Council Briefs: 5 Outcomes from March Monthly Meeting

Clarence Valley Council held its monthly Ordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday, 28 March 2023 at Grafton Council Chambers. One Notice of Motion was deferred, followed by seven of 17 items debated and the other 10 adopted by consent, and a Question With Notice addressed in a meeting which lasted 68 minutes.

>> View the March meeting Agenda and Minutes

>> WATCH: Recording of March 2023 CVC meeting livestream

⬛️ The fight to retain free access to national research database

Libraries across the state including Clarence Regional Library - and the community members who use them - are at risk of losing free access to the digital archive system of Trove.

Trove is the National Library of Australia's expansive public digital archive used by many Australians including historians and researchers free of charge. In 2022, Trove Collaborative Services (TCS) introduced a new pricing model which raised serious concerns regarding the affordability and ongoing viability of participation in resource sharing for public libraries. Further Federal funding cuts are due in July.

Councillors unanimously supported Cr Steve Pickering's motion to endorse lobbying from the NSW Public Libraries Association calling for sustainable funding to ensure the continuation of free access to the Trove national database and upgrade of the digital archive systems of Trove.

  • Cr Steve Pickering: "So far already about 13 per cent of libraries have withdrawn support for Trove, and it's a real shame. So this motion is requesting our Federal Member Kevin Hogan, as well as our Federal Minister and Shadow Minister to reassess the situation and try to increase the Federal Government's funding of Trove, rather than putting it back onto local government to once again take the reins and support what should be a Federally funded piece of infrastructure."
  • Mayor Ian Tiley: "(Trove) is not just (for) local government; it has all manner of resources ... it has a vast array of information. The essence of this is to maintain free access of the information, so we can be a better society."
  • Cr Debrah Novak: "As an avid researcher I love Trove. I use it a lot to put facts to matters that I'm investigating or researching. As for extraordinarily resourceful fact checking, it doesn't get anything better than Trove, so I'd like to see the Federal Government support that and make it freely available for everybody.
  • Cr Karen Toms: "(Trove) is for all community members and it results in inquisitive, informed and connected communities. To actually start charging for this service is outrageous. Under the Public Libraries Act, libraries are free and this has been a service that librarians and community members have been able to go to and find information for free."

⬛️ Councillor listening tours hit the road

The Councillor Listening Tours have kicked off with the first two taking place in February and March.

The first tour on 16 February saw seven councillors and three executive staff visit Nymboida, Hernani and Dundurrabin, with about 55 residents in total attending the meetings to raise issues in their communities.

Four councillors and two executive staff met with about 25 residents in Glenreagh and Kungala on 07 March.

Upcoming Councillor Listening Tour dates:

  • 27 April: Coutts Crossing Coronation Hall (1.30am-12.30pm); Braunstone Public Hall (1-2.30pm)
  • 16 May: Iluka Community Hall (9.30-11am); Woombah Wellness Community Garden (11.30am-1pm); Chatworth Island Hall (1-3.30pm)
  • 25 May: Ashby Community Hall (10.30am-12pm)
  • 29 June: Minnie Water Holiday Park (10.30am-12.30pm)
  • 04 July: Tucabia Community Hall (9.30-11am); Brooms Head Community Hall (1.30-3pm)
  • 12 September: Jackadgery Public Hall (9.30-11am)
  • 17 October: Copmanhurst & District War Memorial Hall (9-10.30am)

BELOW: Executive staff and councillors met with the Dundurrabin community at the Dundurrabin Community Centre on 16 February.

⬛️ Changes to Bulky Waste Collection Service

A new bulky waste collection service will be introduced in July 2023, replacing the annual bulky waste collection process.

Collection will be spread throughout the year with an on-call service which enables residents to arrange one free collection per year at a time that best suits the household.

Collection items and quantities will remain similar. The big difference is the new process hands control of bulky waste pick-up to residents while reducing unsightly kerbside waste.

There will be no bulky waste collection taking place before 30 June to enable a smoother transition to the new collection system, which will commence from 1 July under the new 10-year Domestic Waste Management Contract. Residents are asked not to place items on the kerbside before booking their collection with the contractor.

Further information on booking arrangements and service details will be provided closer to the commencement date.

⬛️ 2021/2022 Annual Financial Statements

Council's financial results were presented as part of statutory obligations in relation to the finalisation of the audited 2021/2022 Annual Financial Statements.

It has been a trying year for preparation of Council's Annual Financial Statements due to the significant impact of the March 2022 storm event and subsequent floods delaying access to assets for valuation. Councillors were addressed by the Auditor prior to the meeting where it was demonstrated that Council had met the benchmark Performance Ratios with the exception of the Own Source Operating Revenue Ratio due to the high proportion of stimulus and natural disaster grant funding received during the year.

For more information please refer to the Council meeting Business Paper from page 322.

Note: The Office of Local Government granted Council an extension beyond the 31 October 2022 deadline to 31 March 2023.

⬛️ Bid for Clarence Valley to be an Olympic training base

Council will write to the Brisbane 2032 OIympic and Paralympic Games organising committee to register the Clarence Valley's interest in being considered as a base location for athletes, teams, or events prior to or during the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Cr Jeff Smith supported Cr Bill Day's motion to establish a dialogue with the organising committee as the first step in registering the region's desire to support this international event.

"Back in 2000 we had three rowing teams on the Clarence - two based in Grafton, one in Maclean - who then went onto the Olympics in Sydney," Cr Smith said. "There is a possible opportunity there, and one must try."

Potential benefits of successfully attracting one or more competing countries' teams to train in and utilise the assets of the Clarence Valley include additional investment in infrastructure, increased use of accommodation, tourism and entertainment.

Sporting avenues could include rowing, kayaking, white water, equestrian, hockey and surfing.

>> Revisit the February 2023 CVC meeting

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