Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) held its Ordinary Council Meeting for May, with the below outcomes:

NOTICE OF MOTION: Housing Availability – The Deputy Mayor put forward a Notice of Motion in regards to a Housing Affordability report. The Notice of Motion requests the CEO provide a report to the July 2021 Ordinary Council Meeting that advises Councillors on the general state of the housing market in the DRC Local Government Area, including an overview of the activity of particular housing types and shortages of certain housing types. It also seeks to gather information about whether DRC has been managing the strategic availability of residential land, and any steps that can be taken to assist further within existing processes. Finally, the report asks for advice on steps DRC can take to address any shortages of particular housing types, including specific advice on other ways that Council can work with other levels of government and the private sector to address housing supply shortages identified. Finally, the Councillors also adopted a recommendation to hold a council-led forum before July to explore factors contributing to undersupply of housing in the LGA.

NOTICE OF MOTION: Advocating for recognition of James Samuels at Dubbo Hospital – Councillors accepted recommendations that DRC advocates to the NSW Government to name part of the new Dubbo Hospital redevelopment after James Samuels, who attended the first meeting to push for a new hospital in 1866. The Mayor will write a letter to Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders and ask him to advocate on DRC’s behalf.

REPORT: Possibilities for the Reduction of Powers, Expenses and Facilities of the Mayor – A report was presented to Councillors, responding to a request for advice regarding what powers of the mayor in between council meetings can be lawfully removed or reduced. It also looked at whether the mayoral fees, expenses and facilities as provided for in the relevant policy could be lawfully reduced or eliminated. Councillors tabled an alternative motion, which stated that the Deputy Mayor be paid 100% of the additional annual mayoral fee while acting in the role of the Mayor. Councillor Mohr did not support the alternative motion.

REPORT: Options for the Appointment of an Independent Investigator - Councillors had a report from the CEO outlining DRC’s policies and procedures that are in place to manage code of conduct complaints, and also addressed the possibility of engaging an independent advisor to assist Council in future Code of Conduct complaints. The report proposed that DRC engage three separate, independent companies to assist with the management of Code of Conduct complaints to address three key areas: reviewing previous complaints, managing and investigating current complaints, and provide an avenue for future complaints. As part of this agenda item, Councillors resolved to note the correspondence it received from the Office of Local Government’s Mr Luke Walton, Acting Deputy Secretary, concerning code of conduct complaints. Council also resolved to seek advice from Local Government NSW on options for an independent and pro-active approach to ensuring that alleged breaches of Council’s Code of Conduct are able to be made with confidence that they will be properly considered and managed in accordance with the Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct.

REPORT: Prevention of Workplace Bullying Policy and Procedure – A report recommended to Councillors that the Prevention of Workplace Bullying Policy and Procedure be updated in line with recommendations provided by Sparke Helmore Lawyers. These recommendations noted that generally, the policy was positive and more than suitable; however, there were some recommendations to strengthen the policy. These additions relate to the use of wording and ensuring definitions are consistent across all policies that refer to bullying. The main recommendation was that the policy include how Council will deal with instances of behaviour that is not bullying, but unreasonable. The Councillors adopted the recommendations of the Executive Manager People, Culture & Safety, and an updated Draft Prevention of Workplace Bullying Policy and Procedure be submitted to the 15 June 2021 Culture Economy and Corporate Committee meeting for adoption.

REPORT: Dubbo Aquatic Leisure Centre – Indoor facility concepts – A tender process has occurred to provide DRC with architectural concepts for the Dubbo Aquatic Leisure Centre indoor facility. While Council does not allocated funding as part of the draft 2021/2022 budget for details designs, formal development approvals, or construction, differing funding strategies and opportunities will be sought to enable detailed design. Councillors noted the report, and adopted a recommendation to find a suitable funding strategy for an indoor aquatic leisure centre be determined.

REPORT: Expressions of Interest – Wellington New Year’s Eve event - Community consultation was carried out, as a result of a Mayoral Minute adopted at the January Council meeting, to find people or community groups interested in hosting a New Year’s Eve event in Wellington, with support from DRC. That consultation received four EOIs from individuals who were willing to volunteer at an event, and 11 people indicated they would be interested in attending. Nobody indicated they would be willing to host or run a New Year’s Eve event. The report, adopted by Council, recommended that all people who expressed interested be thanked for their submissions, and that the process did not produce any concepts or community group interest for delivery of an event. Any community group interested in hosting an event can seek finding through existing financial channels available through DRC’s sponsorship programs.

REPORT: Destination Partnership Program, Fees and Charges - Councillors adopted the fees and charges structure for the Destination Partnership Program, which aims to reach greater audiences and penetrate new markets for tourism and business attraction. Price points have been considered, to allow small or new businesses to enter the market when they haven’t before. Prices for inclusion in the Visitor Attraction Guide start at $660 for a directory listing, and $945 for a level 3 partnership, which includes advertising in the guide. The Premier Partnership is $7,245 and includes a full page advertisement and priority placement in the Visitor Guide. 

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: REQUEST FOR INFORMATION – The committee had before it a report in regards to a request for information. Councillors accepted the recommendation of the report.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: ACQUISITION OF 139-141 DARLING STREET – The committee had a report before it in regards to acquiring property of 139-141 Darling Street Dubbo. Councillors adopted a recommendation to purchase the property for $1.2 million.

Last Edited: 05 May 2021

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