NAMBUCCA

SHIRE COUNCIL

 


Ordinary Council Meeting

AGENDA ITEMS

11 December 2014

 

Council has adopted the following Vision and Mission Statements to describe its philosophy and to provide a focus for the principal activities detailed in its Management Plan.

 

Our Vision

Nambucca Valley ~ Living at its best.

 

Our  Mission Statement

 

‘The Nambucca Valley will value and protect its natural environment, maintain its assets and infrastructure and develop opportunities for its people.’

 

Our Values in Delivery

·                Effective leadership

·                Strategic direction

·                Sustainability of infrastructure and assets

·                Community involvement and enhancement through partnerships with Council

·                Enhancement and protection of the environment

·                Maximising business and employment opportunities through promotion of economic development

·                Addressing social and cultural needs of the community through partnerships and provision of facilities and services

·                Actively pursuing resource sharing opportunities

 

Council Meetings:  Overview and Proceedings

 

Council meetings are held on the last Thursday of each month AND on the Thursday two weeks before the Thursday meeting.  Both meetings commence at 5.30 pm.  Meetings are held in the Council Chamber at Council's Administration Centre—44 Princess Street, Macksville (unless otherwise advertised).

 

How can a Member of the Public Speak at a Council Meeting?

 

1        Addressing Council with regard to an item on the meeting agenda:

 

Members of the public are welcome to attend meetings and address the Council.  Registration to speak may be made by telephone or in person before 2.00 pm on a meeting day.  The relevant agenda item will be brought forward at 5.30 pm in agenda order, and dealt with following preliminary business items on the agenda.  Public addresses are limited to five (5) minutes per person with a limit of two people speaking for and two speaking against an item. 

 

2        Public forum address regarding matters not on the meeting agenda:

 

Council allows not more than two (2) members of the public per meeting to address it on matters not listed in the agenda provided the request is received before publication of the agenda and the subject of the address is disclosed and recorded on the agenda.

 

Speakers should address issues and refrain from making personal attacks or derogatory remarks.  You must treat others with respect at all times.

 

Meeting Agenda

 

These are available Council’s website: www.nambucca.nsw.gov.au


 

NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 

Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

 

Acknowledgement of Country            (Mayor)

 

I would like to acknowledge the Gumbaynggirr people who are the Traditional Custodians of this Land.  I would also like to pay respect to the elders both past and present and extend that respect to any Aboriginal People present.

 

AGENDA                                                                                                   Page

 

1        APOLOGIES

2        PRAYER

3        DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST

4        CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES —

Ordinary Council Meeting - 27 November 2014.............................................................................. 6

5        NOTICES OF MOTION  

6        PUBLIC FORUM

7        ASKING OF QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE   

8        QUESTIONS FOR CLOSED MEETING WHERE DUE NOTICE HAS BEEN RECEIVED

9        General Manager Report

9.1     Outstanding Actions and Reports.................................................................................... 14

9.2     Support for Tourism and the Future of the Visitor Information Centre................................. 21

9.3     Productivity Savings - Organisation Structure................................................................... 30

9.4     Proposed Reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952, Valla Beach Road from Community to Operational Land.............................................................................................................................. 35

9.5     Review of Alcohol Free Zone and Alcohol Prohibited Area around central business area and Gordon Park Nambucca Heads................................................................................................... 46

9.6     Council's Delivery of Youth and Community Development................................................ 51

9.7     Minutes of the Access Committee meeting held 28 October 2014...................................... 56

9.8     Minutes of the Access Committee meeting held 25 November 2014.................................. 75

9.9     Unreasonable Complainant Conduct - Model Policy.......................................................... 79

9.10   Outstanding DA's greater than 12 months, applications where submissions received not determined from 20 November to 3 December 2014......................................................................... 109

9.11   Council Ranger's Report November 2014....................................................................... 113

9.12   2014 December - Construction And Complying Development Certificates Approved November 2014.................................................................................................................................... 115

9.13   2014 December - Development and Complying Development Applications Received....... 121

10      Assistant General Manager Corporate Services Report

10.1   Fit for the Future Report 3 - Improvement Proposal........................................................ 124

10.2   Schedule of Council Public Meetings............................................................................. 140

10.3   Investment Report To 30 November 2014....................................................................... 141

11      Assistant General Manager Engineering Services Report

11.1   Feasibility of providing sewerage infrastructure to South Nambucca................................ 146

11.2   Review of Policy - Sustainable Fleet and Plant 2014 ...................................................... 173    


 

12      General Manager's Summary of Items to be Discussed in Closed Meeting

12.1   Support for Tourism and the Future of the Visitor Information Centre - Report in Closed

It is recommended that the Council resolve into closed session with the press and public excluded to allow consideration of this item, as provided for under Section 10A(2) (d) of the Local Government Act, 1993, on the grounds that the report contains commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed (i) prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it; or (ii) confer a commercial advantage on a competitor of the Council; or (iii) reveal a trade secret.

 

12.2   Investigation of 83 Old Coast Road, North Macksville

It is recommended that the Council resolve into closed session with the press and public excluded to allow consideration of this item, as provided for under Section 10A(2) (e) of the Local Government Act, 1993, on the grounds that the report contains information that would, if disclosed, prejudice the maintenance of law.

  

            a      Questions raised by Councillors at 8 above

 

       i         MOTION TO CLOSE THE MEETING

       ii        PUBLIC VERBAL REPRESENTATIONS REGARDING PROPOSAL

     TO CLOSE

       iii       CONSIDERATION OF PUBLIC REPRESENTATIONS

                   iv       DEAL WITH MOTION TO CLOSE THE MEETING

13      MEETING CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC

14      REVERT TO OPEN MEETING FOR DECISIONS IN RELATION TO ITEMS DISCUSSED IN CLOSED MEETING.

 

 

 

 


NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 

 

DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST AT MEETINGS

 

 

Name of Meeting:

 

Meeting Date:

 

Item/Report Number:

 

Item/Report Title:

 

 

 

I

 

declare the following interest:

          (name)

 

 

 

 

Pecuniary – must leave chamber, take no part in discussion and voting.

 

 

 

Non Pecuniary – Significant Conflict – Recommended that Councillor/Member leaves chamber, takes no part in discussion or voting.

 

 

Non-Pecuniary – Less Significant Conflict – Councillor/Member may choose to remain in Chamber and participate in discussion and voting.

 

For the reason that

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signed

 

Date

 

 

 

 

 

Council’s Email Address – council@nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

Council’s Facsimile Number – (02) 6568 2201

 

(Instructions and definitions are provided on the next page).

 


Definitions

 

(Local Government Act and Code of Conduct)

 

 

Pecuniary – An interest that a person has in a matter because of a reasonable likelihood or expectation of appreciable financial gain or loss to the person or another person with whom the person is associated.

(Local Government Act, 1993 section 442 and 443)

 

A Councillor or other member of a Council Committee who is present at a meeting and has a pecuniary interest in any matter which is being considered must disclose the nature of that interest to the meeting as soon as practicable.

 

The Council or other member must not take part in the consideration or discussion on the matter and must not vote on any question relating to that matter. (Section 451).

 

 

Non-pecuniary – A private or personal interest the council official has that does not amount to a pecuniary interest as defined in the Act (for example; a friendship, membership of an association, society or trade union or involvement or interest in an activity and may include an interest of a financial nature).

 

If you have declared a non-pecuniary conflict of interest you have a broad range of options for managing the conflict.  The option you choose will depend on an assessment of the circumstances of the matter, the nature of your interest and the significance of the issue being dealt with.  You must deal with a non-pecuniary conflict of interest in at least one of these ways.

 

·         It may be appropriate that no action is taken where the potential for conflict is minimal.  However, council officials should consider providing an explanation of why they consider a conflict does not exist.

·         Limit involvement if practical (for example, participate in discussion but not in decision making or visa-versa).  Care needs to be taken when exercising this option.

·         Remove the source of the conflict (for example, relinquishing or divesting the personal interest that creates the conflict or reallocating the conflicting duties to another officer).

·         Have no involvement by absenting yourself from and not taking part in any debate or voting on the issue as if the provisions in section 451(2) of the Act apply (particularly if you have a significant non-pecuniary conflict of interest).

 


NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

Ordinary Council Meeting

MINUTES OF THE Ordinary Council Meeting HELD ON 27 November 2014

The following document is the minutes of the Ordinary Council meeting held 27 November 2014.  These minutes are subject to confirmation as to their accuracy at the next meeting to be held on 11 December 2014 and therefore subject to change.  Please refer to the minutes of 11 December 2014 for confirmation.

 

 

PRESENT

 

Cr Rhonda Hoban (Mayor)

Cr John Ainsworth

Cr Bob Morrison

Cr Brian Finlayson

Cr Elaine South

Cr Anne Smyth

 

 

ALSO PRESENT

 

Michael Coulter (General Manager)

Scott Norman (AGM Corporate Services)

Paul Gallagher (AGM Engineering Services)

Monika Schuhmacher (Minute Secretary)

 

 

APOLOGIES

 

Cr Kim MacDonald and Cr Paula Flack

 

 

CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF PHILLIP HUGHES

 

The Mayor read out the joint media release from Council on behalf of the community, the Macksville Ex-Services Cricket Club and the Bowraville Rugby League Club.

