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Greater Taree City Council

Annual Report 2012 - 2013



Ellenborough Falls Legendary Pacific Coast


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

1 Welcome 2 A Great Lifestyle 12 3 Respecting Our Environment 36 4 A Strong Economy 54 5 Looking After What We’ve Got 58 6 Getting Things Done 72


Greater Taree City Council

Annual Report 2012 - 2013

This report outlines Greater Taree City Council’s activities for the financial year ending 30 June 2013. It consists of six discrete but interconnected chapters which can be read individually or together. Each chapter is clearly identified by its title and provides a strong story about the particular area.

Who is this report for?

This report is designed for a broad readership including members of the community, ratepayers, local businesses, government agencies and departments, and other interested stakeholders. The report is intended to be read online at report. Hard copies are available to review at the Council administration centre and our libraries or you can contact customer service to request a copy for a fee.


Council is committed to continuously improving its Annual Reporting and welcomes feedback on this Annual Report. Contact Council on 02 6592 5399 or at or email


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Our Hope For The Future We believe in the future of the Manning Valley And we are committed to working together To create a regional centre that is prosperous and sustainable To nurture a community that is caring, healthy and vibrant And to preserve this beautiful, rare and special place for the generations that follow


A message from our Mayor

Operational Plan. Councillors continued to proactively engage with the community both formally and informally and daily we respond to questions, listen to opinions and answer challenges about Council decisions. The new Council has implemented an ongoing program of Community Meetings, starting with Old Bar, Wingham and Harrington with more to come. These meetings provide the community with a venue in which to ask questions, raise issues and be briefed on current projects and issues. Council has also responded to community requests for a more user-friendly website that provides the community with a wide variety of information and, work is underway to make these changes.

"I present this Annual Report to engaged with the NSW Government you as the ‘report card’ for Council Council appointed Independent Local Government for 2012-2013 and encourage you Review Panel throughout 2012-2013 in its endeavour to develop recommendations to continue the community’s strong for the review of local government in NSW involvement in local government" and it is expected that the Panel will release I want to extend my sincere thanks to the Council, which completed its term in August 2012 and wish those Councillors who chose retirement much happiness and a little more time to call their own. The new Councillors have worked to become familiar with all facets of life as a representative of their community. Council continues to focus on developing strategies to ensure we are well placed to anticipate and deal with the myriad challenges that await both Council and the community. The framework for decisions made by Council and subsequently implemented by staff is the Manning Valley Community Plan 20102030 (MVCP). In February 2013, the new Council unanimously endorsed the Plan. The Plan represents the interests and views of community and is the basis for the day to day operations of Council. It was developed following significant community consultation and contribution.

its report before the end of 2013. There is uncertainty about what the recommendations of the report will be, however, it is likely there will be significant changes to the way in which local government operates throughout the state. Hopefully, the report will facilitate improvements to the way in which major issues such as the infrastructure backlogs and revenue deficits are managed. In 2012-2013, Council secured a financial commitment from the Federal government for the Aviation Business Centre at Taree Regional Airport and the Northern Gateway regional transport hub. Work progresses in regard to these projects and we continue to work with the State and Federal governments to secure further support for these and a range of projects, such as roads and bridges, flood damage reparation and coastal erosion.

The tenets of this Plan are carried through to the 4-year Delivery Program and the annual


Greater Taree City Council

Mayor Paul J Hogan 2012-13

Annual Report

...And our General Manager "At the heart of good public service is keeping our community informed about what is happening and will happen, when and how, and engaging with the community so that we make better decisions" 2012-2013 has been a watershed year for the organisation as we brought to a close the term of the previous Council and welcomed a new Council. Both the outgoing Council and incoming Council had set an ambitious agenda and this Annual Report provides a snapshot of what was achieved over this past 2012-2013 year. Some of the broad strategic priorities for Council included: • Improving asset planning • Enhancing financial management • Reviewing services • Promoting tourism • Partnering in economic development • Better governance and risk management • Effective planning, • Local Government Reform, and • Community engagement Some of the operational priorities for management included: • Improving performance management and reporting • Developing leadership and staff capability • Process improvement

• Customer service and community engagement • Project management • Using technology smarter, and • Being more efficient and effective. The Capital Works Program saw new assets developed and the renewal and upgrade of others. Council also completed extensive infrastructure maintenance and renewal in line with Council priorities and meeting natural disaster needs across the Manning Valley. All of us who work for Greater Taree City Council are committed to a set of values that are the foundation for how we engage with the community and provide service – integrity, teamwork, sustainability, enjoying work and resourcefulness. In delivering the objectives outlined in the Delivery Program and Operational Plan, we have set our sights on having motivated and skilled staff in a customer focused organisation that is efficient in service delivery, well-versed in responsible financial management and ensures a safe working environment. Following the election of the new Council in October 2012, the emphasis on effective community engagement has been a priority. Councillors have committed to listening, engaging and responding to the community to ensure that services and plans for the future


reflect the views of all. Council recognises that motivated and skilled people are pivotal to building the capacity of our organisation, and have been very supportive of increasing investment in our people. I am very proud of our record in increasing access to training and development. Opportunities range from participating in practical supervision and leadership skills, to competency based training. In 2012-2013 expenditure on staff training equated to three per cent of our salary budget. We also sought to improve our approach to receiving and processing development applications, and have appointed specialist staff to assist in this area.

Cr Paul Hogan Mayor

Cr Kathryn Bell

Cr Alan Tickle Deputy Mayor

Cr Brad Christensen

The current Council has worked together with the Executive and Management team to develop the 2013-2017 Delivery Program, Resourcing Strategy and Operational Plan which all reflect the aspirations of the Manning Valley Community Plan. I would like to thank our staff, and in particular the Executive and Senior Leaders for their professional service to the people of the Manning Valley. I would also like to acknowledge and thank those past and present Councillors and Deputy Mayors. I particularly thank our Mayor Paul Hogan for his staunch commitment to the people of the Manning Valley and his support of this organisation.

Cr Robyn Jenkins

Cr David West

Cr Peter Epov

Cr David Keegan

Working together we are making a difference.

Cr Trent Jennison

Gerard JosĂŠ General Manager


Greater Taree City Council

Your Councillors 2012-13

Annual Report

Council Meetings

Gerard Jose General Manager

Laura Black Executive Leader Corporate Support

Ordinary Meetings of Council are held every month commencing at 5.00pm in the Council Chambers, 2 Pulteney Street, Taree. Each meeting is broadcast by 2BOB Community Radio on the same evening at 9.00pm. Business papers can be inspected prior to each meeting and can be viewed on Council’s website or at our Administration Centre and Libraries. Minutes from each meeting can be viewed on Council’s website. Applications can be made to address Council by contacting the Executive Assistant (02) 6592 5399. Council elects delegates to MidCoast (Water) County Council who remain in that position for the term of Council. The delegates for this term were: Cr Hogan and Cr West.

