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Will they recognise the elephants in the room at the next Council meeting?

Next Tuesday's Ordinary Council meeting has a few Notices of Motion being tabled by Councillors. Councillor Phil Constable has given notice that he will move the following motion that Council: 1. Lobby all levels of government to work with industry to find immediate and sustainable solutions to respond to China’s National Sword initiative. 2. Lobby all levels of government for leadership in developing a circular economy in Australia, by developing and mandating sustainable procurement e.g. use of recycled plastic to manufacture park benches and play equipment, use of recycled paper in offices etc. 3. Lobby NSW Government to utilise the millions of dollars collected in Waste Levies on recycling initiatives. In his motion he advises that "China’s National Sword policy has had an impact on recycling in Australia. In July 2017 China advised that from March 2018 they would implement a system that would reject material for reprocessing that had a contamination rate greater than 0.5% (for some commodities). As a result the commodity prices have dropped and recycling opportunities have decreased. The result of which has been the stockpiling of material or disposal to landfill.

"Eurobodalla has not yet been impacted by this change. "Our recycling is processed at the material recovery facility (MRF), in Shelley Road Moruya, and produces a relatively clean mixed paper product, currently recycled in Australia. The plastic is also pelletised in Australia. "This material can then be reused to make new products. The glass is processed into a glass sand product at the MRF in Moruya and is utilised in Council’s operations and other contractors as a replacement for sand, to close the loop locally.

"A recent audit of the yellow lid recycling bin, in the Eurobodalla, indicated that the contamination rate was 12.7%, this shows improvement is needed. There is an opportunity for everyone to pay closer attention to what they put in each bin. "The NSW Government collected $659 million in waste levies in 2016/17, yet only 18% of the waste levies paid by local government were returned to local government. Allocation of these funds to assist with more recycling initiatives would provide ongoing support for the material generated by the kerbside collections." The First ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM on this is that last time a councillor suggested writing a letter in regards to another national wide issue, live animal exports, the response was that it wasn't council's business and that there was no evidence that the community were in favour. Once again it could be argued that this isn't worthy of Council writing letters. We will see how they vote especially with the Mayor back in the saddle as the Gang of Five often take their lead from her persuasions. The second ELEPHANT in the room on this matter is that if it does go through there is no certainty that Council staff will bother following through with the intent and actions required of the motion as they have previously ignored doing so for another of Councillor Constables motions passed 15 months ago. which leads to the next Notice of Motion proposed for the day:

Councillor Anthony Mayne has given notice that at Tuesday's Ordinary Meeting of Council (22 May 2018), he will move the motion that Council support the Fairfax ‘Fix It Now’ campaign being advocated by the South East Australian Transport Strategy Inc (SEATS) to seek major upgrading of the Princes Highway south of Nowra to the Victorian border. He is calling on Council to write to the Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis MP and Member for Eden Monaro Dr Mike Kelly MP advocating to the Australian Government to provide a funding deal to match the NSW Government on an 80/20 basis to deliver major upgrading of the Princes Highway south of Nowra with a key focus on provision of funding to undertake detailed route audit and planning for the Princes Highway and road corridor acquisition from south Nowra to Moruya, and subsequently from Moruya to the Victorian border.

Interestingly, while he is a SEATS representative and as such should be looking at the whole of network he will suggest priority be given to the section of the Princes Highway between Cullendulla Drive and Mogo township, inclusive of an appropriate intersection treatment to connect the Princes Highway and South Batemans Bay Link Road and provision of four through lanes continuously through Batemans Bay.