 

 

PRAYER

 

Father Michael from the Catholic Church offered a prayer on behalf of the Nambucca Minister's Association and a minutes silence in memory of the late Phillip Hughes.

 

 

INTRODUCTION OF NEW STAFF

 

Councillors were introduced to the following staff members:

 

i)           Tim Shields                     Information and Communications Technology Officer

ii)          Matthew Leibrandt           Manager Infrastructure Services

 

 

DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST

 

Councillor R Hoban declared a non-pecuniary significant conflict of interest in Item 9.2 Quarry Solutions Pty Ltd v Nambucca Shire Council - Update on Directions Hearing Held 3 November 2014 under the Local Government Act as Cr Hoban was involved in negotiating the conditions of consent for this quarry prior to becoming a Councillor.  Cr Hoban left the meeting for this Item.

 

Councillor R Hoban declared a non-pecuniary significant conflict of interest in Item 9.4 DA 2001/096 Modification Valla Quarry Lot100, 101, 104 DP1118337 491 Valla Rd Valla under the Local Government Act as Cr Hoban was involved in negotiating the conditions of consent for this quarry prior to becoming a Councillor.  Cr Hoban left the meeting for this Item.

 

Councillor JA Ainsworth declared a non-pecuniary less significant conflict of interest in Item 9.2 Quarry Solutions Pty Ltd v Nambucca Shire Council - Update on Directions Hearing Held 3 November 2014 under the Local Government Act as Cr Ainsworth has a distant relative’s son-in-law who delivers material from the quarry from time to time.. 

 

 

CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES - Ordinary Council Meeting 13 November 2014

 

557/14 RESOLVED:        (South/Smyth)

 

That the minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting of 13 November 2014 be confirmed.

 

 

 

NOTICE OF MOTION - CR Hoban

 

ITEM 5.1      SF1933              271114      Notice of Motion - Request for Leave - Cr Rhonda Hoban (Mayor)  (SF346)

558/14 RESOLVED:        (Hoban/South)

 

That Cr Rhonda Hoban (Mayor) be granted leave of absence in accordance with Section 234(d) of the Local Government Act for the period Monday 15 December to Friday 19 December 2014 inclusive.

 

  

 

ASKING OF QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

 

There were no Questions with Notice.

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR CLOSED MEETING WHERE DUE NOTICE HAS BEEN RECEIVED

 

There were no Questions for Closed Meeting where due Notice has been received.

 

 

 

General Manager Report

 

ITEM 9.1      SF959                271114      Outstanding Actions and Reports

559/14 RESOLVED:        (Smyth/South)

 

That the list of outstanding actions and reports be noted and received for information by Council.

 

 

 

The Mayor left the meeting for Items 9.2 and 9.4 at 5.41 pm and Deputy Mayor Cr Ainsworth took the Chair for the duration of these Items.

The Mayor returned to the Chair after the conclusion of Item 9.4, at 6.02 pm.

 

ITEM 9.2      DA2001/096        271114      Quarry Solutions Pty Ltd v Nambucca Shire Council - Update on Directions Hearing Held 3 November 2014

560/14 RESOLVED:        (Finlayson/Morrison)

 

Council note the instructions provided to its solicitors Norton Rose Fulbright and the outcome of the directions hearing on 3 November 2014.

 

 

 

ITEM 9.4      DA2001/096        271114      DA 2001/096 Modification Valla Quarry Lot100, 101, 104 DP1118337 491 Valla Rd Valla

561/14 RESOLVED:        (Finlayson/South)

 

1        That the Land and Environment Court be advised that Council believes there is insufficient information in the application in relation to the increased operation of the rock drill to make a determination as to whether or not it is substantially the same development.

 

2        That Council’s Manager Development and Environment be provided with delegated authority to finalise and submit to the Land and Environment Court Council’s Statement of Facts and Contentions by 5 December 2014.

 

For the motion:               Councillors Ainsworth, Morrison, Smyth, Finlayson, South                   (Total 5)

Against the motion:         Nil

 

 

 

ITEM 9.3      SF2031              271114      Nambucca Shire Council Centenary Year 2015

562/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/South)

 

1        That Ms Carroline Rhodes be commissioned to author a book telling the history of Nambucca Shire Council generally in accordance with her proposal and with a suitable agreement to be drafted by Council’s solicitor.  That Council’s seal be attached to the agreement if required.

 

2        That Ms Joy Lane be advised that Council accepts the proposal put forward by all four museums of the Nambucca Valley to produce a calendar with photographs of the area over the past 100 years with Council covering publishing and printing costs with revenue from the sale of the calendars being reimbursed to Council to offset expenses, and with any net profit being retained by the museums.

 

3        That Council’s 2015/2016 budget consider an additional, third flag pole to be located at the front of the Administrative Centre.

 

4        That Council’s 2015/2016 budget consider a commemorative board for the Council Chambers acknowledging the names of all Councillors and Council staff who served the Council in its centenary year.

 

 

Item 9.4 was dealt with above.

 

 

 

ITEM 9.5      SF1947              271114      Outstanding DA's greater than 12 months, applications where submissions received not determined from 5 November to 19 November 2014

563/14 RESOLVED:        (Smyth/South)

 

That the applications where submissions have been received be noted and received for information by Council.

 

 

 

ITEM 9.6      SF1148              271114      Council Ranger's Report October 2014

564/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/South)

 

That the Council’s Rangers report for October 2014 be received and noted by Council.

 

 

 

ITEM 9.7      SF24                  271114      Frank Partridge VC Military Museum - Request for Waiving of Tip Fees to Dispose of Asbestos and Assistance with Concreting

565/14 RESOLVED:        (Smyth/Finlayson)

 

1        That Council approve the waiver of waste management fees, except for the EPA’s Waste Levy and applicable GST, for the disposal of the asbestos roof of the Frank Partridge VC Military Museum.  Further that the waived fees be recorded as a donation under the current donations policy.

 

2        That Council provide $2,000 to the Frank Partridge VC Military Museum as a donation towards the construction of a concrete footpath crossing to provide access to their vehicle display area.

 

 

 

ITEM 9.8      SF1481              271114      Licence Agreement for Occupation of Land for Caravan Park Encroachments, Advertising Sign and Pontoon - White Albatross Caravan Park

Motion:      (Smyth/South)

 

That Council as Trust Manager approve the draft consolidated licence for the use of Crown land by the White Albatross Caravan Park generally as set out in Trim document 34782/2014 and that Council’s seal be attached to the licence if required.

 

Amendment:       (Hoban/Smyth)

 

1           That Council as Trust Manager approve the draft consolidated licence for the use of Crown land by the White Albatross Caravan Park generally as set out in Trim document 34782/2014 and that Council’s seal be attached to the licence if required.

 

2           That the owners be advised that when the next rent review is conducted Council intends to base the lease fee on the commercial valuation of the land.

 

The amendment was carried and it became the motion and it was:

 

566/14 Resolved:        (Hoban/Smyth)

 

1        That Council as Trust Manager approve the draft consolidated licence for the use of Crown land by the White Albatross Caravan Park generally as set out in Trim document 34782/2014 and that Council’s seal be attached to the licence if required.

 

2        That the owners be advised that when the next rent review is conducted Council intends to base the lease fee on the commercial valuation of the land.

 

 

 

ITEM 9.9      DA2006/092        271114      Macksville Heights Estate Subdivision - Classification of Site of Sewerage Pumping Station as Operational Land

567/14 RESOLVED:        (South/Smyth)

 

1        That the proposed Lot 38 being land containing a sewerage pumping station in the Macksville Heights Estate be classified as operational land and be recorded as such in Council’s land register.

 

2        That Council’s seal be attached to documents relating to the transfer of the land, if required.

 

 

 

Assistant General Manager Corporate Services Report

 

ITEM 10.1    SF2025              271114      Fit For the Future - Scale and Capacity

568/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/Smyth)

 

That Council resolves that Nambucca Shire does have the scale and capacity broadly consistent with the recommendation of the Independent Local Government Review Panel and will prepare Council’s Fit for the Future submission on the basis of the existing Shire boundaries and membership of the proposed North Coast Joint Organisation of Councils.

 

 

 

ITEM 10.2    SF395                271114      Local Infrastructure Renewal Program - Borrowing Program

569/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/Morrison)

 

1        That Council approves new borrowings of $1,963,000 for Infrastructure Works (Bridges) as described in the Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme (LIRS) Funding agreement for Bridge Replacement Program 2014/15 as executed 1 November 2014.

 

2        The approved terms of the loan are reducing balance loan for $1,963,000 for a 10 year term with a fixed interest rate and monthly repayments.

 

3        The General Manager accepts the most cost effective loan based on the requested terms.

 

4        Council authorise the Mayor and the General Manager to execute the Loan Agreement.

 

5        That in the event the successful financial institution requires the loan agreement to be executed under seal that the Council Seal be affixed to the Loan Agreement.

