Grants, finances and road emergency

Kempsey Shire Council

grant recipients

The November 2022 Ordinary Council meeting took place in Council Chambers from 9am on Tuesday 15 November.

Council agreed to declare a road emergency,

For a full outline of the meeting, discussion points and attachments complementing the reports, please refer to the Agenda and Business Papers page.

Road emergency

Kempsey Shire Council unanimously voted to join Local Government NSW and Country Mayors Association of NSW in declaring a state-wide road emergency on Tuesday.

Speaking to at the ordinary meeting of Council on Tuesday morning, Mayor Leo Hauville said "We need help. Our community needs help. Other regional and rural communities across the state and beyond need help. We desperately need our leaders to lead."

"Our road network, and the road network of shires across the state, have disastrous damage. We are facing a task that is beyond the reasonable scope of any local government authority. We face an unprecedented disaster that requires an unprecedented response."

The motion, which came in response to the unprecedented flooding, called for an acceleration and significant increase in funding from the New South Wales Government and a boost to existing and new funding from the Federal Government.

The declaration – and urgent call for the NSW and Federal governments to increase their existing road funding commitments in the wake of the floods – comes on the back of an estimated $2.5 billion in road damages and a collapse of the local and regional road network.

Auditors report on financial statements

Councillors received a report from the independent auditors on the 2021-22 financial statements.

The finances show an overall $30.9 million operating surplus, largely due unspent capital funds complicated by weather impacts and staffing shortages. Taking away the income from capital grants and contributions Council's audit shows an operating deficit of $3.6 million.

The auditors advised that it is important for this second figure to be brought into the positive, as presently Council is reliant on grants to meet our current service demands which is a situation the actions in the adopted in the financial sustainability strategy seek to address.

Councillors' comments and questions focused on the treatment of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) assets in the statements. Council has formed a view that it does not control the assets and should not include them in its financial statements. The NSW Auditor-General has formed a view that Council does control the assets. As a result the auditors have provided a qualified opinion on the financial statements. This topic, which affects many Councils throughout the state, will be an ongoing discussion.

First quarter of 2022-23 reviewed

Councillors adopted the Quarerly Budget Review which outlines the progress of the Delivery Program and Operational Plan 2022-23 for the first quarter of the financial year. This compares the planned progress on projects for the 2023-23 financial year and the actual progress that has been made.

A summary of the budget performance is below.


In regard to the total full year income, there is a decrease of $2.1 million. This decrease can be attributed to the deferral of spending on major Water and Sewer projects to the next financial year. This means Council won't receive grant income for the deferred projects, with the significant projects being:

  • Crescent Head Water Treatment Plant ($5.4M)
  • Willawarrin Water Treatment Plant ($2.2M)
  • Steuart McIntyre Dam Water Treatment Plant ($9.5M)
  • Stuarts Point Sewer Scheme ($3.0M)

Capital grants for Council's general fund relating to natural disasters and projects as well as grants for Council's operating fund relating to flood mitigation, high property weeds and community events have helped offset this decrease.


There is a total full year expense increase of $3.3 million. The major factors that contribute to this increase include:

  • $1.1 million upgrading street lighting to LED bulbs, which is funded by the Environmental Levy reserve.
  • Moving $500,000 from the capital road works to the operational road works budget. This is all grant funded.
  • $400,000 of grant funded economic development and community development initiatives.
  • $200,000 for necessary flood mitigation work because of recent floods.
Capital Expense

The total full year of capital expenditure has decreased by $17.7 million. This includes loan repayments. Once again, a large section of this decrease relates to the deferral of major Water and Sewer projects contributing $16.9 million to the decrease. Some projects that help offset this decrease include:

  • $500,000 on renewing roads, bridges and footpaths
  • $1 million on renewing stormwater drainage, flood plain management and Savages and Elringtons Lane in Kempsey

In the first quarter, capital expenditure sits at $10 million, indicating a challenge to spend the remaining $97 million.

Projects underway

During the first quarter, Council commenced 142 projects outlined in the Operational Plan. The projects are defined using the four themes outlined in the Community Strategic Plan 2042: Your Future. Seven projects are currently behind schedule, mainly due to wet weather, and/or resource limitations.







In Progress






Behind Schedule






Not Started












More than $53,000 allocated to community groups

As part of Round One of Council's Community Grants Program for 2022-23, 28 applications were received from community groups. Of these applications, 24 met the eligibility criteria.

The General Manager highlighted that there is both a financial and community capacity benefit to these gratns. Mr Milburn noted that the breadth and ability of these groups to take small amounts of money and see them multiply is extraordinary. He also identified the means by which the grant process empowers the community organisations to run these activities which Council would not be in a position to do.

Councillors approved grants totalling the amount of $53,349.93 to these groups. All applications were accessed fairly and transparently through the eligibility criteria.