Ron Posselt Executive Leader Service Delivery

Your Executives 9

Strategic Objectives The creation of the 20-year Manning Valley Community Plan during 2009-10 involved extensive community engagement to identify community priorities. This was endorsed by the new term of Council in early 2013. The community’s priorities are framed into five key objectives. This report outlines the work Council has undertaken during 2012-13 in relation to our fouryear Delivery Program and annual Operational Plan towards those objectives. The diagram below shows how all the plans and this report relate to each other.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Where we live

The Local Government Area of Greater Taree stretches from Johns River in the north to Wang Wauk River in the south and up to 100 kilometres to the western hinterland. The area takes in a 50 kilometre coastal strip from Hallidays Point in the south to Crowdy Bay in the north. Greater Taree is a predominantly rural area with some residential, industrial and commercial land use. A large proportion of the Local Government Area is State Forest and National Park, including beaches, coastline, waterways and mountains. The area has two main townships with many villages and localities. • Our population is almost 48,955 with 87% of the local population born in Australia and 93% of residents Australian citizens • Greater Taree has an Aboriginal population of just under 5% • 25% of the population are under 18, 56% are aged between 18 - 64 and 19% are over 65 • We cover 3,732 square kilometres • We have a network of 742km of sealed roads and 950km of unsealed roads, going over 105 timber bridges and a further 114 concrete bridges • We have 241 parks and reserves, five swimming pools, two river pools and five libraries Walcha Council Port Macquarie Hasting Council

Gloucester Shire Council Greater Taree City Council

Great Lakes Council


A Great Lifestyle


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

"402,223 library items were borrowed"

"101 home library clients had their books home delivered each fortnight"

"11,674 items were added to library collections"


Libraries We are Now, We are the Future As part of the National Year of Reading, the library presented writing workshops to over six local primary schools and over 100 children. The writing workshops were delivered by well-known children’s author, Aleesah Darlison, over three days. The end result was 60 creative stories published in an anthology called ‘We are Now, We are the Future’. Each student and their school received a copy of the anthology at the launch in December 2012. The launch of the anthology was the finale for National Year of Reading celebrations across Greater Taree City Libraries.


Greater Taree City Council

"We wanted to continue the focus on getting people reading and writing"


Annual Report

"9,413 people attended library events and programs"


Our Words, Our Stories The project is one of a number of exciting programs Greater Taree City Libraries has developed in partnership with other local service providers under the Communities for Children initiative. The aim of the program is for each participant to write a book with stories about their early life which they want to share with children in their community. All participants in this program have the chance to complete TAFE literacy units and receive completion certificates. The stories are being published as books for children of all ages and will be distributed to local playgroups, preschools, and schools.


Greater Taree City Council

"Our Words, Our Stories is a community literacy project at Taree Library that provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to write their stories about growing up in the Manning Valley"


Annual Report

The Valley Coffee Spot Cafe How better to improve the ambience of your library than to have the aroma of freshly ground coffee meeting you at the door? The Valley Coffee Spot is no ordinary café – but the result of a joint venture between Greater Taree City Council and disability service provider, Valley Industries, to provide a training facility for people with a disability. Indeed this landmark project has been a success story from the start as a shining example of how Council and community organisations can work together for the public benefit.

"The opening of The Valley Coffee Spot café at Taree Library has proved a huge success"

The Valley Coffee Spot provides employees and clients of Valley Industries the opportunity to learn valuable skills in food and beverage preparation and service in the café. The café is an innovative pathway to employment in the hospitality industry for people with a disability. With its focus on “fresh, green and local” and its reputation for “a great coffee”, The Valley Coffee Spot continues to grow in popularity and already attracts huge morning and lunchtime crowds. The café also caters for library events and other business functions. The new café enhances the experience for library customers by offering coffee and food to enjoy in the library – an idea that received strong support in a library survey. The café is a unique initiative yielding great social outcomes and fits well with the library as a welcoming public space where people can meet, relax, browse or use the free wi-fi. The Valley Coffee Spot was officially opened by The Premier of New South Wales, The Hon Barry O’Farrell in May 2013 at a lively community celebration.


"287,994 visits to our libraries"

"The library's free wi-fi service was used 26,585 times"


Greater Taree City Council

"20,465 bookings on library free access Internet PCs"


Annual Report

eBooks Greater Taree City Libraries launched its eBook collection in December 2012 with over 1,000 titles on offer and available through The service enables library customers to download eBooks to their own tablet or eReader device free of charge. Grant funding has been secured to significantly expand the eBook range in the coming year to meet the increasing community demand for this service.

"Your library card now gives you free access to eBooks"

Youth events @ your library Wingham and Taree Libraries both held ‘HSC Lock-Ins’ in the lead up to HSC trials in August 2012. HSC Lock-Ins are for Year 12 students to utilise the library after hours to access free wi-fi, Internet, computers, photocopying and databases. Students really appreciate the library remaining open to provide a comfortable, quiet place for them to study and prepare for their exams. Live’n’Loud @ the Library – an event that provides opportunity for young local bands to perform their music at Taree Library – was a finalist in the NSW Local Government Cultural Awards 2012. This popular event continues to showcase young musicians across the Manning Valley and attracts audiences of over 100 people four times a year.


Manning Regional Art Gallery Museum Photography In January 2013 the Art Gallery featured an exhibition by outstanding international Archaeological Photographer, Susan Webb from Michigan USA. Susan travelled to Australia to conduct courses with Manning Valley photographers in Museum Standard Photography which took the photographers out into the field and into studio situations. These photographers are now equipped to record important sites in this region.


Greater Taree City Council

Papua New Guinea with Frank Hurley The Art Gallery featured the culture of Papua New Guinea with the Frank Hurley: Journeys into Papua exhibition from the Australian Museum and the Silas Sutherland and Janine Watson Collection of brilliantly designed and decorated tribal artefacts. This exhibition was visited by school children from many schools in the region with assistance from the ConnectEd funding from Arts NSW for bus transport.


Annual Report

Local Artists This year’s local artists includes filmmaker and Oscar and Emmy Award winner, Jim Frazier, who has artworks in private collections around the world including those of Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton. Jim’s unique works are made by growing crystals on glass plates and manipulating them into brilliant fantastic and visionary scenes. The Gallery acquired some valuable and beautiful artworks for the Greater Taree City Art Collection this year including two paintings by Neil Frazer (pictured). The Collection now has over 300 artworks by Australian artists which will be the subject of future exhibitions.

"In 2012-13 the Gallery featured the works of many local artists which showcased their talent for the community and raised the artists’ profile"


"3,200 people attended public programs and art workshops"

"19 exhibitions were held" 22

Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

"15,332 visits to our Art Gallery"


Manning Entertainment Centre "60 shows or events were held"

"26,639 tickets were purchased" 24

Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

The Australian Ballet The Ballet’s regional touring arm, The Dancers Company, comprises guest artists of The Australian Ballet and graduate students from The Australian Ballet School. This tour included Stephen Heathcote (former principle artist of The Australian Ballet) and Chengwu Guo (Mao’s Last Dancer) in lead roles.

Masterclass Tom Burlinson performed at the Entertainment Centre in June with his worldrenowned Frank Sinatra show. Members of his band agreed to hold a Masterclass for local musicians between the matinee and evening performances.

Local ballet students had an incredible opportunity to learn from their idols during two Masterclasses held on stage before the show.