 

 

 

ITEM 10.3    SF251                271114      Schedule of Council Public Meetings

570/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/Finlayson)

 

That the schedule of dates for public Council meetings be noted and received for information by Council.

 

 

 

ITEM 10.4    SF1997              271114      September 2014 Budget Review

571/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/Finlayson)

 

1        That the budget review for the quarter ended 30 September, 2014 be received.

 

2        That the recommended increases and decreases in votes be included as subsequent votes for the financial year 2014/2015.

 

572/14 Resolved:        (Hoban/Morrison)

 

3        That Council’s Finance Section be asked to review, when time permits, Council’s current liquid equity levels and their relationship to the minimum level of Council’s policy.

 

 

 

ITEM 10.5    SF134                271114      Annual Report 2013-2014

573/14 RESOLVED:        (Smyth/Ainsworth)

 

That Council note the completion of the 2013/2014 Annual Report and that the 2013/2014 Annual Report will be placed on Council’s website and advice be forwarded to the Minister for Local Government as required.

 

 

 

Assistant General Manager Engineering Services Report

 

ITEM 11.1    SF1676              271114      Capital Works Report - September 2014

574/14 RESOLVED:        (Finlayson/South)

 

1        That the Capital Works Report for the first quarter of the 2014/15 financial ending 30 September 2014 be received and noted.

 

2        That the proposed variations be endorsed and included in the September 2014 budget review.

 

3        That the savings of $23,000.00 on Sinclair’s No. 1 be allocated towards the final cost of Tout’s Bridge.

 

4        That Council allocate an amount of $45,000.00 from Working funds to Tout’s bridge.

 

 

 

ITEM 11.2    SF934                271114      Tender for Supply and Delivery of Ready Mixed Concrete (T151415MNC)

575/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/Finlayson)

 

That Council:

 

1        Reject all tenders as per Clause 178 (1)(b) and Clause 178 (3)(e)

 

2        Request Regional Procurement to enter into negotiations with all tenderers with a view of entering into a panel contract for the supply and delivery of ready mix concrete to Council.

 

3        The panel contract to run for a period of 24 months commencing 1January 2015 to 31 December  2016

 

4        That a provision be allowed for a 12 month extension based on satisfactory supplier performance which may take T151415MNC contract through to 31 December 2017.

 

For the motion:               Councillors Hoban, Ainsworth, Morrison, Smyth, Finlayson, South       (Total 6)

Against the motion:         Nil

 

 

 

ITEM 11.3    SF2007              271114      Off River Storage Project - Recreation Management Plan

576/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/Smyth)

 

That Council restrict access to the site to authorised personnel only and provide no opportunity for recreational activity except for nominated open days.

 

 

 

ITEM 11.4    SF1642              271114      Bowraville Sewerage Treatment Plan - Proposed Constructed Wetland and Improvements to Reuse Water Quality

577/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/South)

 

That Council:

 

1        Not proceed with the construction of the original proposed constructed wetland at Bowraville Sewage Treatment Plant.

 

2        Seek quotes from suitably qualified consultants to document a Recycled Water Quality Management Plan for the Bowraville Sewage Treatment Plant including a risk assessment of the proposal to upgrade the reuse water treatment system and provide a recommendation as to the level of treatment and the equipment required.

 

3        Seek Section 60 approval from the NSW Office of Water for a proposal to upgrade the wastewater reuse treatment system once the Management Plan has been documented.

 

3           Utilise the existing 2014/15 budget allocation for the constructed wetland to complete the above works and adjust that budget to reflect the reduced expenditure this year.  Provide a funding allocation for consideration in the 2015/16 budget for design and installation of the improved wastewater treatment system.

 

 

The meeting adjourned at 7.07 pm

The meeting reconvened at 7.47 pm

 

    

 

COUNCIL IN CLOSED MEETING (CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC)

 

578/14 RESOLVED:        (Ainsworth/Morrison)

 

1        That Council consider any written representations from the public as to why the Meeting should not be Closed to the public.

 

2        That Council move into Closed Meeting to discuss the matters for the reason(s) listed below.

 

4           That the recommendations concerning the Closed Items 12.2, 12.3 and 12.4 in the report in open meeting be noted.

 

Reason reports are in Closed Meeting:

 

 

 

General Manager Report

For Confidential Business Paper in Closed Meeting

ITEM 12.1    SF839                271114      General Manager's Performance Review

It is recommended that the Council resolve into closed session with the press and public excluded to allow consideration of this item, as provided for under Section 10A(2) (a) of the Local Government Act, 1993, on the grounds that the report contains personnel matters concerning particular individuals.

 

 

 

CLOSED MEETING

 

The Ordinary Council Meeting's Meeting IN CLOSED MEETING commenced at 7.47 pm.

 

 

 

RESUME IN OPEN MEETING

 

579/14         (Ainsworth/South)

RECOMMENDATION:

 

That Ordinary Council Meeting resume in Open Meeting. The Ordinary Council Meeting resumed IN OPEN MEETING at 9.45 pm.

 

 

FROM COUNCIL IN CLOSED MEETING

 

General Manager Report

For Confidential Business Paper in Closed Meeting

ITEM 12.1    SF839                271114      General Manager's Performance Review

Recommendation:

 

That the General Manager note the Council’s comments on his performance.

 

 

 

CLOSURE

 

There being no further business the Mayor then closed the meeting the time being 9.46 pm. 

 

Confirmed and signed by the Mayor on 11 December 2014.

 

 

 

 

CR RHONDA HOBAN

MAYOR

(CHAIRPERSON)

 

          


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager

ITEM 9.1      SF959              111214         Outstanding Actions and Reports

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

 

The following table is a report on all outstanding resolutions and questions from Councillors (except development consents, development control plans & local environmental plans). Matters which are simply noted or received, together with resolutions adopting rates, fees and charges are not listed as outstanding actions. Where matters have been actioned they are indicated with strikethrough and then removed from the report to the following meeting. Please note that the status comments have been made one week before the Council meeting.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the list of outstanding actions and reports be noted and received for information by Council.

 

 

 

 

FILE

NO

COUNCIL

MEETING

SUMMARY OF MATTER

ACTION

BY

STATUS

 

MARCH 2011

1

DA2010/234

17/3/11

Council develop a policy as to the cumulative impacts of locating fill on the floodplain at Macksville and also review the matrix in the Floodplain Risk Management Plan

 

GM

Estuary Committee met on 30 October and have recommended the appointment of WMA Water to undertake the Floodplain Risk Management Plan.

At Council’s meeting on 13 November it was resolved that WMA Water to appointed to prepare the Flood Risk Management Plan.

JULY 2011

2

SF1031

21/7/11

That the policy for Climate Change Adaption be deferred to allow amendments to be made to the draft policy

 

GM

Update as at 16 April - the project is awaiting the completion of the floodplain risk management matrix which will formally consider the acceptance or otherwise of a forecast climate change induced sea level rise of 900mm by 2100.

 

OCTOBER 2011

 

3

SF1460

17/11/11

Structure of the Farmland (rate) Category be changed to incorporate the statutory minimum with ad valorem maintaining yield. Council undertake a review of the farmland criteria to better reflect high intensity pursuits.

 

AGMCS

Change in Rates staff meant that there has not been the opportunity to review the criteria.  To be reported in 2013/2014.

Shall be reviewed as part of the 2014-15 budget.

To be included in with proposed rates workshop – April 2014.

2014/15 rating structures set as per Special Rate Variation include with rating workshop August 2014.  Report in October.

Deferred to meeting in November due to the number of inspections in October. 

Draft Presentation partially complete, deferred to due staff on leave and development for Fit for the future response.  Will be conducted early in the new year as part of the IP&R process.

 

 

AUGUST 2013

 

4

SF1031

14/08/13

That the tree policy be again presented after Councillors have had sufficient time to comment on the amendments presented by Councillors and in view of the previous motion of Council, namely “Tree Removal” (SF629) containing the 6D principles.

 

 

AGMES

Report in September 2013.

Deferred to October 2013.

At the request of Cr Morrison this item has been deferred to the first meeting in November 2013.

Cr Morrison has provided information to the Manager Civil Works who will draft a report to the December Council meeting.

Staff on leave during December – deferred until February 2014.

Deferred until April – Staff dealing with landslips.

Deferred until May 2014

Deferred until June 2014

Deferred until September 2014 and a report will be prepared on the outcome of the meeting.

 

Policy has been redrafted and a new operations procedures manual developed. A memo with the updated policy and procedures will be provided to Councillors for comment at the end of December

 

 

NOVEMBER 2013

 

5

SF1817

13/11/13

RMS be requested to place speed cameras at the northern approach/exit of the Macksville Bridge and a red light camera at Partridge/Cooper Street intersection or Boundary Street/Highway intersection.  Also RMS be requested to make the left lane at the Cooper/Partridge Street lights southbound a left turning lane only.

 

AGMES

Letter sent to RMS 15 November 2013.

Acknowledgement letter received from RMS advising the matter has been referred for investigation, (copy of RMS letter provide to Councillors on 17/12/13.)

Raised at the Traffic Committee on 4/2/14.  RMS advised that the matter is being investigated.

