Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Council meeting 16 June 2009

The two meetings considered a range of items, including those mentioned below.

Council endorses "cut-the-rail" recommendation

See an account below of the Shenanigans of Cr Buman and the appalling chairing of the Lord Mayor, while the conservative councillors (The Lord Mayor, Councillors G Boyd, A Buman, B Cook, M King, B Luke and S Sharpe) back cutting the Newcastle rail line (including the current secretary of the Hunter Commuter Council, Cr Boyd!).

The restoration of City Hall

Councillors heard a briefing from the Project Team, including Mr D Ballantyne (Manager, Civic Precinct – Newcastle), Mr Hari Gohil (Shreeji Consultants Structural Engineer), Mr Bruce Pettman (Principal Heritage Architect Government Architect’s Office) and Mr Russell Lloyd (Blackadder and Associates).

The Project Team will be carrying out investigative and restoration work on the north east exterior of City Hall. Once the extent of the repairs needed is scoped, the work on the full restoration of City Hall will go to tender.

It is envisaged that half of the exterior stonework will be replaced.

Outdoor Dining

Changes to the Newcastle Development Control Plan 2005, Element 4.9 - Outdoor Dining arising from my notice of motion were unanimously adopted by Council after they'd been on public exhibition.

Council secrecy

The (long-running) Code of Conduct matter was finally resolved by Council, accepting the independent reviewers recommendation:
  1. Council receive and note the contents of the annexed report.
  2. Council takes no action against Councillor Osborne, the subject of the complaint.
  3. Council move into Confidential Session for any discussion of the report or ATTACHMENT A.

During the debate on the awarding of Council's biennial tenders, I foreshadowed that I would move a motion to improve the transparency of Council's tendering process by requiring all tenderers to declare who their Directors and Shareholders were.

This was about improving transparency (who knows who gave political donations to whom?) and restoring public confidence in the Council.

The Lord Mayor John Tate used his casting vote to defeat the motion.
FORESHADOWED MOTION: (Councillors M Osborne/T Crakanthorp)

Tenderers be required to provide the Directors and the shareholders of their Company when they tender.

Following discussion Councillor Claydon proposed that the wording be as follows:

Tenderers be required to provide the Directors and the major or significant shareholders of their Company when they tender.

The Motion was put to the meeting and Councillor Osborne called for a division which resulted as follows:

For the Motion: Councillors S Claydon, T Crakanthorp, M Jackson, M King, N Nelmes and M Osborne.

Against the Motion: The Lord Mayor, Councillors G Boyd, A Buman, B Cook, B Luke and S Sharpe.

As the voting resulted in a tied vote the Lord Mayor exercised his casting vote and declared the Motion defeated.

Councillor Nelmes retired from the Council Chamber prior to the commencement of this item.

Hunter Councils

The Board of Hunter Councils has decided to establish Strategic Advisory Groups in the area of:
  • Economic Development and Infrastructure,
  • Community and Cultural Development, and
  • Environment.
The roles and responsibilities of the Strategic Advisory Groups will be:
1.1 To have input to the development and implementation of strategic, regional positions that will enhance (economic development and infrastructure / cultural and community development / the environment) within the Hunter Region

1.2 To identify areas of opportunity and priority in relation to (economic development and infrastructure / cultural and community development / the environment) and to recommend to the Board appropriate responses to those areas of opportunity and priority

1.3 To provide a forum for discussion of regionally significant (economic development and infrastructure / cultural and community development /environmental) issues

1.4 To receive input from outside agencies in relation to areas of the Advisory Group’s responsibility and to determine the potential for that input to inform wider Board deliberations on those matters.

I was elected to the Hunter Councils Environment Strategic Advisory Strategic Group. Cr Scott Sharpe was elected to the Hunter Councils Cultural and Community Development Strategic Advisory Group. Cr Brad Luke was elected to the Hunter Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Strategic Advisory Group.

Child Care Centre leases

The staff had put up a report to jack up the rent for seven child care centre leases from a peppercorn ($1 plus GST!) to $7,725. The Liberal Cr Luke pushed for this to be adopted but luckily we got the matter deferred pending the Sustainability Review.

The child care centres are managed and operated by community management committees from facilities provided by Council for that purpose:
  • Adamstown Child Care Centre, 210 Gosford Road, Adamstown
  • Hamilton Child Care Centre, 207 Denison Street, Hamilton
  • Elermore Vale Early Learning Centre, 129 Croudace Road, Elermore Vale
  • Merindah Child Care Centre 28 Bunn Street Wallsend
  • Maryland Care and Early Education Centre, 34 Boundary Road, Maryland
  • Jesmond Early Education Centre, 56 Mordue Parade, Jesmond
  • Glendore Child care Centre, 6 Glendore Parade, Maryland

RESOLVED: (Councillors M Jackson/M Osborne)
Council defer the renewal of leases/sub lease for seven child care centres which are proposed to be for a five year term on the basis that Children’s Services (including these centres) are scheduled to be reviewed by the Sustainability Review in July/August 2009.

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