January Council Meeting Recap

Published on 31 January 2023

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Upper Hunter Council meeting was held last night and began with a resolution to adopt the minutes of Merriwa Aged Hostel Committee, appointing Deirdre Peebles as Chairperson and Ross Bishop as Deputy Chairperson. 

Council approved a series of grant projects. The total funding of almost $13 million approved, with an additional $5 million under assessment.

Some of the projects that the grant funding will cover include upgrades for a range of infrastructure and facility improvements, including almost $3 million toward documented flood damage. These projects are aimed at boosting tourism, promoting local businesses, and improving infrastructure in the shire. To view the complete list of projects, head to the agenda of last night’s Council meeting, which can be viewed on our website. 

Council resolved not to send an elective representative to the 2023 National General Assembly in Canberra and decided that General Manager Greg McDonald will attend and represent Council. The event is organised by the Australian Local Government Association with the theme of "Our Communities, Our Future". It provides opportunities to meet with Federal ministers and advisors and to provide a report back to a Council meeting. Motions can be submitted online until March 24, 2023.

Council adopted the recommendation to enter into a planning agreement with AQC Dartbrook Management Pty Ltd for the Dartbrook Coal Mine and delegate authority to the General Manager to execute the agreement, following the outcome of public consultation and endorsement of the draft Voluntary Planning Agreement at a Council meeting held on in October 2022.The agreement will ensure that two apprentice placements are reserved for Upper Hunter Shire residents, and a $20,000 contribution to a permanent Environmental Officer that will add further resource and capacity to Council’s environmental team. 

The Upper Hunter Development Control Plan 2023 (UHDCP) was adopted by Council following its public exhibition. 

Last night's council meeting adopted a notice of motion received from Cr Allison McPhee. The motion will require Council to review its remuneration policy for Councillors to include scope to withhold funds for non-attendance of council meetings and briefings and invoice Councillors for costs incurred from private investigations leading to a censure or referral to the Office of Local Government for disciplinary action. The rationale behind the motion cited the expectation for Councillors to attend meetings and hold good working relationships as stated in the OLG Councillor Handbook and to ensure impartiality and minimize costs to ratepayers.