Letter sent to RMS 6 June seeking update on progress.

RMS advised, still under investigation.

Speed camera now installed on northern end of Macksville Bridge.

 

6

SF642

28/11/13

That Council review both the Pesticides Use Notification Policy and Noxious Weed Policy.

AGMES

Report to April 2014 meeting and will include the State change to Noxious Weeds Act.

Deferred until September – pending outcome of the Noxious weeds review following the Minister of Primary Industries request that the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) conduct a review into the effectiveness and efficiency of weed management in New South Wales.

Report deferred to second meeting in November 2014 pending a meeting with Noxious Weeds Inspector and DPI regarding any changes to the Act.

 

DECEMBER 2013

 

7

SF1842

11/12/13

That if Council and IPART support a rate increase above rate pegging, Council provide a quarterly report either through a media release or its rates newsletter to confirm to ratepayers that the additional funds are being spent on roads and bridges as indicated in our community consultation.

 

GM

The first quarterly report would be the rates newsletter to be distributed with the 2014/2015 rates notice.

Report produced.

 

Media release issued before 13 November Council meeting.

 

FEBRUARY 2014

 

8

SF844

27/02/14

That Council prepare a Dam Filling Options report as required by the Office of Water and undertake consultation with Fisheries, EPA and downstream landholders.

 

AGMES

Report July 2014

Deferred until September meeting scheduled with Office of Water and a response will be presented to Council with the outcome of the meeting.

Email provided to Councillors on 4 Sept 2014 advising at this stage meeting in September is not required;

It was an anticipated that a further meeting would be required to finalise the draft options filling report Both the entities (Office of Water and Primary Industries – Fisheries) had no objection to the proposal put forward from Council which basically involved full release of minor rainfall events 5mm or less and increasing percentage of rainfall captured for larger events up to 90% capture for 100mm rainfall or over.

The Office of Water advised that the operating conditions (extraction rules and dam licence) do not come into effect until the dam is commissioned and this is considered to be at 60% full and water levels can be managed.  In effect this means that Council can pump as it likes within current licence and there is no requirement for transparent release of rainfall until the dam is 60% full.

Council has applied to Office of Water for a permit to capture surface water.

 

Email forwarded to Councillors on dam filling options update following question at Council meeting on 28 August.

 

 

MARCH 2014

 

9

SF841

SF1933

27/3/14

Council make further representations re the option of bridging the NV floodplain in preference to a filled embankment and culverts.

Council make representations to the Minister re concerns regarding impact of construction phase – cut and fill and length of construction period and long term maint-enance costs and impact of addition flooding issue.

 

AGMES

Letter sent 24 April 2014 (TRIM 9433/2014)

Letter drafted 3 April 2014

Mayor discussed matter with the Deputy Premier on 27/6/2014 and is meeting with the Minister for Transport (train timetabling) and the Minister for Roads on 14/8/14.

Response provided to Councillors.

Council has been supplied with preliminary (15% complete) design for Nambucca River Crossing by the Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture.

The Mayor met with Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian MP on and the Minister for Roads Duncan Gay MLC 14 August 2014.

 

RMS and Pacifico to address a special meeting of the Estuary Committee on 4 December 2014.

 

 

APRIL 2014

 

10

PRF54

10/4/14

Council allow dogs on leads at the Gumma Reserve up until November 2014 and review the situation prior to the peak season.

 

GM

MBD

Report October 2014

Deferred to second meeting in November 2014.

Manager Business Development on leave – will need to defer to meeting in December 2014.

 

JUNE 2014

 

11

SF988

12/06/14

That Council write to the NSW Minister for Health & the CEO of the MNC Local Health District emphasizing the urgent need for the planning & funding of a replacement of Macksville hospital and the urgent need for support for, and the recruitment of doctors & nurses.  Further that Council extend an invitation to the Minister to inspect the hospital and hear the concerns held for its future.

 

GM

Letter sent 20 June 2014

Mayor discussed matter with Deputy Premier on 27/6/2014.

 

12

SF988

12/06/14

Council look for possible sites for a new Macksville Hospital which are in flood free areas.

 

GM

Offer to assist MNCLHD in locating a new site referred to Minister and CEO of MNCLHD in letter of 20 June 2014.

Now expecting a funding announcement in relation to the Macksville Hospital before the March 2015 State election but the available funding will only be sufficient for a refurbishment, not a new hospital.

 

 

13

SF732

26/06/14

Council seek funding in the next round of the Sustainable Dredging Program to employ a consultant to prepare a report on the merits of a dredging strategy etc.

 

GM

Next round of the Government’s dredging program has been announced with applications closing 15 December 2014. If successful will require matching funding from Council.  Grants Officer and Strategic Planner will be lodging an application for funding to employ a consultant to prepare and cost a program of maintenance dredging.

 

 

14

SF1496

29/06/14

That RMS and Acciona Ferrovial be invited to attend the next meeting of the Estuary Committee to explain how the new Pacific Highway bridge over the Nambucca River is to be constructed.

 

GM

Letter sent w/e 4/7/2014.

 

Arrangements now being made for the RMS and Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture (now Pacifico) to address a special meeting of the Estuary Committee to be held on 4 December 2014.

 

 

JULY 2014

 

15

SF791

31/07/14

That item 2 (sale of part of Gordon Park to Leckie) be deferred until a further report from Crown Lands is received following their discussion with the Leckies and whether they (Crown Lands) have changed their opinion.

 

GM

Letter emailed to Crown Lands seeking their advice on 6/8/14.

 

AUGUST 2014

 

16

SF1933

14/08/14

Proposal from Nambucca River Users Group to reinstate boat launching site at Wirrimbi be deferred until the Group submit a formal proposal to Council.

 

AGMES

Awaiting receipt of proposal.

 

17

SF1148

14/08/14

That Council receive a report regarding nose to kerb parking including what other LGAs are doing in regard to parking; the pros and cons of various ways of parking; and a parking strategy for Council’s consideration.

 

AGMES

Report March 2015

 

18

SF595

28/08/14

That Council develop a plan of management for the ongoing maintenance of Hughes Creek.

 

AGMES

March 2015

 

19

SF247

28/08/14

Council correspond with landowners in the Lower Nambucca to gauge support for a pressure sewerage system; that Council engage a consultant to complete a concept design; that Council provide a budget variation of up to $10,000 for the work.

 

AGMES

October 2014

 

Catchment area investigated and now defined. Letters to be sent to the affected landowners at the end November advising them of the proposal and estimate of costs based on the developer contributions within Councils adopted fees and charges.

 

Consultant’s report anticipated mid-November and report to Council scheduled for December.

 

 

SEPTEMBER 2014

 

20

SF791

11/09/14

There be a further report to Council on the outcome of the tender for the development of the subdivision (Hyland Park) and the reserve price for the lots.

 

GM

Report February 2015.

 

21

SF399

26/09/14

Pending the outcome of the Fit for the Future reform process Council consider reducing the no. of councillors from 9 to 7 via a referendum.

 

GM

Deferred to late 2015 (next LG general election scheduled for September 2016).

 

22

SF399

26/09/14

Council review the vacant position of Information and Communications Technology Officer (electronic engagement) in 6 months’ time.

 

GM

Report March 2015.

 

23

SF399

26/09/14

Council requested a further report on the option of reducing staffing levels in the outdoor workforce.

 

GM

Report November 2014.

The AGMES is preparing a detailed proposal for a change to the organisation structure of the outdoor workforce which will be reported to the Council meeting on 29 January 2015.  The deferral will allow for some input by Council’s new Manager Infrastructure Services, Mr Matt Leibrandt.  The report will assess and recommend on option/s to reduce staffing levels in the outdoor workforce.  There will also be a report to Council’s meeting on 11 December on a general call for voluntary redundancies.

 

 

OCTOBER 2014

 

24

PRF71

16/10/14

Council attempt to arrange a meeting with representatives of the Skaters and the residents who undertook legal action against Council to explore opportunities for an agreement etc (Nambucca Heads Skate Park)

 

GM

Letters sent to Skaters and Residents on 23/10/14

 

Response received from residents’ solicitor advising that all communication has to be between Council’s solicitor and the residents’ solicitor.  Council’s solicitor instructed to act on Council’s behalf in trying to reach agreement for a meeting.

 

25

SF1480

16/10/14

A new license agreement for encroachments, excluding Ms Gee’s dwelling, be entered into with the new owner, the Dennien Group … Ms Gee provide a written undertaking within 21 days agreeing to the exclusion of her dwelling from the encroachment licence.  Pending receipt of the written agreement from Ms Gee and the Crown, that Council issue a notice of intention to serve an order to remove the dwelling and that a period of 3 months be provided for this.

 

GM

Letters sent to the Ms Gee and the Crown on 23/10/14.  Legal advice received from Dennien Group that they are not required to re-locate Vicki Gee’s dwelling from site 42, nor compensate Vicki Gee for any such removal.  “We note that, notwithstanding the above, that the Terms of Settlement do not otherwise diminish Vicki Gee’s claim for compensation in the event the licenced land is not transferred from Crown Lands to the Business Owner.  However, we note that as Vicki Gee only leases site 42 from the Business Owner any claim would, in our opinion, need to be limited to the extent of the terms of the Lease agreement between the parties”.