"The Manning Entertainment Centre was thrilled to host The Australian Ballet in August 2012 for two sell-out performances of Don Quixote"

"It was a fantastic opportunity for local students to learn the art of Jazz and Swing from some of Australia’s top musicians"

Image credit: Artists of The Dancer Company in Don Quixote Photography Jim McFarlane


Community Development We successfully organised a range of community activities, often in partnership or working closely with other community organisations. International Women’s day, Seniors Week, Manning Community Connect Day and the Homelessness Sleepout in the carpark of Council’s Administration Building, which raised $10,500, are just a few that featured in the year’s calendar. We continue to work closely with community organisations and partners to deliver community information and support, assisting with grant applications, graffiti management and we actively participate in the Manning Interagency, Communities for Children Reference Group, Manning Collaborative, and the Mid North Coast Housing Forum.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Learn to Love Life Greater Taree City Council’s Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI) - “Learn to Love Life!” - continued to roll out throughout the year with over 200 Manning Valley residents enrolling in programs which focused on: lifestyle modification; nutrition education; exercise programs; cooking classes; walking groups and cycle education. Results achieved throughout the programs have been tremendous and varied and have included everything from weight loss to increased physical activity levels and increased social ties. Some results included: 13% increase in participants meeting recommended fruit intake, 4% reduction in waist circumference; 21% increase in participants meeting physical activity recommendations and on average 14% increase in functional strength measures. Feedback and quotes obtained from the programs have included;

"I learnt a lot about how to be healthy and eat well”" "I feel confident that I can keep making positive changes in my life”" "Just being with new people and the great help and friendship from both sides, thank you”" Highlights included; the strong partnerships with Biripi AMS, Hunter New England Health (in particular Community Health & Mental Health), Catholic Care, Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre, Manning Valley Senior Citizens and many more. The program also facilitated continued training of local health professionals and volunteers in the various national programs to enable continued delivery of such programs within our LGA.


"Gaining a mention in the 2013 Australian Local Government Yearbook was also an unexpected highlight"


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Youth Services "Youth Services has continued to provide dynamic and varied activities to the active and enthusiastic young people in the Greater Taree City area" A significant highlight of the year has been the growth and development of MYAT- the Manning Youth Action Team. This group has built upon the initial foundations set down in 2011 to become a functioning and diverse advisory body on youth issues and youth perspectives on local initiatives. The group has also participated in a variety of activities including Youth Week, Manning Community Connect Day as well as attending a youth conference as part of the Vivid Festival in Sydney. Youth Week in 2013 was a successful venture. This year, activities included live music, sport, an outdoor movie and a day at a local fun park. In addition to this two local young people, and MYAT members, represented Greater Taree City Council at the Youth Week Forum held at Government House.

Youth Services successful in gaining funding from Indent. The highlight of this program was the finale concert in December at Harry Bennett Park. In the past year, Youth Services have also been involved in local NAIDOC celebrations, the Saltwater Women’s Real Reconciliation Camp and the Saltwater Freshwater Festival. A significant portion of Youth Services resources also goes into developing and strengthening local youth services. This year, significant steps have been taken to complete a youth strategic plan. As part of this, over 600 young people were surveyed, together with local business and youth organisations to identify service gaps. Youth Services has also sought funding to provide training in a variety of areas including self harm, working with children & infants exposed to trauma and Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2012 also saw significant change in Youth Services. Wombarra Wunggan Youth & Family Services transitioned over to a case management program, providing one-onone assistance and support to local young people. This has been a major change from the activity focus of previous years and has been enthusiastically welcomed by WWYS staff and clients.

The nationwide Midnight Basketball competition was conducted in December, with over 80 young people registered in the tournament. This social inclusion program caters for disadvantaged young people and provides access to food, exercise and an educational workshop on areas as diverse as First Aid, Organ Donation and Nutrition. Live’n’Loud at the Library continued, with


Graffiti Art Workshops To teach young people graffiti art and street art, and their appropriate use, we hosted a series of Graffiti Art Workshops. The workshops are part of Council’s Graffiti Management and Crime Prevention Plan. The project is funded through the Federal Attorney-General’s Proceeds of Crime Act. The workshops are facilitated by professional graffiti and street artist Ash Johnston from Open Studio in Coffs Harbour. The students were given an introduction to the history and development of the graffiti movement and were instructed on sketching techniques, letter foundation and style development. Participants in the workshop were introduced to the spray can as a tool, given lessons in technical awareness, painting techniques and safety and protection. The message was clear: random tagging in public places is not art, but vandalism. Graffiti and street art executed in the right way is something for the whole community to enjoy.

"The mural was the secondary outcome. The real achievements could be observed in watching the young people interact"


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Saltwater Freshwater Festival The Saltwater Freshwater Festival celebrates and shares our Aboriginal living culture, on the Mid North Coast, with the wider community and commemorates Australia Day. It is a unique opportunity to experience Aboriginal living culture through the sharing of music, dance, food, conversations and family fun. Despite the rain, a stellar line-up of some of the country’s most talented Aboriginal musicians took to the stage on Australia Day in Taree where the Saltwater Freshwater Festival was hosted. The Festival featured a strong canoe theme - tying in with a national movement to revive the craft of traditional Aboriginal canoe building - especially the passing of skills and learning to younger generations. Aboriginal hand-crafted canoes built using traditional methods took to the waters of the Manning River, along with canoes from the Dunghutti, Birpai and Worimi nations there were canoes at the Festival from across the state. 31

Homeless Sleep Out The Sleep Out in the Greater Taree City Council car park near the Manning River was a huge success! It was a great evening with thousands of dollars raised for the homeless. The over forty participants included many Council staff were led by Councils General Manager, Gerard JosÊ. There were even staff and kind participants tucked away in their sleeping bags as the news cameras arrived at 6am! The sleep-out raised vital funds for the Manning Community Connect Day, which was held at the Taree PCYC in October. The Connect Day helps deliver the services so very much needed by people experiencing homelessness – and people who may be at risk of homelessness.

"There are over 28,000 people across NSW who are experiencing homelessness on any one single night"


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

"This was proof of how well a community committee can bring an important event to life" The Centenary of Rail Barry Ruddell, Barry Seghers, Wendy McKeough OAM, Dallas Willis and other community-minded volunteers banded together to help us all celebrate 100 years of rail in the Manning Valley. Dignitaries including NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell performed a ceremony at Wingham, followed by bands, light horsemen, mounted police, vintage rail carriages and more. The event took place in May.


Australia Day Awards Citizen of the Year Anne and Michael Holstein were jointly awarded 2013 Citizen of the Year for their continued commitment to helping people in our local community. From as early as 1975, the Holstein’s have been involved in fostering children. Well over 200 babies have now been fostered, from a couple of days old through to the age of two. As a volunteer with home schooling, Pregnancy Support Group and other community groups, Anne complements her husband Michael, who volunteers visiting patients and residents at local area hospitals, homes and care facilities.

Young Citizen of the Year Toni Bush was awarded 2013 Young Citizen of the Year for her dedication to raising funds for our community. In addition to excelling at her school activities and being Vice Captain of Chatham High School last year, Toni has proved to be a dynamo in fundraising, concentrating her skills to benefit Men’s Shed, WIRES, Headspace, Ronald McDonald House, Canteen, and more. Her values have been a fine example to her schoolmates as well, organising the school Breakfast Club, a gardening working bee, concerts, socials, formal, year book and a recycling program.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Community Organisation of the Year The Lions Club of Manning River Inc were awarded 2013 Community Organisation of the Year for their dedicated service to the community for 33 years. The selfless members of the Manning River Lions Club have donated countless hours of their time to the Manning community. The Hub Markets, Group Three Rugby League, and their exemplary work in taking responsibility for Camp Memories form just some of the projects and undertakings the Lions Club of the Manning River achieve. Their fundraising has assisted many, and the manpower provided by the Lions Club are always at the ready to support and assist where needed.

