August 2015 – Peter Clee – President

PeterFirstly I want to congratulate Deborah Allen on a great job at settling into the role of the CEO under difficult conditions. It was a mammoth effort to get the shire plan and the budget published and a rates declaration done in a timely manner. Well done.

Councillor Noble attended an alcohol workshop representing council and he will report on that workshop to the council meeting.

On 29th July I was invited by the Minister to attend a briefing by the Department of Local Government. Councillor Irvine attended. He will report on this at the August meeting.

At our last meeting the Northern Territory Government provided us with a time line for the proposed closure of our landfill rubbish dump. The time line was very tight and there were serious doubts that it was achievable. Since that time we have had a number of people working on the project and things are looking up.

Our CEO and Councillor Thorpe have been working with the Belyuen Council on the proposal to use the Belyuen rubbish dump. They also did some valuable initial work on identifying a suitable sites for a transfer station to be established. The Department of Local Government, CEO Deborah Allen and Local Government Association’s Peter McLinden have been working on the costing and layout of a suitable transfer station. This work and the joint co-operation between councils has been most helpful in trying to keep costs down and investigate good economies of scale. It is desirable to create a transfer station that can be utilised by both Belyuen and Wagait Shires into the foreseeable future.

The CEO, Councillor Irvine and myself have met with NT Government to ascertain legal and operational matters as well as funding possibilities. These meetings will be ongoing.

The Northern Land Council (NLC) along with the traditional owners have inspected proposed sites and decided against the initial site at the old Power Station near Belyuen Community. Two alternative sites have been identified and are under consideration by the NLC and we will await the results of their discussions with the Traditional Owners as to the preferred site. The NLC will then negotiate a lease over the preferred site with the NT Government Solicitor.

The Department of Local Government  has advised the following:-

“In regards to funding – DLGCS is positive about receiving a Special Purpose Grant (SPG) application for a solution which moves towards to closure of landfill sites and does not involve unincorporated land.  DLGCS will expedite consideration of a grant application which has a costed proposal agreed to by both WSC and BLC.  Peter McLinden from Local Government Assoc. has expressed he is willing to assist in the design and costing.  Peter McLinden can also assist in considering the operation model and responsibilities. ………  The initial cost estimates which Peter McLinden provided  …..  were considered reasonable. “

“In regards to operation, we agreed the preferred scenario to explore is that kerbside pick-up is arranged for both Belyuen and Wagait, and a compactor truck is used to take the waste immediately to Shoal Bay.  This outcome limits the pressure on the transfer station, means that waste doesn’t get double handled, potentially creates economies of scale, and offsets landfill management / remediation costs.  However, it is understood there may be additional challenges in achieving this, including a potential  reluctance from some residents regarding costs of the new service, and pre-existing contracts for the service in Belyuen”

“It is noted that in regards to the transfer station, a best practice design and operation would make a large improvement in environmental management and also present some income opportunities (e.g. sale of scrap metal, mulch, recycled containers etc).  The income may offset some of the additional costs as residents adapt to paying for a best practice waste management system through their council.”

In my opinion it is doubtful that a kerbside pickup service can be implemented this financial year, however this will need to be costed by our CEO and introduced at the earliest.

Progress on this matter has been significant to date and there is now a very positive attitude to work towards achieving the desired goals. I thank all those involved. Hopefully we will have some more news and firm proposals in the next 2 weeks so that the community can be updated as soon as matters have been resolved. I would hope that we can publish an update in the next issue of the Wagaitear.

I have had a lot of positive feedback as a result of my lobbying Sealink NT for free transport to TIWI as part of the school vacation program. This was a very successful event with approximately 25 people taking the trip to TIWI and I thank Sealink NT for there generous community support and assistance.

I have also recently been successful in Lobbying TELSTRA for and on behalf of the Cox Country Club. Telstra and the Telstra Shop Palmerston have generously provided a WIFI internet connection and T-Box to the Club free of charge for a period of 2 years. This is a very generous contribution  by TELSTRA and is a significant service which can now be  provided to the community through the Cox County Club.

On Friday 14th  I attended a TOPROC meeting at Palmerston City Council. The meeting reported on

the implementation of new  alcohol sales programs.

  • Darwin advised that they have developed a master plan for the city and are lobbying government to have this incorporated into the NT master plan.
  • If Darwin City Council are successful then other master plans could be developed by Local Government for there areas.
  • The Draft TOPROC Regional Development plan was presented by KPMG.
  • Coomalie reported they have installed number plate recognition system at there transfer station. This might be an option for our site.
  • Litchfield Council reported they are looking at supplementary rating for multiple residential dwellings on the one allotment.

On Monday 17th August I will be attending a meeting of the Mayors and Presidents with the Chief Minister Adam Giles to discuss Territory Day and other matters of importance to Local Government.