Mr Dennien meeting with the Mayor and GM on 23 October.

As at 3/12/2014 Council had not received the written undertaking from Ms Gee.

 

 

26

PRF72

16/10/14

Council proceed with the proposed reclassification of the Kingsworth Lake Reserve from community to operational land.

 

GM

Strategic Planner preparing a gateway proposal for the Dept of Planning & Environment.  Following approval of the gateway proposal, the proposed reclassification will be advertised and a public hearing undertaken.

 

 

27

SF688

16/10/14

Council give public notice of its intention to reclassify land shown as proposed lots 2 and 3 as operational land and undertake the required public hearing (land to the west of the Valla Beach Pre-School)

 

GM

Strategic Planner preparing a gateway proposal for the Dept of Planning & Environment.  Following approval of the gateway proposal, the proposed reclassification will be advertised and a public hearing undertaken.

Report in this business paper regarding outcome of Valla Beach Community Association meeting and an alternative proposal.

 

 

28

SF952

16/10/14

Unofficial rest area on Link Road – that a management plan for the future improvement of the site be prepared by Council and the Lions Club who have agreed to maintain the site after the management plan has been placed on public exhibition.

 

AGMES

Report March 2015.

 

29

LF13

30/10/14

That a report be provided to Council in closed meeting concerning the complaints made by Mr Paul Linder.

 

GM

Report December 2014

 

30

SF453

30/10/14

A further report comes to Council on the outcome of the clothing recycling trial, including how the scheme is to be paid for.

 

AGMES

Trial under way and report on the outcome of the clothing recycle project to be included with the January 2015 waste QBR

 

31

SF1947

30/10/14

That DA 2014/158 (pistol range, Missabotti) be called in for determination by Council and that Council undertake a site inspection at an appropriate time.

 

GM

Applicant has been requested to provide additional information.

 

NOVEMBER 2014

 

32

SF841

13/11/14

Council write to the Min. for Roads with a copy to the Local Member pointing out the issues created when the RMS resume land without making clear in the standard contracts the liability for rates….

 

GM

Letter to Minister sent by Mayor w/e 21/11/14

 

33

SF639

13/11/14

That Council receive a report on how youth services will be maintained under the new structure.

 

GM

Report in December 2014.

 

34

SF2031

27/11/14

Council’s 2015/16 budget consider an additional, third flag pole for the front of the administrative centre.

 

GM

Report with operational plan – April/May 2015

 

35

SF2031

27/11/14

Council’s 2015/16 budget consider a commemorative board for the Council Chambers acknowledging all Councillors and staff who served the Council in its centenary year.

 

GM

Report with operational plan – April/May 2015

 

36

SF1997

27/11/14

Council’s Finance Section be asked to review, when time permits, Council’s current liquid equity levels & their relationship to the minimum level of Council’s policy.

 

AGMCS

Early 2015.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.

 


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.2      SF929              111214         Support for Tourism and the Future of the Visitor Information Centre

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

With changes to the location of the Pacific Highway and the increasing use of the internet on mobile devices, the Council does need to consider how it delivers support to the tourism industry.  Currently $152,100 per annum is mostly spent on the staffing and operation of a Visitor Information Centre.  Given that the Centre is open almost 365 days per year, total accommodation and tour bookings in 2013 was a fairly modest $59,481 producing commission revenue of $5,957.

 

However the performance of the Visitor Information Centre cannot be measured on booking figures alone.  The trend is for people to book in advance and online.  There are many booking websites and the majority of accommodation providers have booking facilities on their own websites.  The Visitor Information Centre BookEasy system suffers from a lack of instantly bookable accommodation and tourism offers, mainly due to a lack of interest from local providers in providing this facility.

 

The report lists four potential options for the future provision of tourism promotion being:

 

1        Retain the existing visitor information centre and deliver the same service (status quo);

 

2        Retain the existing visitor information centre plus establish a second visitor information centre at the proposed highway service centre on the Nambucca Heads interchange;

 

3        Redirect Council’s investment in tourism from the operation of the visitor information centre to advertising and marketing only (no face to face contact)

 

4        Council withdraws its financial support for tourism promotion

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1        That Council seek expressions of interest from Bellingen Shire Council and Coffs Harbour City Council on an alliance to operate a regionally focussed Visitor Information Centre from the proposed Highway Service Centre at the Nambucca Heads interchange.

 

2        That the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association be invited to enter into negotiations for the transfer of the existing Visitor Information Centre into their ownership on the basis of Council continuing to meet the Centre’s operating costs for a reasonable period so as to allow the establishment of a more commercial model of operation.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

There are four options outlined in the report.  These provide for different ways to deliver tourism promotion as well as different costs.

 

With the relocation of the Pacific Highway and the on-going migration of people to mobile devices with internet connectivity, the Council’s existing approach to tourism promotion via the operation of the visitor information centre on Riverside Drive needs to be reviewed.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

At Council’s meeting on 27 September 2012 it was resolved:

 

1        That Council defers consideration of this item (creating a title for the Visitor Information Centre) until the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association has the opportunity to consider and respond to the issues identified by Council.

 

2        That Council write to the Association and ask them to suggest a strategy for the future of the Visitor Information Centre and Council’s support for tourism generally taking into consideration the following factors (and any others they consider relevant):

 

a)       the imminent Pacific Highway bypass of Macksville and Nambucca Heads including the commitment to constructing an interchange at Valla

b)       the preferred location of the Visitor Information Centre

c)       Council’s financial commitment to tourism ie the funding allocated to the VIC versus marketing.

 

Subsequently the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association resolved at their meeting on 7 November 2012 that, “the Visitor Information Centre should remain where it is presently”.

 

The Nambucca Valley Tourism Association again considered the matter at its meeting on 9 September 2014 and this time resolved that the VIC stay at its present location but as well there should be a stand or office at the new proposed service centre on the highway at the Nambucca Heads interchange.  The President of the Association, Mr Dave Banks said,

 

“I am of the view that we should have a manned site at both the existing location & at the new highway location.  Supply and demand will dictate if one should be closed down after a full year of operation.”

 

In response to a report to Council’s meeting on 25 September 2014 outlining productivity suggestions to offset the loss of financial assistance grants funding, Council resolved:

 

“There be a report to Council on the future of the Visitor Information Centre and Council’s delivery of support to the tourism industry.  The review should include opportunities for revenue raising through commission and merchandise sales.”

 

The General Manager and Manager Community Development, Ms Coral Hutchinson who has portfolio responsibility for tourism, met with Nambucca Valley Tourism on 7 October 2014 to discuss their position.  The Association was advised that Council would not be able to fund Visitor Information Centres at two locations and it was queried whether the Association would have the volunteers to staff two centres when there had been times when it was difficult to staff one.  Council’s Tourism Co-ordinator believes that enough volunteers could be found for two centres based on the new approach of Centrelink to cut Newstart payments if no volunteer work is done.  The position of Nambucca Valley Tourism is that they want time to assess the impact of the highway by-pass on the traffic flows and patronage of the existing Visitor Information Centre before making a decision as to where the Visitor Information Centre should be located.

 

Traffic modelling prepared by Sinclair Knight Merz (for the Warrell Creek to Urunga highway upgrade) estimates that 11,250 vehicles a day use the Pacific Highway south of Valla Beach Road.  They estimate that the daily traffic will be reduced to 5,500 vehicles following the new highway construction.  The recent announcement of on/off ramps at Macksville will affect this prediction and whilst new modelling hasn’t been released, it is likely that the ramps will further reduce the number of vehicles travelling along the old section of Highway at Riverside Drive.

 

In terms of the significance of the Pacific Highway to the operations of the Visitor Information Centre, this report cites data identifying that two thirds (66.86%) of all “in person” enquiries to the Visitor Information were from people who were already here.  For those who are already staying in Nambucca Heads, the location of the existing centre is quite convenient being within walking distance of the town centre and many accommodation providers.  For other visitors, the highway service centre would be at least, if not more convenient because of its accessibility to the upgraded highway, but still being close to Nambucca Heads.

 

Nambucca Shire Council Tourism Budget

 

The 2014-2015 Council budget for tourism is as follows:

 

    - TOURISM CO-ORDINATOR & ONCOSTS

      46,700

    - PROMOTING ADVANTAGES OF AREA

      25,700

    - TOURIST CENTRE OFFICE ADMINISTRATION

         5,000

    - TOURIST CENTRE BUILDING MAINTENANCE & DEPRECIATION

      29.300

    - BANNERS & FLAGS PROMOTION & MAINTENANCE

         6,700

TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES

    113,400

     - OVERHEADS CORPORATE SUPPORT

      38,700

TOTAL OVERHEADS

      38,700

NET TOURISM & AREA PROMOTION COSTS

    152,100

 

Whereas many ratepayers might expect that Council’s financial contribution to tourism would mainly be in advertising in “main stream” and “digital” media, the reality is that most of the expenditure is consumed in the operation of Council’s Visitor Information Centre.  Besides the “face to face” marketing which occurs at the Centre, the operational expenditure does include limited expenditure on advertising and marketing.  However the majority of Council’s expenditure relates to the fixed costs of operating a visitor information centre.