Below is an outline of the groups given grant assistance:

Mayoral Community Fund:

Community Group



Dunghutti Elders Council

Upgrades to community facility


Kempsey Flying Club

Clubhouse amenities upgrade


Stuarts Point Community Hall Committee

Sound/PA System


South West Rocks Maritime Precinct

Upgrades to display shed for historical vessel


Dongdingalong Rural Fire Brigade

Outdoor picnic tables


Kundabung Public Recreation Reserve

Community Garden




Environmental Levy

Community Group



Big Nobby Bushcare Group

Regeneration of Big Nobby Headland, Crescent Head


South West Rocks Community Dune Care

Control invasive weeks to Back Creek boat ramp, South West Rocks


Hat Head Dune Care

Weed eradication in foredunes of Hat Head Beach




Quick Grants – Seniors Festival

Community Group



CWA South West Rocks

Luncheon with guest speakers


Kempsey Family History Group

Morning tea with historical display


CWA Gladstone

Intergenerational read at Crescent Head Public School




Quick Grants – Youth Week

Community Group



Bellbrook School of Arts Hall Committee

Young Farmers Challenge




Quick Grant – Festive Grant:

Community Group



Kempsey Macleay Dragon Boat Club

Christmas themed Dragon Boat Regatta


Kempsey Crescent Head Surf Life Saving Club

Carols on the foreshore


Bellbrook School of Arts Hall Committee

Community Christmas Party


Frederickton Public School

Carols by Candlelight


Macleay Valley Mountain Bikers

Summer festive season social ride & BBQ


Kalateenee Recreation Reserve Committee

Community Christmas evening


Kempsey District Silver Band

Kempsey Community Carols




Special consent granted for shed conversion

Councillors approved a development application (DA2200497) seeking approval for an existing shed to be turned into a detached dual occupancy house on Warbro Road, Toorooka.

As this particular development does not comply with the Kempsey Local Environmental Plan's rural and residential zoning, as it is not within 100 metres of the existing dwelling, the applicant asked for special consent.

Agreeing a new code of meeting practice

Councillors approved a new Code of Meeting Practice.

The meeting confirmed that the acknowledgment of country, traditional prayer and acknowledgment of armed services would be made standing agenda items with the phrasing to be up to the individual speaker.

It was also confirmed that photography of meetings would require permission to be granted by the mayor.

This will take effect from Wednesday 16 November 2022.

Councillor Expenses and Facilities moving forward

Councillors adopted the draft Councillor Expenses and Facilities Policy which guides what costs and equipment Councillors can claim or acquire as part of their role.

This will take effect from Wednesday 16 November 2022.

Fees waived for Aboriginal Cultural Activities at Back Creek

South West Rocks Figtree Descendants Aboriginal Corporation (SWRFDAC) requested that Council waive fees and charges associated with their cultural tourism activities at Back Creek, South West Rocks. This includes stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.

Back Creek is a culturally significant and special location for SWRFDAC. They have been using Back Creek for generations as it provides food and resources for their people and as custodians of the area, they continue to protect the natural landscape.

This application is part of a larger cultural tourism program being developed by SWRFDAC.

Councillors allowed the fee and charges for SWRFDAC, totalling $1,078, to be waived. This will support a new and developing Aboriginal business to operate on Country, demonstrating further implementation of strategic actions endorsed by Council through Macleay Valley Horizon 2030 and Kempsey Reconciliation Action Plan.

Changing the December Council Meeting date

Councillors voted to reschedule the December Council Meeting from Tuesday 20 to Tuesday 13 December.

The scheduled meeting is close to Council's shutdown period, and this may impact the availability of key staff.

General Manager delegation

Council resolved to delegate/sub-delegate to the General Manager the functions, according to the Instrument of Delegation to General Manager.

A delegation to the General Manager is required to enable Council's staff to undertake its day-to-day operational activities. Providing this delegation facilitates the effective and efficient operation of Council by providing the General Manager with sufficient power and authority to generally manage, control, and administer the affairs of Council on a day-to-day basis.

Acting General Manager appointment

Council appointed the Director of Corporate and Commercial as an acting General Manager should the General Manager be absent from work between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023.

If the Director of Corporate and Commercial is unable or willing to act as General Manager, the Director of Operations and Planning will be appointed as acting General Manager.

Order of Business considered in open session

9.1 2022-23 Quarter 1 Corporate Performance Report

9.2 Community Grant Program 2022-23 - Round 1

9.3 DA2200497 - Continued Use of an Existing Shed as a Detached Dual Occupancy House at Toorooka

9.4 Code of Meeting Practice

9.5 Councillor Expenses and Facilities Policy

9.6 Request to Waive Commercial Licence Fees

9.7 Change of Council Meeting Date - December 2022

9.8 Delegation of Authority to the General Manager

9.9 Acting General Manager Appointment

9.10 Statement of Cash and Investments - October 2022


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