Sports Star of the Year The 2013 Manning River Times/Greater Taree City Council Ken McDonald Memorial Sportstar of the Year Award went to Alex Cudlin for his outstanding success in motor cycle racing, claiming the Qatar International Road Racing Championship for the second year in a row. The 14 race series started in November 2011 and Alex didn’t start racing until January, missing four races. From 10 races he won eight and finished with one second. Midway through the year he dislocated his elbow but continued to race. He then badly damaged his right foot two weeks before the final round. He entered the final round 20 points adrift of the leader but won both races to clinch the crown.


Respecting Our Environment


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

• The Greater Taree Local Government Area (LGA) is included within the Manning-Macleay sub-region of the North Coast Bioregion • Our climate is temperate and subtropical • We have an extensive river system made up of four major catchments • The Manning River catchment, of 8,420km2, is the sixth largest catchment on the coast of NSW • The Manning River is one of the only double delta river systems in the southern hemispere, with entrance at Harrington and Old Bar • We cover 3,732km2, including 50km of coastline • We have eight National Parks, 16 Nature Reserves and two State Conservation Areas • 66% of the LGA is natural vegetation, 32% is cleared and 2% is covered in water • 2% of the LGA is zoned for residential and urban use • We have 1,850 indigenous plant species, 10 are not found anywhere else in the world • We have over eighty threatened fauna species • The LGA also contains 10 endangered ecological communities listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, with seven found on the coastal floodplain


The Hunter Central-Rivers Catchment Action Plan (2006) identified the following key natural resource management issues for our area: • Loss of biodiversity; • Consumption, population growth and associated impacts of development; • Degradation of rivers, estuaries and wetlands, including sedimentation, loss of vegetation, riverbank erosion, and resulting impacts on water quality; • Degradation, loss and fragmentation of native vegetation and wildlife habitat; • Soil degradation including erosion and mass soil movement; and • Acid drainage from exposed acid sulfate soils. Effective management of Greater Taree’s natural environment is essential to maintain the character and appeal of the area, to continue to support our primary industries, tourism and recreational activities, and to provide viable habitat opportunities for our unique flora and fauna. The health of our natural systems is also vital to supporting the health and current lifestyle of our local community. As land-use planners and managers of public land, Council recognises that Local Government plays an essential role in managing and planning for environmental protection in the LGA and regulating those activities which may negatively impact upon the environment. The responsibility for environmental management is shared across the organisation, and is reflected in many of the activities and programs undertaken by Council. Strategies and possible actions to address these issues are documented in Council’s Community Plan under the theme ‘Respecting our Environment’. The following is a summary of some of the environmental projects undertaken by Council during 2012-13.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Big Swamp Project The implementation of the Big Swamp project continued during 2012-13 which has resulted in the following major achievements: • Completion of the draft Hydrological Study for the project area, which identifies land restoration strategies, prioritises management actions and confirms that the implementation of any on-ground works will not negatively influence local flooding patterns. The Water Research Laboratory (University of NSW) who undertook the study presented the findings of the Study to local residents, which were well received. • Acquisition of two major landholdings within the Big Swamp project areas (totalling approximately 650 hectares) suffering from the effects of acid sulfate soils and containing significant areas of coastal wetland. This land was purchased using the ‘compulsory acquisition by agreement’ process under the NSW Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991. • Commencement of acid sulfate soil restoration works including the infilling and modification of drains, removal of culverts and levees, installation of floodgates, removal of old fencing and anthropogenic materials, weed control, and the installation of environmental monitoring equipment. The Big Swamp project is being funded through the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country Initiative and is due for completion in April 2014. Council has also recently been successful in securing additional government funding of $244,000 for the project through the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority’s Partnership Program to assist in further land acquisition.


Cattai Wetlands One of the highlights of the year was the opening of Cattai Wetlands to the public, which occurred on fourth January 2013. Opening days have been initially limited to four days a week as a trial, to allow Council time to examine visitor demand and impact, and any resourcing issues. Extension of these opening times will be considered in conjunction with the Future Directions Strategy for Cattai Wetlands, which is currently in preparation. Visitor numbers have increased considerably since the opening of Cattai in January, which is evidenced by the number of visitor surveys being completed, and the results of a recent traffic survey at the entry to Cattai. Council is also receiving positive feedback through the visitor surveys on their experience at Cattai with almost all rating it as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. The official opening of Cattai Wetlands was held on World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2013 and was attended by over 200 members of the community. Federal MP for Lyne, Robert Oakeshott, together with Mayor Paul Hogan and Biripi Elder, Aunty Barb Clarke officially opened the wetlands by unveiling a commemorative plaque recognising the achievements of the project. In 2012 Council engaged Gondwana Consulting to undertake a review of the current Plan of Management for Cattai Wetlands and to develop a Future Directions Strategy to identify and plan for ongoing public access, establish a framework for the day-to-day management of the site, and to consider the long-term use and future management of Cattai Wetlands. Extensive consultation with the community has occurred to date, particularly with the local Aboriginal stakeholders due to the cultural heritage significance of the wetlands. The draft Future Directions Strategy incorporating the initial feedback from the community will be presented to Council early next year to be placed on public exhibition for further comment.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Energy Efficiency During 2012-13 Council’s Environmental Sustainability Team continued to implement a range of energy saving measures with funding provided by Council and the NSW Government through their Waste and Sustainability Improvement Payment program. The Administration Centre’s air conditioning system is currently undergoing a huge upgrade, which will see energy consumption at this site cut by over 35%. Council’s Manning Regional Art Gallery on Macquarie Street has recently undergone a number of improvements to enhance its energy efficiency including the installation of a grid-connected solar photovoltaic system and improvements to the efficiency of the air conditioning and dehumidification system. Plans are also underway to replace the Art Gallery’s halogen lighting with LED lighting, which generates energy savings of around 85%. Due to the requirement to provide 24 hour climate protection for visiting art exhibitions, the Art Gallery is one of Council’s biggest consumers of electricity. The installation of the new solar panels will help to reduce the Art Gallery’s electricity costs by around $4,000 a year. Earlier this year, Council also received $45,000 funding under the Australian Local Government Energy Efficiency Program to assist in the replacement of electric storage hot water systems with heat pump hot water systems at the following public facilities: • Wingham Sporting Complex • Taree Touch Field Amenities • Old Bar Sports Fields • Visitor Information Centre • Manning Entertainment Centre


Planning changes Development in the Manning Valley is guided by two planning documents being the Greater Taree Local Environmental Plan 2010 (LEP 2010) and the Greater Taree Development Control Plan 2010 (DCP 2010). Both of these documents have been the subject of review over the past year.

"Council has continued to be informed of the proposed changes and provided comment on the new legislation to ensure the local issues and interests are considered in this important legislation reform"

Amendments to the LEP 2010 commenced in 2012-13. These amendments are the first major changes proposed to the plan since it came into effect in June 2010 and were identified by Council staff, people who regularly use the LEP and landowners. The amendments covered a range of topics including changes to: • the heritage listings to include nine new sites and changes to some of the existing listings • provisions that apply to the whole of Taree such as flood mapping and uses allowed in parks • the zone of 14 locations where the use of the land was not consistent with the zone. These amendments were placed on display during March-April 2013 and are expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Proposed amendments to the DCP 2010 were aimed at removing inconsistencies and providing new chapters/sections to meet changing legislation, planning requirements and best practice. Major amendments included: • the provisions for car parking and access, landscaping and advertising being consolidated into individual chapters/ sections to remove duplication and make them easier to locate in the DCP • a number of planning controls were updated, including lot size maps for a subdivision at Wingham, heritage requirements and setbacks between private development and public reserves.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Planning Proposals Planning proposals were formerly known as rezoning applications. Typically landowners/ developers apply to have the zone of land changed to encourage new uses. While there have been a large number of enquiries for planning proposals this year, one planning proposal, Brimbin, was assessed. In December 2012 the Roche Group undertook a shopfront display in Manning Street over a three day period. Council staff, Roche Group and its consultants were on hand to answer questions and explain the proposal to attendees. Members of the community were invited to have a look at the proposed plans and discuss any issues with experts in their field including town planners, urban designers, traffic engineers and social planners. Approximately 400 people visited the shopfront and provided overwhelming support for the project. Primary concerns raised included traffic impacts and the potential economic effects on Taree.