 

The line item “Promoting Advantages of the Area” has to provide for a number of annual or fixed costs which take up around half the expenditure.  For example memberships (Aurora at $880 p.a. and North Coast Destination Network); visitor guide and map production; volunteers expenses for familiarisation tours; participation at State caravan/camping shows are some examples of the expenditure from this $25,700 allocation.  The remainder is used for a mix of advertising, and joint marketing ventures eg, Legendary Pacific Coast. 

 

Expenses under tourist centre building maintenance and depreciation include utilities, security, repairs and telecommunications.

 

The line item for banners and flags covers staff time and travel to fix and replace banners and worn items.  Council has 23 banner poles and 7 flag poles.  The banners and flags are not exclusively used for tourism promotion.

 

Council has three issues to consider in its funding of tourism.

 

Firstly, to what extent should its funding be based on the traditional “car based” or “face to face” model of the Visitor Information Centre.

 

Secondly, if it is accepted that the traditional “car based” or “face to face” model of the Visitor Information Centre should continue, whether it should continue to be located on Riverside Drive or at the proposed highway service centre to be located at the Nambucca Heads interchange or at both locations as recommended by the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association.

 

And thirdly, should the existing Visitor Information Centre and/or a second Visitor Information Centre at the highway service centre be based on a more commercial funding model which incorporates a café or some form of retail outlet.

 

The Future of Visitor Information Centres

 

This is an issue across Australia, particularly with the move to more on-line travel agencies, bookings and information.

 

Both the North Coast of NSW Destination Management Planning Process 2013 and the Northern Rivers Regional Visitor Services Strategy 2012 identified concern over the future of visitor centres.  The need for a bricks and clicks strategy (aligning the physical and virtual) was noted, as was branding and regional itinerary management.

 

Recent research in Western Australia has found that tourists who use visitor centres tend to stay longer and spend more in a region.  However which is the cause and which is the effect is unclear, ie it could be that the people who stay longer may be more likely to use a visitor centre.  The research also found that travellers see the primary role of visitors’ centres as providing credible, authoritative and unbiased information.  On the other hand, there is confusion among local stakeholders as to the role and function of visitor centres and therefore who is responsible for resourcing them (Haeberlin Consulting, September 2014).  The Northern Rivers Regional Visitor Services Strategy notes something similar.

 

Statistics as to the nature of enquiries and the nature of visitors at the Nambucca Visitor Information Centre are shown in the following table.

 

Nambucca Visitor Information Centre – Enquires in Person - November 2013 to October 2014

 

Nature of Enquiry – in person

Total

In %

Already here

Accommodation

2,194

7.79

 

Real Estate

6

0.02

 

Things to do

8,950

31.78

8,950

National Parks

280

0.99

 

Bellingen/Dorrigo

389

1.38

 

Coffs Harbour

271

0.96

 

Port Macquarie

176

0.62

 

Kempsey/South West Rocks/Crescent Head

207

0.74

 

Local maps and information

5,447

19.34

5,447

Information going north

956

3.39

 

Information going south

1,169

4.15

 

Train and bus timetables

860

3.05

 

Paper pick-up

505

1.79

505

Drinks/souvenirs

1,650

5.86

 

Membership enquiries/payments

11

0.04

11

Camping

462

1.64

 

Restaurants

369

1.31

369

River cruises

1,893

6.72

1893

Markets

107

0.38

107

Beach permits

108

0.38

108

 

26,010

 

17,390 (66.86%)

Nature of Enquiry – phone calls

 

 

 

Roster

311

1.10

311

Bookeasy

32

0.11

 

Advertising

244

0.87

 

Membership

31

0.11

31

Other

893

3.17

 

Business calls for Tourism Co-ordinator

641

2.28

 

 

2152

 

 

 

With the enquiries “in person” to the Visitor Information Centre, of interest is the fact that two thirds (66.86%) were from people who were already here.  Enquiries from people travelling to other destinations, including on the Coffs Coast, amounted to 14% of all enquiries.  About half of the enquiries were seeking local information by the way of local maps and information on local things to do.

 

The relatively high use of the Visitor Information Centre by existing residents and visitors as well as the relatively low number of enquiries concerning accommodation suggests that the Centre may not be particularly significant in attracting visitor stays.

 

In terms of the respective involvement of Council and the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association in tourism and the operation of the Visitor Information Centre, the following table indicates the relationship between the two bodies. 

 

Nambucca Shire Council

Nambucca Valley Tourism Association

Key partner in tourism industry; provides co-ordination and funding

Local industry peak body for tourism.  Is an incorporated organisation with around 120 members

Employs part-time Tourism Co-ordinator (3 days per week)

Employs Tourism Co-ordinator for an additional 4 hours per week.  Tourism Co-ordinator also acts as Treasurer for the Association.

Net cost to Council for Tourism function = $152,100

 

Has its own funds, mostly raised from membership and commission from Bookeasy

Manages accommodation, river cruise and other bookings.  Remits payments to providers and booking commission to the Association.

Owns the Bookeasy on-line booking system (initially paid for by Council at a cost of $10,000 and then purchased back by the Association)

Sells Beach Permits though the VIC

 

Purchases the souvenirs, postcards and drinks, retails for small profit

Funds half cost of Visitor Guide

Funds half cost of Visitor Guide

Engages volunteers and provides volunteer expenses eg for Famils

Provides uniforms and refreshments for volunteers

Undertakes some marketing

Undertakes some marketing

Representation at regional tourism advisory group (please note that the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association also pays membership to the North Coast Destination Network)

Has opportunities to represent the local tourism industry

Provides insurances for the staff, VIC building and volunteers

 

Maintains the VIC building, wharf, public toilets and surrounds

 

Manages the Nambucca Valley
Tourism website

 

Manages risk and closed circuit TV

 

Funds day-to-day operating expenses (utilities, postage, office equipment,  telephone)

 

 

MyTravelResearch.com found that in regional tourism marketing, maintaining paid staff, collateral and premises from 9 to 5 at a visitor information centre in a prime real estate location may no longer be financially viable, nor physically effective.

 

The traditional model is car or foot based and requires the visitor to physically find the site.

 

In 2013, the Nambucca Visitor Information Centre handled 22,414 enquires (about 60 per day), around 7% of these are telephone, and the balance actually visited the Centre.  There are nearly double the enquiries in the peak summer months than during winter.

 

In terms of bookings at the Visitor Information Centre, despite the Centre being staffed 7 days per week, for the 2013 calendar year the total value of bookings taken was $59,481.  This earned a commission of $5,957 which was remitted to the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association. In commercial terms this is a very modest outcome given the staff and volunteer hours applied to the endeavour.  It is appreciated that some enquiries made at the Visitor Information Centre may result in bookings direct with the accommodation/tour provider, although in such instances a commission should still be remitted to the visitor information centre.  Operators tend to spend more time on developing booking facilities on their own website and/or participating in large booking sites like booking.com, wotif.com, agoda and the like.  Unless the operator uses a clever and compatible umbrella channel manager, they do not give the update of their prices, their room types and in particular their vacancies on BookEasy the required attention.

 

There is a breakdown of the bookings by operator in the closed business paper.

 

However booking turnover is not the only indicator of performance for a visitor information centre.  The Visitor Information Centre volunteers and staff provide people with options for accommodation and activities to undertake during their stay. 

 

The following considers a range of options for Council’s future support of the tourism industry in the Nambucca Valley.

 

1        Retain the existing Visitor Information Centre and deliver the same service (status quo)

 

The status quo involves the existing Visitor Information Centre continuing to deliver the same services using the same operating procedures.

 

This option is identified as having the following advantages:

 

·      No disruption to operations

·      The existing VIC is established, visible and situated on a major access road

·      The existing VIC is currently located at the interstate bus stop

·      Very convenient for river cruises with jetty beside VIC

·      Pleasant location and nice aspect

·      Located in town

 

However with the imminent relocation of the highway and increasing take up of the internet via mobile devices, the existing model has or will have the following disadvantages:

 

·      Daily traffic volumes are likely to decline by at least 50% following the opening of the Pacific Highway upgrade between the Warrell Creek and Nambucca Heads in 2017 (according to traffic modelling by Sinclair Knight Merz).  The on/off ramps proposed for North Macksville may reduce this further.  However as noted about two thirds of people who come to the Visitor Information Centre are already staying in Nambucca Heads and attend to get information on things to see and do.

·      Signage opportunities on the highway upgrade will be very limited

·      The floor area of the existing VIC is only 44 square metres (including office and storage) and although recent minor improvements have freed up floor area, there is still very limited scope for retailing in the existing building.  The office and storage are barely adequate.  Extending the building is not possible due to site constraints and the location of road reserves.

·      Car parking can be inadequate, particularly Wednesday morning when the river cruise is operating.

