range of community activities now and into the future,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
Planning is now going ahead for the Liverpool Plains Military Tattoo, to be held on Saturday 6 March 2021. The Military Tattoo is a free event that has developed into a family fun day with a great social atmosphere and 2021 will commence with markets from 4pm with the main event starting at 7pm and followed by a fireworks display after the conclusion of the performances.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins said that since its inception, the LP Military Tattoo has evolved to showcase military bands in exhibition format as well as paying homage to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
“We are now looking forward to presenting it in a Covid-safe fashion in 2021.
“Although it is a free event, those wishing to attend will have to register and you an do that now at https://www.trybooking.com/BMYOP. Avoid disappointment by registering as soon as possible,” he said.
“Although sites for stallholders at the markets are free, potential stallholders must apply for one. Applications are now open at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LPMTM21. Any stallholder who just turns up on the day without being registered will not be allowed to set up,” he continued.
“We are looking forward to 2021’s event being the biggest and best that has been staged to date. Go to the Tattoo website https://www.liverpoolplainsmilitarytattoo.com.au/ for more information or call Council’s Community Events Officer, Andrew Ballard, on 6746 1755,” he said.
“Not only do locals attend the Tattoo, we also have increasing numbers of visitors from our Sister City - Blacktown City as well as from the Hunter, New England and North-West coming along to enjoy a great afternoon/evening’s fun and entertainment. We look forward to you joining us at Longfield Park Quirindi on March 6,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) is set to kick off a comprehensive community consultation process on a proposed rate increase, after having formally notified the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of its intention to apply for a Special Rate Variation (SRV).
LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, said ratepayers would soon receive a flyer containing further information on the proposal, with Council to launch an online consultation site dedicated to the SRV and holding information sessions across the region in the New Year.
“As with many other councils across rural and regional NSW, LPSC is struggling to provide the broad range of services that we do and maintain our assets and infrastructure at the standard our community expects,” he said.
“Each year, IPART sets a rate peg that limits the amount by which local councils can increase their total rate revenue by, and unfortunately, the rate peg has not kept pace with the increasing costs of delivering services, maintaining and improving our assets, and running a contemporary local government organisation.
“While Council has contained rates to the rate peg for the past five years, the costs of providing services and maintaining infrastructure have increased and they will continue to increase over the years ahead,” he continued.
Councillor Hawkins said an SRV is required for Council to maintain existing services, improve its financial sustainability, and fund infrastructure maintenance and renewal.
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate in recent years to receive funding from the NSW and Commonwealth Governments to deliver some major infrastructure projects across the shire, with several more in the pipeline,” he said.
“However, with new and improved assets comes increased maintenance costs and increased depreciation fund; all on top of the costs we must meet in maintaining our roads, bridges, footpaths, water and sewer infrastructure, and public buildings.
“Over recent years, Council has also increased the number of services it provides to the community, and while some of our community and recreation services operate in a cost-neutral manner, others are operating at a significant loss,” he continued.
Councillor Hawkins encouraged all community members to have their say on the proposed SRV, by participating in Council’s program of consultation exercises over the coming weeks or providing a submission to IPART.
“This is a conversation our community has to have, and we want to hear from as many residents and ratepayers as possible,” he said.
“I urge all community members to keep an open mind, consider the information put before them, and to provide feedback over the coming weeks before Council determines in early February whether or not to formally apply for an SRV,” he concluded.
Further information on the SRV process is available from IPART’s website at www.ipart.nsw.gov.au.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council has ratified recent reconstruction works on two sections of the Merriwa Road (MR 358) and one section of the Werris Creek Road (MR 130).
“The works have been undertaken to enhance safety and to provide an improvement to the road environment for all road users,” said LPSC Mayor, Doug Hawkins OAM.
The works have seen line-marking installed in line with current RMS Delineation at the following locations:
- Merriwa Road (MR 358) – for the final 3.6 kilometre section, following reconstruction adjoining the Upper Hunter Shire Council boundary and involves 3.6 kilometres of double barrier line and edge line.
- Merriwa Road (MR 358) – at a recently reconstructed section at the T-intersection of Willow Tree Gravels’ Quarry, 2.5 kilometres from the New England Highway involving 700 metres of Double Barrier lines, a short 26 metre channelised right hand turn bay, 1400 metres of edge-line, 30 metres of barrier line and 60 metres of edge-line on the entrance to the Quarry.
- Werris Creek Road (MR 130) – at the recently constructed heavy vehicle U-turn bay approximately 320 metres south of South Street Werris Creek involving 250 metres of edge-line, a 26 metre channelised right hand turn bay and 140 metres of barrier line.
“Funding for the work undertaken the final 3.6 kilometre section of the Merriwa Road within the LPSC local government area was obtained through State and Federal Government agencies. The 700 metre reconstructed section at the Quarry was funded through Block Grant funding and the line-marking funded by the Quarry,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“The heavy vehicle U-turn bay works on the Werris Creek Road were funded by Crawford’s Freightlines. The heavy vehicle U-turn facility has been constructed on the Werris Creek Road, south of Werris Creek, to provide a safer access route into South Street and the intermodal terminal for vehicles coming from the north,” he said.