Coastal Management The NSW Government has embarked on coastal reforms and is currently preparing the final component (Stage 2 reforms). These reforms will result in changes to the Coastal Protection Act 1979 and have resulted in a delay to the finalisation of Council’s Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP). Once the state government sets the framework for coastal management through these reforms, Council will progress this plan. This is likely to occur in 2013-14.


Riverbank Stabilisation In 2013 Council completed a joint project with local landholders at Wingham to stabilise an eroding riverbank adjacent to the Wingham Bight Bridge. The previous, largely unvegetated, riverbank was slumping, sending significant amounts of soil into the Manning River and contributing to the sedimentation of the downstream estuary. The slumping soil on site was first smoothed to reduce the risk of further slumping, and to provide access to the site for planting. Seeding with exotic pasture grass and the installation of coconut fibre logs to slow surface erosion was also completed as part of the project. The area was then densely planted with 1,600 native grasses (River Mat-rush) and 400 trees including Sydney Blue Gum. The long-stem tube stock planting technique was used at the site to help increase the plants soil-binding influence.

Technical advice for the project was provided by the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority who has advised that riverbank erosion is not uncommon after flooding on sites where native vegetation is lacking. The re-instatement of native vegetation on the riverbank will help to reduce further soil loss, which can impact on downstream water quality, having the potential to smother important aquatic habitat like seagrass beds in the estuary. Council has also recently received matching funding of $20,000 under the NSW Estuary Management Program to undertake a riverbank restoration project at Glenthorne on the Manning River near the Martin Bridge. The site is suffering from the effects of erosion due to the lack of native vegetation.




Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Old Bar Coastal Habitat Protection Council has received matching funding of $27,500 under the NSW Estuary Management Program to undertake the Old Bar Coastal Habitat Protection project. Coastal processes have long impacted sections of the Greater Taree’s coastline. In recent years, coastal erosion through storm events has threatened the amenity of areas along the coastline, as well as resulting in the destruction of beachfront houses and infrastructure in the Old Bar area. Action is now required to protect the dunal system at Old Bar. Coastal Heathland and Littoral Rainforests are prominent along the coastal dune system, and are at risk of coastal erosion. Littoral rainforest is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community under the Threatened Species Conservation Act.

The project aims to protect and conserve the dunes at Old Bar Beach, while ensuring access to Old Bar Beach can be achieved as per the Emergency Action Plan and the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan. The project will: • educate the community by providing interpretative signage at key locations along Old Bar Beach, outlining the potentially adverse impacts of human activities on the dunal system; • minimise the potential for erosion to the dunal system, by promoting the use of a central pedestrian access to the beach; and • remove asbestos which was buried in the dune some years ago and is now at risk of being exposed due to the erosion.

"Dunes are an integral part of our coastal environment as they not only provide a reserve supply of sand for use by waves during storms, they are the basis of important ecosystems, supporting valuable communities of plants and animals" 45

Draft Environmental Action Plan The Manning Valley Community Plan 2010-2030 identifies ‘Respecting the Environment’ as one of the Key Directions for Council. During the preparation of the Community Plan two community surveys were undertaken to identify areas of concern and attitudes towards funding the objectives of the plan. While many people rated the environment as a high priority during this process, one survey identified that around 60% of respondents were ‘unsure’ as to what environmental issues required action from Council. To explore this matter further in consultation with the community, Council sought and was subsequently successful in obtaining funding through the NSW Waste and Sustainability Improvement Payment Program to appoint a Project Officer to coordinate the development of an Environmental Action Plan. Feedback obtained from the community through a series of public workshops and a survey has provided Council with a better understanding of the community’s priorities for environmental projects, which has been used to assist in the development of a draft Environmental Action Plan. The draft Plan is comprised of two parts – low cost projects and process improvements that can largely be undertaken in-house, and projects that require significant funding and resources. These projects are grouped under the following four themes:

1. Estuary and Water Quality 2. Biodiversity 3. Sustainability and Environmental Performance 4. Dredging and Boating Improvements Council has also been seeking feedback from the community on the proposal to introduce an Environmental Levy which would help fund the implementation of the Plan. An Environmental Levy is one of a suite of mechanisms that could be used by Council to fund the delivery of projects, but would enable Council to provide matching funding to attract external grants. Great Lakes Council has almost tripled income from their Environmental Rate this way since introducing it over 10 years ago.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Sharp Rush Eradication Project

"The rush is similar to native rushes but is exotic and highly invasive in estuarine areas, where it spreads easily from seed and converts important saltmarsh habitat areas into dense stands of the weed"

In 2013 Council completed works to eradicate an infestation of Sharp Rush (Juncus acutus) between the northern Old Bar 4WD beach access point and Mudbishops Reserve. Sharp Rush has already spread for hundreds of hectares around the Newcastle area so Council is targeting the control of the weed here to stop it from establishing in the Manning River estuary. To build on the success of this project, Council is currently developing a broader project in collaboration with local landholders who have about 6 hectares of the weed on their land, and is believed to be the major source of infestations appearing in the estuary.


Browns Creek Gross Pollutant Trap During June 2013 Council undertook a major refurbishment of the Gross Pollutant Trap (GPT) in Browns Creek in response to the concerns of the Friends of Browns Creek, a community group who have been working hard to address the pollution of Browns Creek. Approximately 709 hectares of urban and industrial stormwater drains into Browns Creek. The refurbishment works included the dredging of built up sediment and mangroves from the inlet and outlet of the GPT, replacement of the rusting steel baskets, cleaning of the GPT and repair of the associated silt boom. The project has been successful in restoring the functionality of the GPT which is integral to protecting the aquatic ecosystem and intercepting litter before it reaches the Manning River estuary.

Harrington Wetlands Reserve Earlier this year, Council undertook a bush regeneration project at the Harrington Wetlands Reserve to protect important coastal saltmarsh habitat. Coastal saltmarsh is an endangered ecological community listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act, which provides important breeding habitat for fish, and food resources for international migratory wader birds. Saltmarsh also functions as a water quality filter by removing pollutants and sediments from stormwater before it enters the estuary. The project involved the removal of a number of environmental weeds threatening the saltmarsh including 7m tall Prickly Pear cactus, areas of Basket Asparagus, Coastal Morning Glory and Lantana. The project also involved the planting of a row of mat-rush tussocks, to help define the edge between the reserve and the adjacent mown parkland. The encroachment of mowing into native vegetation areas is a common issue, and the planting of these tussocks has been found to help mowing crews easily identify mowing boundaries.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Dredging of the Taree Rowing Course

"The project was made possible with funding provided through the NSW Waterways Program"

Earlier this year Council completed maintenance dredging operations in order to reinstate safe navigation to the Manning River’s 2,000m rowing course at Taree. Since the course was last dredged in the 1980s, it had become progressively shallower due to the accumulation of river sand and gravel, eventually restricting its use for rowing. The material dredged from this location was used to extend the parkland area along the adjacent spit. The site was then revegetated and made suitable for public recreational use as an extension to the existing foreshore reserve.


