What happened at the November Council meeting?

Published on 16 November 2021

KSC Customer Services Centre

iThe November 2021 Ordinary Meeting of Kempsey Shire Council took place in Council Chambers from 9am on Tuesday 16 November.

At their final meeting of the term, Councillors agreed next steps on a South West Rocks planning proposal, accepted the End of Term Report, agreed to put the 20-year-plan for the Shire on exhibition, accepted the financial statements for 2021 and welcomed nine new citizens to the Shire.

For a full outline of the meeting and the discussion points, please refer to the Agenda and Business Papers

South West Rocks Planning Proposal

Councillors discussed the outcome of the Rezoning Review undertaken by the Northern Regional Planning Panel and agreed to become the Planning Proposal Authority for the proposal to rezone part of Lot 35 DP1214499 South West Rocks from RU2 Rural Landscape to R1 General Residential, amending the lot size and building height standards.

The General Manager emphasised that the motion did not constitute a decision on the Development Application itself, but was rather a single step in a long planning process. By positioning itself as the Planning Proposal Authority, Council and through it the community, will have more influence over the final decision made by the NSW Government. It was also noted that the strict time period for taking up that role meant that this decision had to be made during the election period.

End of Term Report

In accordance with the Local Government Act, an End of Term report must be tabled at the last meeting of the outgoing Council and incorporated into the corresponding year’s Annual Report. This report provides a summary of Council’s key achievements over the last five years and demonstrates, through the strategic focus areas of being healthy, wealthy, safe, and connected, the progress made for the Macleay Valley community, under the leadership of the outgoing Council.

The General Manager and Councillors highlighted the response Council made to the drought, the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires, COVID-19 and the recent flood events. The cultural transformation of the organisation was also raised as having had significant impact. Councillors noted the report and moved to thank staff for their advice and support over the term of Council.

2042: Your Future

The Community Strategic Plan is prepared by Council but captures the community’s long-term aspirations and priorities for shaping the future of the Shire beyond Council’s authority. The final document is a pivotal governance tool that sits at the peak of Council’s strategic planning framework and provides overarching direction for the organisation to align delivery of programs, services and investment. 

At the meeting, Councillors noted the extensive engagement undertaken to date in preparing the draft Community Strategic Plan and the intention to place the draft on public exhibition for a period of 10 weeks from 6 December. The new Councillors will also undertake a workshop on the document once elected.There was specific conversation surrounding the draft community vision in the document:

From the mountains to the sea, our people are given the opportunities and infrastructure to build a safe, prosperous and welcoming community. Marrungbu.

Council staff will consider changes to the wording focused on resilience, natural beauty and the environment before the draft document is placed on exhibition.

Citizenship ceremony

Kempsey Shire Mayor Liz Campbell and the Hon. Pat Conaghan MP federal member for Cowper conducted the first Australian citizenship to take place outside of Australia Day since 2019. Nine individuals became Citizens of Australia, taking the pledge and singing the anthem.

Annual Financial Statements

Council suspended standing orders to hear a report from the Audit Office of NSW of the Kempsey Shire Council 2021 financial statements.

The financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2021 were then considered together with the auditor’s report and presentation. Councillors adopted the statements, noting that the Operating Performance ratio was above the Office of Local Government benchmark.

Dog walking beach access

Council noted advocacy that has already been undertaken about dog walking access in the Crescent Head area and that the NSW government agencies had indicated that there would be no changes.

Council agreed to continue lobbying authorities in conjunction with the Crescent Head Dog Walkers Club about enhancing dog walking access through National Parks and Wildlife Services and to promote opporunities for public engagement with that organisation's plans of management. 

Final meeting

It was noted that this was the last meeting of the extraordinarily long 5 year 3 month term of this Council. 

The three Councillors who are retiring from Council were thanked for their contributions. Beautiful flowers were presented to the three outgoing Councillors as a token of appreciation.

Other outcomes

Council extended the appointment of Councillors Liz Campbell and Sue McGinn as members of the Australia Day Committee until 28 February 2022 to enable delivery and post event review of the 2022 event.

Council noted updates on the Outreach Van Project, the 2021 Black Summer Bushfire Commemoration Program and the Updated Kempsey Shire Council Recovery Action Plan.

Council noted the Code of Conduct complaint statistics for the 12 months ending 31 August 2021 provided by the Office of Local Government. There were four complaints, a reduction from five in the previous period. Three out of the four complaints have now been resolved at a total cost of $24,001.

Council noted the statement of cash and investments.

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

Re-watch the meeting

Each meeting of Council is streamed live to YouTube. The meeting can be re-watched via the link below.