“As our roadways become increasingly busy it is important that infrastructure is well planned and maintained and will meet our needs now and in the future,” he concluded.
Best Practice Constructions Pty Ltd, who won the tender for the redevelopment of the Quirindi Library precinct, have wasted no time getting work underway, commencing on site operations within a week of being awarded the project.
“It is envisaged this $ 1,598,000 project will take about 6 months to complete, so I’m pleased the contractor has been able to commence work so quickly. Now that things are underway motorists and pedestrians are requested to be on the lookout for truck movements to and from the site, pedestrians to respect any marked deviations put in place for their safety and motorists to display extra caution and obey traffic control officers. Safety is a priority,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM.
“The work underway means the public toilets at this site have had to be closed. There are alternative facilities approximately 200 metres to the south in George Street.
“As an additional safety measure, to help facilitate movement to and from the worksite, the parking bays outside the Service NSW centre will be closed during the times construction work is taking place on site,” he said.
“While the redevelopment is underway an office for Quirindi library has been established in the Home Support Service building on the corner of Dalley and Station Streets. This office operates Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and 2 to 4pm. Due to COVID-safety requirements you are requested to call 6746 2350 and reserve a time to attend.
“People wishing to borrow can phone the librarian to place their order or go online to https://www.cnl.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/WPAC/HOME, the Central Northern Regional Library website where you can access click and collect or join the library. Order your books by Monday and they can be collected from Thursday morning. Books being returned can be placed just inside the front door or on the veranda of the HSS building. Current magazines are still available at the library and a public access computer is available as are photocopying and scanning services,” he continued.
“The Quirindi Library redevelopment is an exciting project that will add dynamism to the CBD. When completed the facility will be more user friendly with a strong focus on attracting users of all age groups. A new pergola will provide a modern outdoor setting with a clear roof that will provide shade plus allow for lights and reduced solar reflection and heat transmission. Landscaping will feature 2 new trees installed at the front. When completed we’ll have a community hub we can be proud of and that will serve the community well into the future,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
According to Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, as we participate in pre-Christmas parties and throughout the Christmas/New Year and school holiday period, it is vital we focus on road safety and aim towards zero fatalities.
“Road deaths are closer to home than you think. Every person in the road toll is someone’s grandmother, grandfather, mother, father, brother, sister, or child. We shouldn't accept that people die on our roads so let’s all aim for zero road deaths. All road users have a part to play, safety is a shared responsibility, and we all need to be more aware and avoid risks,” he said.
“Before we head off on holidays we need to ensure the car is ready and roadworthy. We need to plan ahead, choose the safest route which may not necessarily be the quickest and when we hit the road it is essential that we drive to conditions.
“Not driving to the conditions is a major cause of death and injury on our roads. Driving to conditions is about using common sense. A road’s speed limit doesn’t mean it is safe to drive at that speed the whole length of the road. Ultimately, all drivers have the responsibility to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. This means that drivers must do whatever is necessary to adjust to the current road and weather conditions,” he continued.
“Police have told me that one of the most important issues we need to focus on to aim towards zero fatalities is managing fatigue. Remember that driving when tired and not taking regular breaks is very dangerous. This highlights the importance of having a good night's sleep before a trip and taking regular breaks every two hours.
“Another proven killer is handling mobile devices when driving. You must ensure your mobile phones and other devices in the car are not accessible to disturb concentration, because when we are distracted our vehicles are essentially out of control.
“Statistics show that speed continues to be a major factor contributing to road trauma. There’s a lot of truth in the old road safety adage it's better to arrive a few minutes late than dead on time. Put simply, it is better to arrive late than to risk your life speeding to a destination. Also, avoid drink and drug driving which are factors in a considerable number of road accidents.
“Ensuring seatbelts and child restraints are properly fitted is also important, and pets require restraints as well,” he said.
These are important factors to keep in mind at all times but especially with more of us on the road during the busy school and Christmas/New Year holiday period. These are a reminder to be attentive, stay focused, and drive as if our loved ones are on the road ahead.
“Towards Zero takes the approach that everyone should be aware that safety must be a shared responsibility and the road toll is not just a number, it is real people and could include your family and friends.
“Be patient, obey the speed limit, give yourself enough time to get things done and remember that courtesy goes a long way on our roads. Everyone deserves to be safe in the traffic over the holidays, but we all have to play our part. If everyone drives to survive we’ll all get to our destination safely,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
The contractors engaged by Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) to construct the new Glenyalla Road bridge, Murray Constructions, have nearly completed the project.
Over the last 2 weeks work undertaken has seen all the piles in place, both abutments completed, all three spans planked, and rock mattress completed.
On Thursday the concreting of the deck slab was undertaken.
The new $865,000, single lane, concrete structure crossing of Borambil Creek replaces an old timber bridge which was closed to traffic following structural damage.
LPSC was successful in applying for a grant from the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Program and gaining 50% of the replacement cost for the new concrete structure. The new bridge has been built to current Australian standards, that provides unrestricted access for heavy vehicles and a useful life of at least 100 years. Council has financed the remaining 50% cost of the project with funding received through the Roads to Recovery program.
LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, said he was pleased to see the bridge nearing completion, which will allow the reopening of the through route from the New England Highway at Kankool, to the Merriwa Road near Willow Tree. He said the road is important to local farming families, as a rural transport route and for those delivering to or collecting from properties enroute.
At its November Ordinary Meeting, Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) resolved to participate in a Temporary Transfer Scheme for 2020/2021 within the Upper Namoi Ground Water Management Zone 1 system.
“Council originally resolved in principle, at its November 2019 meeting, to participate in a Transfer Scheme for 2019/2020. Owing to delays with being issued the required approvals from various authorities to allow trading and following good rainfall during the beginning of 2020, the temporary trading scheme has not operated to this point in time,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM.
“For the 2020/21 period Council is making available a temporary transfer of up to 250 Megalitres (ML) of its unused annual town water allocation for Quirindi to the Zone 1 irrigators pool for purchase.
“Council will adopt a fair and equitable distribution guideline for irrigator’s participation and a panel of Council and irrigator members will oversee the scheme’s distribution of available water,” he said.
“By making this allocation available it will provide irrigators with some certainty in planning their cropping options for next year, providing extra water into the Zone 1 system with the bonus of enabling irrigators to increase their productivity,” he continued.
“Council will review the scheme after the first year of operation to fine-tune the scheme if necessary and determine its ongoing application.
This decision furthers the aims of Council’s policies and community strategic plan that strategies, plans and decision making have a strong focus on financial, economic, social and environmental sustainability,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
After months of shutdown due to COVID-19, Liverpool Plains Shire Council’s (LPSC) Freedom Camping area at Willow Tree has reopened and the picturesque village is ready to welcome travellers who are requested to abide by the COVID-safe requirements that have been put in place.
“Council has assessed the performance of its COVID-19 safety measures put in place at the Wallabadah Freedom Camping area which reopened recently. The system has worked far better than originally anticipated and as a result we are now ready to reopen Willow Tree. Maintaining COVID-safety is a priority both to keep travellers safe as well as to protect our local community,” said LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins.
Similar arrangements as instituted at Wallabadah will be in place and visitors are required to register by scanning the QR code which can be found at the amenities block. Instructions on the use of the QR code are provided. Council officers will attend the Freedom Camping Area in the morning and evening and anyone who has not registered with the QR code will be required to register with them. The receipt should be displayed on your vehicle’s dash,” he said.
Councillor Hawkins said that during the COVID-19 shutdown Council took the opportunity to upgrade facilities at the Willow Tree Freedom Camping precinct utilising $50,000 it successfully gained through the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program and carried out by local contractor Hoswell Constructions.
“This included an upgrade to the septic tank and rubble drain, the replacement of the water heater to increase capacity for showers, new showerheads, replacing doors and painting walls, timber battens and the floor. A new gutter was installed on the northern side of the building and broken pipe vents were repaired. Additionally new LED light battens were installed as was an underground sub-circuit and safety switch. I am pleased that on reopening we can offer visitors enhanced amenities,” he said.
Debbie Shaw and her daughters Hannah and Kylie established Plains Pantry in Willow Tree in 2015. Debbie said, “the reopening of the Freedom Camping area will provide additional economic stimulus for the village’s businesses that have taken a united approach to promote Willow Tree as an important food strip catering for travellers on the New England Highway with a wide variety of options available.”
“COVID-19 has negatively impacted businesses in Willow Tree and we look forward to welcoming Christmas/New Year/holiday travellers to what we have to offer and increased visitation improving the situation,” Debbie said.
“Both travellers on the highway, and those who choose to stay at the Freedom Camping Area, will be made welcome in Willow Tree. The Shire’s Visitor Information Centre (VIC) is located in the main street so call in and find out what the Liverpool Plains Shire has to offer visitors from the Great Dividing Range to the agricultural wonderland of the rolling plains to our west. The VIC is also home to the impressive display, Kamilaroi, a Highway, a People, which pays tribute to the culture, customs and traditions of the First Nation People of this area, the Kamilaroi. It is a fascinating story featuring a welcome to country in English and Gomeroi and a series of interpretative panels, sculptures and features Aboriginal groove stones” Councillor Hawkins concluded.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, has extended his thanks to Rob Webster, who has tendered his resignation as a Councillor, for serving the community since his election to Council in 2012.
“During the 8 years Rob served on Council he held the post of Deputy Mayor in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He has also served on various Council committees during his tenure,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“To have the trust of the community to represent their best interests is a big job to live up to, and over the last 8 years Rob Webster has always stood up for what he believed was best for the Shire, its residents and businesses,” he continued.
Councillor Hawkins said that due to COVID-19 Rob Webster’s position would remain vacant until the deferred Council election to be held in September 2021.
“Councillors Cudmore, Black, Moules, Lobsey and I will remain focussed on the delivery of a record number of projects that are currently underway or to begin during the current financial year, designed to improve community infrastructure, to provide economic stimulus and to maintain the LPS as a good place to live, work and to raise a family,” he said.
“On behalf of Council, I wish Rob Webster the very best with his endeavours into the future,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.