Sustainable Farming Program The program was funded through a three-year grant from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program, with the funding period coming to an end in June of this year. The aims of the Sustainable Farming Program were to engage and assist rural landholders to protect and restore the environment and adopt sustainable land management practices by using localised and regional networking, participatory action learning and action research. The four key elements of the program included the facilitation of localised Sustainable Farming Groups, the provision of public workshops, and the funding of on-farm Trials and Best Practice Farms. Within the Greater Taree City Local Government Area, three Best Practice Farms were started, and two were successfully completed. Two onfarm Trials were successfully completed in the

“The Sustainable Farming Program was a collaborative project between Greater Taree City Council, Great Lakes Council and Karuah Great Lakes Landcare with the assistance of the Hunter Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority”

GTCC LGA during the course of the program. The Wallamba and Wang Wauk Sustainable Farming Groups have now merged and have become a sub-group under Karuah Great Lakes Landcare. This will hopefully ensure its ongoing viability with Council’s reduced resources since the completion of the Caring50 for our CountryTaree grant.City Council Greater 2012-13

Annual Report

Noxious Weed Control Council has undertaken the following major weed control activities over the last 12 months: • Stitts Creek free of the noxious aquatic weed Salvinia (Salvinia molesta) for an extended period of time on the western side of Manning River Drive (declared Class 3 noxious weed). • Salvinia is a free-floating aquatic fern with slender stems, floating leaves, and a rootlike structure. It is native to Brazil and has now spread worldwide. • Infestation of White Blackberry / Mysore Raspberry (Rubus niveus) found, identification confirmed and steps taken to eradicate (declaration pending Class 2 noxious weed). • Infestation of Tropical Soda Apple (Solanum viarum) on land not connected to abattoir activities detected and placed under strict eradication process (declaration currently Class 2 noxious weed upgrading to Class 1). • Blue Heliotrope (Heliotropium amplexicaule) under control at known locations. Working toward eradication (declaration pending Class 3 noxious weed). • Biological control for Madeira Vine (Andredera cordifolia) is working well with many of the sites being heavily defoliated. (Weed of National Significance (WoNS) declaration pending). • Rubus niveus is a large perennial shrub growing up to 4.5 metres in height that may form dense thickets of intertwining stems. It is native to Asia. • Tropical soda apple is an aggressive, prickly, perennial shrub 1–2 m high. It is a native of north eastern Argentina, south eastern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. • Blue heliotrope is a summer-growing perennial herb. It is native to South America. • Madeira vine is a succulent climbing vine.


Waste Services We are continuing with the MAF (Mobile Aerated Floor) Organics processing for our Kerbside Greenwaste Collection service and through the year have hosted site visits for Queanbeyan City Council, MRA Consulting and Bunbury Hervey Shire Council’s (WA). There is significant interest in the trial undertaken by Council with wide application to other regional areas for organics processing that is efficient and affordable.

"We are excited to be introducing new Public Place Recycling bins over the coming year in high use areas with the first nine to be installed in alignment with the upgrade of the foreshore area"

We are excited to be introducing new Public Place Recycling bins over the coming year in high use areas with the first nine to be installed in alignment with the upgrade of the foreshore area. Significant work has been undertaken on these during the reporting year to ensure that the fixtures provide a wonderful opportunity to promote images of the beautiful Manning Valley. We undertook a trial collection of e-waste during the Annual Kerbside Bulky Waste Collection which succeeded in diverting approximately 90 tonnes which means this form of collection is likely to continue. We are part of a joint project between MidCoast Water, Greater Taree City and Great Lakes Councils for the installation of Water Bottle Refill Stations to reduce the number of plastic bottles being used.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

"Total waste received for the 2012-13 period was: • 55,879 tonnes • 19,920 tonnes through the domestic kerbside collection • of this 10,271 tonnes was waste • 5,156 tonnes was recyclables • 4,493 tonnes was greenwaste"


A Strong Economy


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Economic Development "The aim of economic development is to create and nurture any opportunity for job creation and economic development stimulus" Over the year economic development has worked on and contributed to: • An online education hub – linked through Taree Community College, NSW Uni, Sydney Uni, Newcastle Uni, CSU and UNE • Harrington Foreshore - $2.5m development between, NSW Government, Federal Government, several agencies and Harrington Chamber. • Wingham beautification and CBD upgrade • Old Bar town centre and regional area upgrade • Northern Gateway and freight distribution centre • Taree Airport Upgrade • Manning River Foreshore • Work Skills Australia. Traineeships for Frontline and Management training. 350 positions – none taken up in Taree. • NBN and on-line training expo for region successfully held in Taree showcasing NBN and associated businesses • Taree Sports Ground upgrade • Taree Community College upgrade and investment $1.5M RDA application • Success with applications for Wingham Scout Hall, Taree Motorcycle Club upgrade, Cundletown Soccer Club upgrade, Crowdy Head and Black Head Surf Clubs were received from the Federal Government, approximate value $390,000 • GTCC was successful in gaining $150,000 Regional Development Australia funding for fencing around Taree Park Our region’s economic aim is to attract and promote business to the region. Large and small businesses are keen to relocate to the area but may need incentives or cost reductions to make this effective. The strength of businesses is based on existing opportunity and by growing our own economy. Leveraged funding allows for greater opportunities with government funded projects.


Tourism "In May we launched the Manning Valley Visitor Guide, which showcases the best of our Manning Valley" The Manning Valley Tourism Marketing Strategy was developed and implemented this year which gave new structure and direction to the tourism marketing spend of Council and the Tourism Partnership program funds. The Marketing Strategy identified a number of priorities that aimed to promote the Manning Valley and attract tourist dollars to the area including; media campaigns, maximising the sports tourism spend, engaging with industry, improving online presence and undertaking a feasibility study of the Visitor Information Centre and the services it provides. The 2012 Tourism Partnership Prospectus underwent significant review and outlined the new Partnership Program, which was developed with the goal of creating an equitable program in line with other regions. The program identifies three tiers of membership, dependent on the size of the partner, with a range of benefits with their subscription. Many businesses were recognised with a host of local, national and international awards including The Villa at Hannam Vale, Bent on Food, Ghinni Wines, Wingham Beef Exports, Honeycomb Valley Farm and the Old Bar Festival. The Women’s Masters Hockey North State Tournament, the Little Athletics Region 1 Championships, the Little Athletics NSW Zone Championships, Hockey State Age Group Championships, and MountainDesign GeoQuest were just some of the key sporting events that were held in the region attracting many visitors. Each year a large number of events are held throughout our region and cover a diverse range of activities. From local sporting groups, community fundraising, not for profit groups, family events to major sporting, fashion and river focused events, there were a total of seventy four events presented and supported in the region. An allocation of $30,000 was set aside to support the community through the ‘Sponsorship Program’. Twenty eight community events were sponsored through this program.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

"Over 2,380 competitors competed in five Sports Marketing events"


Looking After What We’ve Got


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

• Council completed 32 capital works projects this year • Council commenced an additional 13 capital works projects this year Our Roads This year has seen Council undertake the biggest ever capital works program which is detailed over the following pages. Due to the increasing infrastructure backlog, this area’s present focus is on quality, fit-for-purpose interventions and active community engagement and education activities to manage needs and expectations in line with resource capacity. This area also focuses on maintaining an ongoing schedule of special rate variation funded works in an effort to meet core infrastructure requirements. Our Asset Planning team: • prepares and implements long-term asset management programs • manages the replacement of major assets • develops and manages rolling capital works program • provides engineering design and survey services for civil infrastructure projects • performs project and contract management for external civil projects • provides specialist civil engineering input and advice on public and private development • provides advice and investigations on flooding and drainage issues • performs traffic and transport planning.