·      There have been very concerning security issues in the past with a number of threatened assaults.  Staff and volunteers have required counselling.  There is still an on-going insurance matter relating to one incident.  Further instances will require the Council to either close the centre or introduce security measures.  For reasons of work, health and safety, the Council needs to demonstrate a safe work place.

·      As discussed, operating the VIC takes up a large proportion of the Tourism Co-ordinator’s time and Council’s revenue leaving relatively little money for advertising and marketing.

·      The VIC operations are not closely linked to the operations of other nearby VIC’s such as Urunga and Coffs Harbour which reduces market penetration.

 

2        Retain the existing Visitor Information Centre plus establish a second Visitor Information Centre at the proposed Highway Service Centre on the Nambucca Heads Interchange

 

In May 2014, Roads and Maritime Services called for Expressions of Interest for the development and operation of a service centre on an RMS owned site at the proposed Nambucca Heads Pacific Highway interchange.  Since then three (3) entities have been selected for the next stage of selection and it is expected that by May 2015, the proposal will have moved to a development application.  The RMS policy for Service Centres specifically provides for a visitor information presence and if Council wishes to move towards this, it will need to move fairly quickly so that its requirements can be included in a development application.  Besides the option of a joint venture with the other Councils, there may also be options in terms of the style of service provided.  For example a centre operating in conjunction with a café could be a level 3 visitor information centre.  Another option may be a static display with visitor point brochures as occurs at the Taree roadside service centre.

 

The location of the proposed Service Centre will, for northbound traffic, naturally act as a gateway to the Nambucca/Bellingen/Coffs Harbour region and therefore lends itself to a more regional approach.

 

Traffic modelling prepared by the RMS estimates that 12% of Pacific Highway traffic and 5% of service road (old highway) traffic would patronise the site.  By way of comparison a 2008 survey at the Port Macquarie Service Centre indicated that 15% of Pacific Highway traffic and 8.5% of Pacific/Oxley Highway traffic accessed the centre.

 

The option of having a second Visitor Information Centre at Highway Service Centre is the preferred option of the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association.

 

One nearby example of a similar model is Taree.  When the highway by-passed Taree in 1996, the existing visitor information centre remained and a second outlet was opened at the Highway Service Centre.  It was (and still is) unstaffed, although until about 2 years ago when the service was reviewed, it was maintained/restocked by Council staff.  Greater Taree Council found that the cost and value to the tourism of the static display did not warrant their resources and the Council now contracts the outlet to “Visitor Point” who maintain the display on behalf of subscribers.  The static display tends to be overshadowed by the café which will be a weakness with any static display associated with a major restaurant or café.

 

The cost/benefit of establishing a second Visitor Information Centre will depend in large part upon the arrangements which might be negotiated with the developer of the highway service centre.   The RMS has provided that the developer must make some provision for tourist information but has apparently not stipulated whether this could be a “static” display in the nature of a “Visitor Point” stand or whether it could be a larger area of floor space with a permanent staff.

 

In terms of cost/benefit, the other potential consideration is that a second highway based Visitor Information Centre as a “gateway” to the Coffs Coast could be the subject of an alliance between Nambucca, Bellingen and Coffs Harbour City Councils potentially splitting the required costs and resources three ways if the other Councils were interested in such an alliance.  With the NSW Government’s push for Councils to develop alliances via Joint Organisations, a regional approach to tourism marketing should be a consideration.

 

In summary, the option is considered to have the following advantages:

 

·      Two visitor information centres will maximise the potential capture of visitors travelling to or through the local government area

·      A visitor information centre at the proposed highway service centre would provide an opportunity through an alliance with other Councils for broader based marketing of the sub-region, not just the Nambucca local government area

·      The highway service centre will be conveniently located to access accommodation in Nambucca Heads. 

·      This is the option favoured by the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association

·      A decision does need to be made as to whether or not Council will have a static or staffed tourism presence at the new highway service centre.  A development application is due to be lodged by May 2015.

 

The disadvantages are considered to be:

 

·      Depending upon what may be negotiated with the service centre developer and other Council’s, the additional cost of maintaining a second visitor information centre

·      Potential difficulties in attracting sufficient volunteers to staff a second visitor information centre

·      There are some risks attached to a new visitor information centre site as its success or otherwise will be depend upon the commercial success of the service centre and how well it is maintained and presented.

 

3.       Redirect Council’s Investment in Tourism from the Operation of the Visitor Information Centre to Advertising and Marketing only (no face to face contact)

 

This option would see Council continue with its investment to support the tourism industry, but not through the financial support of a visitor information centre or centres.  Rather Council would redirect its expenditure to exclusively provide for advertising and marketing in the media (both conventional and on-line) and publications with good penetration in target markets.

 

The Nambucca Valley Tourism Association may wish to continue to operate the Visitor Information Centre and if so, arrangements could be put in place to transfer the existing centre to their ownership with financial support from Council for a fixed number of years.  The financial support would give the Association time to develop a commercial model for the continued operation of the centre.

 

By way of suggestion Council could offer to pay for the building’s operating expenses for a period of 5 years or until it was sublet or other income generating uses were introduced, whichever occurred first.  Council would increase its expenditure on advertising and marketing by the savings achieved in not operating a Visitor Information Centre.  The preferred scenario would be for the Tourism Co-ordinator to be redeployed to the Administration building in Macksville with a redefined role covering tourism advertising and marketing as well as business support services, perhaps with a focus on Council’s website where she has some expertise.

 

The advantages of this option are:

 

·      The total investment in tourism promotion (cash and in-kind) would increase

·      The arrangement is more of a partnership than the existing, mainly Council funded model

 

The disadvantages of this option are:

 

·      Relies on reaching agreement with the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association to accept ownership of the Visitor Information Centre

·      Disruption and uncertainty for Tourism Co-ordinator

 

4.       Council Withdraws its Financial Support for Tourism Promotion

 

This option would see Council divest itself of the Visitor Information Centre to the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association or to the private sector and withdraw its existing expenditure of $113,400 plus overheads.

 

The advantages of this option are:

 

·      Nambucca Shire Council has been assessed by the NSW Treasury Corporation as having weak financial sustainability with a negative outlook.  Council’s Auditors and finance staff have flagged the same issue.  The NSW Government and the Minister for Local Government have recently made it plain that they expect Councils’ in such a position to undertake what is necessary to improve their “bottom line”.  A saving of $113,400 plus overheads per annum is equivalent to a 1.25% increase in Council’s rates.

 

The disadvantages of this option are:

 

·      Complaints from the tourism industry about the withdrawal of funding

·      Council would be “out of step” with most if not all councils on the Mid North Coast which provide financial support for tourism

·      Disruption and uncertainty for Tourism Co-ordinator

·      Dislocation of volunteers.

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

There has been consultation with the Manager Community Development, the Manager Business Development and the Tourism Co-ordinator.

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

There are no issues of significance to the environment.

 

Social

 

Depending upon the selected option, there are a number of potential social issues.  Council could expect complaints from staff and volunteers at the existing visitor information centre should there be substantive change to their roles.  Council could expect complaints from the tourism industry if it were to reduce its expenditure on tourism promotion.  As a large proportion of enquiries to the Visitor Information Centre are made by local residents, and their family and friends they may also complain about a change in the service level.  Equally the community expects the Council to be financially sustainable.

 

The recommendation proposes to retain the existing Visitor Information Centre, but for it to be owned and operated by Nambucca Valley Tourism with a more commercial focus.

 

Economic

 

The recommendation will potentially increase the cash and in-kind resources directed to tourism promotion so no adverse economic impacts are anticipated.

 

Risk

 

The report outlines the risks associated with each option.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

The recommendation is seeking negotiations.  The outcome of these negotiations will determine the budgetary impact, if any.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

At this stage there is no impact on working funds.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

The resourcing and staffing implications of the Visitor Information Centre are discussed in the report.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.3      SF1886            111214         Productivity Savings - Organisation Structure

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

 

Summary:

 

As a matter of fiscal responsibility, the Council should reduce its operating expenditure to at least off set the non-indexation of the FAGs, as otherwise its critical Fit for the Future criteria will be further compromised.  The productivity suggestions identified in the September 2014 report and the more recent savings identified in payroll will not, in aggregate, achieve realisable and on-going cash savings to Council of at least $121,688 being the revenue lost through the non-indexation of the financial assistance grants (FAGs).  Council should seek expressions of interest from its staff for voluntary redundancy to reduce its operating costs by at least $121,688.

 

The process for seeking voluntary redundancies is:

 

1.       Employee submits expression of interest

2.       Council may make an offer to the employee

3.       The employee may accept the offer

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1        That Council seek expressions of interest from its staff for voluntary redundancy as per the Local Government Award provisions, noting that Council is not obliged to make an offer, with each offer to be assessed on its merits including the duties of the position, the cost of the position to the general fund and the cost of the redundancy.  Following referral to the Consultative Committee, recommendations to make offers of voluntary redundancy will be reported to Council for determination as a variation to the organisation structure.

 

2        That Council make representations to the Premier of NSW and the Deputy Premier for the appointment of an independent authority to determine the funding package to be provided by Roads and Maritime Services to Councils for the maintenance of the old (by-passed) Pacific Highway.  Further that MIDROC be requested to support Council’s request.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

There are many potential options to offset the loss of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) indexation. 