While he is at it..... Councillor Mayne (or was the Motion authored by staff) has locally identified that there should be provision of additional right turn capacity at the Princes Highway and Cranbrook Road intersection as well as provision of an off-road shared pathway from Surfside Primary School along the Princes Highway to the South Batemans Bay Link Road. Rolling out his shopping list he also includes in his Notice of Motion that priority be given to delivering a comprehensive bridge widening and strengthening program to enable safer road travel, a better working environment for transport operators and 26m HML B-double access from Nowra to Eurobodalla and then onto Bega with more immediate attention given to Narooma bridge, Wagonga Inlet, Mogo bridge, Mogo and Alsops bridge, Brogo

Also to be included in his shopping list for Councillors to vote on will be that priority be given by to provision of appropriate traffic facilities along the Princes Highway to provide a more pedestrian friendly environment and intersection upgrades within in the townships of Batemans Bay, Mogo, Moruya, Bodalla and Narooma

Adding to the actions being called on by Councillor Mayne will be a request to Council write to the local State member, Andrew Constance MP, thanking him for his strong advocacy and support to secure funding and upgrading of the Princes Highway and for his ongoing efforts to secure funding to complete the intersection

to connect the Princes Highway and South Batemans Bay Link Road.

Lastly as a member of SEATS he is requesting Council write to SEATS thanking them for their strong advocacy

and support to secure funding and upgrading of the Princes Highway including through the Fix it Now campaign.

The third ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM is the very fact that on the 14th February 2017 (15 months ago) a motion was put up by Councillor Constable/Councillor Mayne and was declared carried that: Council invite the Hon. Melinda Pavey MP in her capacity as NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, and the Hon. Andrew Constance MP in his dual capacity as the Local Member and NSW Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, the Hon. John Barilaro MP, in his capacity as Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Member for Monaro and the Hon. Bronwyn Taylor MLC, in her capacity as Parliamentary Secretary for Deputy Premier and Southern NSW, together with the RMS Southern Region Manager Ms Renae Elrington to a meeting with Councillors and the necessary Council staff, as soon as it can be arranged, to engage in a discussion about the vital importance of: i) advancing the upgrading the Princes Highway and Kings Highway, noting the critical role these highways have in servicing Eurobodalla Shire’s residents, businesses and transport needs, the greater South Coast and Canberra regions and the international market place via Canberra airport. ii) developing longer term plans for the future redevelopment of the Princes Highway and Kings Highway to meet the medium and long term needs. That was sixteen months ago..... Now we have Mayne, a SEATS Representative and councillor, requesting Federal members advocate for funding nominating, off the top of his head without any community consultation or backed by any reference to research, what he considers to be the highest priorities. Keeping in mind that SEATS is meant to be whole of network identifying where the highest priorities lie in terms of safety and network benefit. There has been criticism already of SEATS Chair Patricia White, Deputy Mayor of Shoalhaven, using her SEATS Chair hat to call on funding identifying sections in her own region. SEATS is meant to be focused on whole of network solutions and its performance and and actual lobbying accomplishments remain unknown as they do not publicly release their minutes. These were the exact reasons why Councillor Constable wanted his meeting 15 months ago - to OPENLY discuss and determine where the priorities were located in the whole of network and to establish the protocols at all levels of government required to establish a clearly defined long term plan for the network that would benefit from accessible funding. So.... The fifth ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM will be the fact that no-one will dare ask - "General Manager, can you please advise Councillor Constable why you and your staff failed to organise the meeting that was requested to be actioned agreed to on February 14th, 2017?" As it turns out the Bega Valley Shire Council have seemingly made gooses of Eurobodalla by taking their own recently endorsed motion to the 2018 National General Assembly for Local Government, to

"Advocate to the Australian Government, through the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and also the Minister for Regional Development, for appropriate funding for the Roads of National Importance, and that a review of significant corridors in all States be undertaken so that routes such as the Princes Highway between Sydney and Melbourne, would then attract Australian Government funding."

Councillor Phil Constable was well ahead of the game 15 months ago. Dissatisfied with the way both the State and Federal Governments and those who "advocated" such as SEATS he wanted to bring them all together to establish where the hurdles were and determine what might be achieved with whole of region discussions. Little did he realise that his very first hurdle would be the failure of his own staff to organise the meeting he and his fellow councillors requested.

#Council #LocalStateFederal #Opinion

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