Capital Works Projects


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

2012-13 is the last year of the special rate variation and the following graph details projects projects undertaken


Bridges The Marlee and Duffs Bridges over Dingo Creek, north of Wingham were two timber truss bridges requiring considerably more maintenance and Council budget expenditure compared to the remainder of the bridge stock. Greater Taree City Council managed the demolition of the old and construction of two new three span two lane concrete bridges, including associated approach road works, road pavement, drainage and ancillary works. The program and cost estimates were developed during the options stage very early in the lifecycle of the project. The project has proven the benefit of good project management on cost, quality, safety and program. Duffs Bridge was opened five months early in November 2012, and Marlee Bridge was opened in April 2013 at a total cost of approx. $6.8M.

The story of the bridges Marlee Bridge was constructed in 1900 to connect the farms of Marlee to the riverside towns of Taree and Wingham. Construction of Duffs Bridge over Dingo Creek was started in November 1925 and was completed in August 1926. The long construction phase was due to a delay in procuring sound timber for the top and bottom chords of the truss, together with significant inclement weather. Duffs and Marlee Bridges were handed over to Council by the then Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) in 1989, with insufficient handover funding for Council to maintain the bridges into the future.

"Greater Taree City Council manages over 230 bridges, nearly 50% are 62 Greater Taree City Council timber bridges"

Both bridges were load limited to 25 tonnes in 2003, and further restricted to 12 tonne for Duffs Bridge and 8 tonne for Marlee Bridge in 2008. Our priority was to rehabilitate, upgrade or replace the load limited bridges. There was overwhelming public concern with gaining suitable load carrying bridges, so much so, that heritage conservation was not an issue. 2012-13

Annual Report

Wallanbah Road The much needed reconstruction of a section of Wallanbah Road began in January 2013 from Candoormakh Creek Bridge for a distance of approximately one kilometre and involved pavement reconstruction, drainage improvements and minor earthworks that resulted in much wider travel lanes, improved drainage, enhanced delineation and better driveability throughout this section.


Working with the Community

Infrastructure Development

Harrington was the focus for community consultation during 2012-13, with the discussion about aged care provision.

Preliminary designs for the extensions at Wingham Sporting Complex have been prepared and have provided for placement of natural material from road works construction.

Council developed a market analysis for aged care at Harrington in response to a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at providing aged care at Harrington. In developing the market analysis Council engaged with the local Harrington community which involved:

This has provided significant cost savings for construction and will in future expand our sporting fields infrastructure for the LGA.

Roads Information

• completion of 425 surveys, providing a 17% response rate of the population aged over 18 • two community workshops attended by 50 people • staff attendance at local meetings with the Harrington Community Action Group • regular media releases In addition to Council’s community engagement, the Harrington Community Action Group provided: • a petition with 727 signatures • letters of support from 53 local business and service providers

"A new Memorandum of Understanding regarding aged care in Harrington was signed in June 2013"


Greater Taree City Council

During the past year Council initiated the introduction of the MyRoadInfo System. This is a web-based maps program designed to be the central source of information and get quality, consistent road information out to the community, particularly in times of crisis. This system is a great tool to provide a truly comprehensive service for motorists. From road closures due to flash flooding to roadworks and delays caused by accidents, the MyRoadInfo website provides an easy, one-stop-shop where motorists can find road access information from their computer, phone or tablet. The MyRoadInfo site, used by thousands across the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers has won Northern Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) a Local Government NSW RH Dougherty Award. Lismore Council staff had the honour of collecting the award on behalf of NOROC member Councils and said it was testament to the great things that could be achieved when Councils collaborate.


Annual Report

"17,000 commercial passengers a year" "36 commercial flights a week" Taree Airport At a cost of almost $4m the rehabiliation of the new runway is almost complete. With just a few finishing touches of paint still to go, we can finally deliver to the commercial and private operators a runway that should serve the community for another twenty years


Natural Disasters Significant storm and flooding events of June 2011 and February 2012 caused major damage to Council’s roads and bridge infrastructure. Due to the extent of damage and the high cost of repairs, the NSW Government declared these events as Natural Disasters. Funding for 2011 flood was received in this reporting year. As declared Natural Disasters, the State Government offers financial assistance to Council to repair those damages back to pre-existing condition. The Natural Disaster financial assistance program is managed by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) under the Natural Disaster Guidelines. The Asset Planning Department undertake all Natural Disaster damage assessments of the roads and bridge network, prepare and submit claims, negotiate funding arrangements, undertake design, project management and delivery of an approved damage restoration program.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Taree CBD Strategy The Taree Central Business District (CBD) has been the focus of a traffic study which provides an important building block for the CBD Strategy. With this traffic study completed and revision of the existing planning studies finalised; engagement with the community is set to commence in 2013-14 to develop a strategic vision for the CBD.



Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre - YMCA The YMCA of NSW commenced operation of both the Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre (MALC) and Wingham Memorial Swimming Pool in February 2013. Significant capital investment has already been undertaken by the YMCA as part of their commitment to improving customer experience at the facilities, with over $150,000 spent on expansion of the gym and refurbishment of the reception area. The kiosk has been reopened which has proved very popular with visitors to the MALC. Upgrades to the Wingham Pool kiosk and reception are further improving facilities available to the community. In the first month of operation, the MALC had the fourth highest growth in membership numbers compared to all Centres operated by the YMCA, including the large Sydney metropolitan sites. Strong growth continued through the winter months. The next full season of operation during the summer period is expected to provide record numbers in many areas from general memberships, through to programmed areas such as learn to swim. This increased growth supports the expected outcomes of the tender process undertaken by Council whereby significant increase in participation by the community in the facilities has been realised while also delivering operational savings at both facilities.


Heritage Happenings This year has seen some exciting heritage restoration projects commence. In partnership with Taree RSL sub-Branch, Council was successful in securing grants to undertake works on the Taree War Memorial Clock and the Wingham Wharf. These projects are supported under the Australian Government’s Your Community Heritage Program and will commence in 2013-14. A call for members for the Strategic Heritage Advisory Committee was undertaken in November 2012 and the committee was formed for the next four years. The committee has identified a range of heritage projects they are exploring. These included possible state heritage listing of the Wingham Town Hall, recording of historical Council documents and the Wingham heritage marker project. Council’s Heritage Advisor continues to provide advice for owners of heritage listed sites. Available for 2 days of every month the advisor has successfully provided on-site advice for 30 sites and formal advice on 25 development applications. The local heritage fund has successfully assisted four owners of locally listed heritage places with financial assistance. The $8,800 provided through the grants have resulted in over $27,000 worth of improvements being undertaken to local buildings including the St Marks Marlee Church and Taree Croquet Club.


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Cundle Green Opening On Thursday 30 August 2012, over 50 people gathered to see the name of the new Cundletown Park unveiled and enjoy the singing of the Cundletown Public School choir. The park was officially opened by Mayor Paul Hogan and Dawn Prowse OAM a popular swimming instructor who taught many of the local community to swim. Formerly the site of the Cundletown Pool, it was transformed to provide a park for local residents. The local community were asked to have their say on the name for this new park. Almost 100 people responded with the most popular name being “Cundle Green� - representing the new use of the site as a comfortable and peaceful park for the enjoyment of Cundletown residents.


Getting Things Done


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

"Greater Taree City Council is committed to good governance and recognises that it is a key component of responsible, effective and accountable local government"


Getting Things Done W it h d ra

This annual report provides highlights of the year’s activities across all five key areas of the community plan. It summarises Council’s performance over the period for the full 2012– 13 financial year against the Operational Plan 2012–13 and Delivery Program 2010–2014. Summary information on performance in each program area is provided below and has been reported in detailed form to Council each quarter throughout the year.


The report indicates that, overall, great progress was made over the financial year, with 96% of key initiatives and activities being reported as on track or completed Detailed reporting of our achievements across the year’s key initiatives is available on our website and graphs on these pages highlight a summary of progress across the Operational Plan and each of our key focus areas.

Operational Plan Initiatives 73% completed 23% progressing 4% withdrawn

Getting Things Done represents the “back office” or engine room that supports the frontline services delivery across the other four key focus areas highlighted in this plan. Early in the year, newly elected Councillors participated in several orientation and training sessions including sessions to assist them to understand local government and to enhance and develop their role. Councillors invested significant time in attending training sessions on a range of core issues such as Code of Conduct; Integrated Planning & Reporting; Financial Skills; Tendering, Roads and demonstrated a commitment throughout the year to continuing to develop their skills and understanding of local government. In December Council advertised for members of the Community to fill positions as community representatives on a number of Council’s Advisory Committees and Council continued to work with the Mid North Coast Regional Organisation of Councils to create awareness of the important regional issues challenging our communities.

A Great Lifestyle 80% completed 13% progressing 7% withdrawn

During the year, our regulatory services team


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Respecting the Environment 78% completed 11% progressing 11% withdrawn

completed a review of standard conditions and consent templates, which will make development consents easier to read and follow. We implemented an electronic impounding register for animals, established a standard operating environment and introduced BPay for debtor payment options. Council adopted a debt recovery policy and the procedures have resulted in more empathetic and streamlined debt recovery. We embarked on a complete reclassification program of the way records are created, stored and accessed in our electronic document management system. This project has significantly redefined the way that we store records and has enabled simplification of our processes. Additionally, all pensioner rebate application forms and related data, which involved making contact with all 6,800 pensioners to improve data storage and, following the changes in the legislation and review by the Australian Taxation Office reviewed the GST status of all fees and charges. The February and March floods highlight our ability to work in partnership with key agencies to assist in responding to emergency events where requested. Our role in the floods early in the year meant our mapping staff were working around the clock to keep our other agencies informed, as well as our roads crews out keeping an eye on the developing situation.

A Strong Economy 89% completed 11% progressing 0% withdrawn

Council adopted a new Gifts and Benefits Policy to ensure that all gifts and benefits, whether accepted or refused, are recorded. This complements Council’s Code of Conduct, that following changes to legislation, was also adopted. A highlight of the year was the adoption by Council of a Social Impact Assessment Policy which gives guidance to Council when considering the social impacts of proposed developments and activities. This policy was driven by the Manning Social Development Advisory Committee (MSDAC). Operationally we implemented a number of policies governing employment including Probationary Employment, Secondary Employment, First Aid, Working from Home and Attendance at Meetings. We introduced a new


Employee Orientation process and revised the salary system and Performance Review and Assessment process. Our staff survey achieved an 84.75% response rate and reported across a range of areas to focus on during the implementation of Council’s first workforce plan for the period 2013-2107. Three complaints were determined under Code of Conduct in the reporting period and no Public Interest Disclosures were received in accordance with our Internal Reporting policy.

Looking After What We’ve Got 50% completed 46% progressing 4% withdrawn

Getting Things Done 73% completed 23% progressing 4% withdrawn


Greater Taree City Council


Annual Report

Finance A Special Rate Variation was granted in 2010-11 with 10% per annum approved over 3 years. This equated to $4,495,000 for 2012-13 (net of loan repayments) combined with additional borrowings of $6,500,000 to fund capital works programs. The ten year Financial Plan software was updated and the data revised in conjunction with the development of the annual Operational Plan, in accordance with the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) Framework. The Application Studio (Infor PM) Budget and Forecasting Module was enhanced to streamline budget management and reporting across the organisation. A fees and charges software system was implemented to automate and streamline the management and reporting of Council’s fees and charges which form part of the annual Operational Plan.

Asset Management Key achievements this year have been the population of the Conquest Management System software and collating the data for roads, drainage and bridges. This has gone a long way to streamlining the annual financial reporting process required by both Federal and State Governments. With the commencement of a road asset and inventory tender, Council will be able to analyse and report on fresh data in the next financial year. This process will also enable Council to complete Asset Management Plans for roads and transport, drainage and bridge assets together with structured planning for pavement improvements.



Excellence in Engineering 2013 Excellence in Engineering Newcastle Division Awards. Greater Taree City Council in conjunction with GHD were the winners of the Regional Award for the Duffs and Marlee Bridge Replacements

Sustainable Development, Subdivision, Surveyors and Sun Angles

Sustainable Communities Award In November 2012 Council was successful in winning a Tidy Town’s Sustainable Communities Award in the Wildlife Corridors and Habitats Conservation category for Cattai Wetlands.

Waste and Recycling Sharon Mitchell, Team Leader Waste Management presented two papers at the Waste and Recycling 2013 Conference in Fremantle WA Managing Putrescible Wastes in Regional Communities – Commitments and Expectations

Institute of Traffic Planning and Management

Completed Traineeship

Richard also chaired a bus tour of the locality showing points related to his paper and giving the seminar attendees a tourist view of the Wingham rural hinterland. Richard was also instrumental in having the conference located in Wingham and assisted with organisation of the seminar.

Greater Taree City Council

Margie Wallis Senior Leader Cultural Services presented at the NSW Local Government Cultural Summit & Awards in November 2012 on Greater Taree’s Live’n’Loud @ the Library youth program

Danielle Old, Events Coordinator toured Canadian Libraries in September 2012 as her research project for the Public Libraries NSW Colin Mills Scholarship

Safe Systems on Rural Roads: How do we achieve that?


Debbie Horgan, Community Outreach Librarian presented at the Public Libraries NSW Conference in July 2012 on Greater Taree’s Literacy Outreach Programs including Stories in the Park.

Colin Mills Scholarship

Richard Wheatley, Traffic Engineer presented a paper at the Institute of Traffic Planning and Management (AITPM) Regional Seminar at Wingham February 22, 2013

Grant Calvin, Team Leader Investigation & Design presented a paper at the 18th

Public Libraries NSW

NSW Local Government Cultural Summit

Managing Risk in Landfill Operations

Association of Public Authority Surveyors Conference

Association of Public Authority Surveyors Conference (APAS2013) Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, 12-14 March 2013 and the Hunter Manning Group of the Institution of Surveyors NSW, Annual General Meeting at Taree July 26, 2013

Tanya McLean, Trainee Library Technician completed her 4-year traineeship with Council as a Library Technician and achieved her Diploma of Library & Information Services.

Completed Graduate Diploma Jane Ree Senior Leader Governance completed the Graduate Diploma in Public Administration through the Graduate School of Government at University of Sydney, on a scholarship awarded to her from the NSW Premiers Department.


Annual Report


Annual report 2012-13  
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