 

Alternatively Council can choose to do nothing.

 

If Council chooses to do nothing its overall position in terms of the Fit for the Future criteria will worsen.  Whilst this may have little impact in the short term, as Council is aware it will lock in the need for more difficult decisions in the future.  It is best that Council tackle this funding shortfall in the short term and be able to demonstrate its response to government.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

There was a significant report to Council’s meeting on 25 September 2014 on productivity suggestions.

 

The report was in response to a Notice of Motion from the Mayor at Council’s meeting on 12 June 2014.  The Council resolved:

 

“That, in order to offset the impacts of the loss of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) indexation, all Managers be asked to identify and report on opportunities to make savings or increase revenue in their own area of operations which preferably maintain the service levels anticipated in Council’s Community Strategic Plan: or alternatively and less preferred, propose a reduction in service levels on matters considered secondary to our mission statement”.

 

The background to the Notice of Motion was that the Federal budget (now adopted) froze indexation of the Financial Assistance Grants which has resulted in a reduction in Council’s general purpose revenue of $121,688 in 2014/15.  This reduction will increase in proportionate terms over the following two years.

 

Council is also aware that the NSW Treasury Corporation and Local Government Infrastructure Audit Reports have both highlighted that the Council is financially unsustainable under current practices and funding.  The NSW Treasury Corporation has labelled the Council’s financial sustainability as “weak” with a “negative” outlook.  Most recently the Assistant General Manager Corporate Services has reported on Council’s performance in terms of the “Fit for the Future” criteria.  In common with most, if not all Mid North Coast Councils we do not achieve all of the nominated benchmarks.

 

A looming liability which has not been budgeted for is the proposed “handover” to Council of responsibility for the existing Pacific Highway.  The proposed “handover” will see Council receive about 30 kilometres of the former Pacific Highway and about 14 significant bridge and culvert structures as well as additional connecting roads.  In general terms the “handover” will equate to at least a 10% increase in Council’s sealed roads and bridge assets.  Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is yet to put forward an offer of a funding package.

 

The previous process of “hand overs” of the upgraded Pacific Highway has already been at significant cost to this Council.  It received no financial assistance for the replacement of the former RMS bridge across Deep Creek on Deep Creek Road (the former Pacific Highway), notwithstanding it was irreparably damaged in a flood which was a declared natural disaster.  It was a timber bridge constructed in estuarine conditions and inevitably succumbed to borer infestation.  The cost to Council for its replacement with a single lane concrete structure was about $1m.

 

The recently replaced bridge over Eungai Creek on Eungai Creek Road was again another former RMS timber bridge on a previous Pacific Highway alignment which cost Council about $800,000 to replace with a single lane structure.

 

More recently the Council made a number of representations to the RMS for funding to address the geotechnical instability of Riverside Drive, being the former Pacific Highway through Nambucca Heads, a road constructed by the RMS.  Again the RMS was not forthcoming with any funding assistance but fortuitously the Council obtained $5m in Federal Government funding to undertake repair work.

 

As there is no independent authority which can arbitrate on the reasonableness of the offer put forward by the RMS, the “handover” may amount to a significant cost shift from the State to Council.

 

On the revenue side the Council recently achieved its 9th special rate variation approval in 12 years, this time locking the Council into rate increases of 3.8% in 2014/15; 5.0% in 2015/16 and 5.5% in 2016/17.

 

The productivity suggestions identified in the September 2014 report and the more recent savings identified in payroll will not, in aggregate, achieve realisable and on-going cash savings to Council of at least $121,688 being the revenue lost through the non-indexation of the financial assistance grants (FAGs).  As a matter of fiscal responsibility, the Council should reduce its operating expenditure to at least off set the non-indexation of the FAGs, as otherwise its critical Fit for the Future criteria will be further compromised.

 

In terms of identifying opportunities for productivity savings, the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) has usefully posed a series of questions to be asked in a review of the organisation.

 


 

ASPECT OF THE SERVICE

QUESTIONS

Organisational structure

What is the staff structure?

How many locations are involved?  Can locations be combined?

Can “like” services be co-located?

 

Processes, procedures, work practices and tools

Are there duplicate processes?  Are there process gaps?

Where and what are the opportunities for improvement?

How can technology be used?

 

Resource use

Can resource use be optimised or reduced?

Can assets or infrastructure be consolidated or used more efficiently?

Can owned facilities be sold, leased, consolidated, regenerated or shared?

 

Community facilities

Do the facilities match community needs?  Are some facilities under-utilised?

Is there duplication with other nearby facilities?

What condition are the facilities in?  Do they require maintenance or upgrading and if so, what could this cost?

Do they generate a relatively low income from usage?

 

Staff productivity

Can jobs be redesigned to increase the variety of tasks and improve job satisfaction?

Would training increase productivity?  Can overtime levels be reduced?

Can incentives and rewards be provided?

Can staff outputs be monitored with appropriate measures?

 

Regulations

Can regulatory controls be reviewed?

Will lobbying for legislative change improve efficiency/maximise productivity?

 

The process of seeking expressions of interest from staff for voluntary redundancy will principally draw on reviewing the organisation structure, resource use and staff productivity.

 

The provisions in the Award for voluntary redundancy are:

 

COMPLETED YEARS OF SERVICE WITH COUNCIL

ENTITLEMENT

Less than 1 year

Nil

1 year and less than 2 years

5 weeks pay

2 years and less than 3 years

9 weeks pay

3 years and less than 4 years

13 weeks pay

4 years and less than 5 years

16 weeks pay

5 years and less than 6 years

19 weeks pay

6 years and less than 7 years

22 weeks pay

7 years and less than 8 years

25 weeks pay

8 years and less than 9 years

28 weeks pay

9 years and less than 10 years

31 weeks pay

10 years and thereafter

34 weeks pay

 

The above entitlement is in addition to any accrued leave.  Voluntary redundancy payments would need to be met from Council’s working funds.  The Council would need to accept the reduced level of service from the redundant positions to reduce the potential for their future reinstatement.  There have been examples in government of redundant positions being reinstated within a short period, or worse redundant staff being rehired as consultants or contractors.

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

There has been consultation with the Consultative Committee at its meeting on 1 December 2014.  The recommendation provides for further consultation with the Consultative Committee prior to any expressions of interest being reported to Council.

 

The report was discussed at the Management Executive Committee meeting on 3 December 2014 and it was suggested that the report include an assessment of the cost/benefit of the round of voluntary redundancies which occurred in 2011.

 

In the 2011 round of voluntary redundancies, the Council accepted offers of voluntary redundancy from three (3) staff members comprising the Manager Planning and Assessment, Site Leader Parks & Reserves, and a Labourer. The redundancies (in addition to existing entitlements) were 22 weeks pay, 34 weeks pay, and 34 weeks pay respectively.  Assuming that there is no additional expenditure on contractors or other activities to compensate for the loss of the position, in simple cash terms if the positions remain unfilled for longer than the redundancy pay period, the Council has made a cash saving.  However a cost/benefit assessment which considers other factors such productivity, service levels and community response is much more complex.

 

A comparison has been undertaken of the organisation chart for the Council immediately prior to the round of voluntary redundancies (January 2011) with the chart as it currently exists (November 2014).  Whilst like for like comparisons over a period of time are difficult because of changes in work load, position descriptions, structural changes such as the Business Services Unit and the use of contract –v- day labour, the comparison does provide an indication as to whether or not the changes to the Council’s organisation structure have been sustained. 

 

In terms of staff undertaking town planning work, in January 2011 the Environment and Planning section comprised 1 Director, 1 Manager Planning & Assessment, 1 Strategic Planner and 1 Senior Town Planner.  In November 2014 the section is operating without the Director’s position and without a Manager’s position.

 

In relation to the Parks Section in January 2011 it comprised 1 Supervisor, 1 Site Leader, 4 Labourers and 4 Parks Attendants.  Because of a work related injury to the incumbent, the Site Leader’s position had been permanently modified to exclude mowing and brush cutting work.  In November 2014 the Parks Section comprises 1 Supervisor and 4 Parks Attendants.

 

The labouring position is more difficult to account for as it was originally in the Parks Section but for reasons of the incumbents work related injury the duties of the position were permanently modified and to undertake welding and metal fabrication at the Works Depot.  It is likely that such work would now be undertaken by contractors and further investigation would be required to assess the cost/benefit of this change.

 

Whilst the reduction of the Council’s equivalent full time staff will affect service levels, the previous round of redundancies seem to have resulted in a reduction in service levels which have been broadly accepted.  From the comparison of the structure charts, the evidence is that Council has made a significant cash saving, particularly in relation to the changes in the Development & Environment Section where the saving would be more than $100,000 per annum taking into account the reduction in Council’s car fleet.

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

At this stage there are no implications for the environment.

 

Social

 

At this stage there are no social implications.

 

Economic

 

The reduction of Council’s workforce and service levels will have a negative impact on the local economy, although relatively minor given the incremental nature of the change.

 

Risk

 

The report chiefly concerns the overall risk to Council’s financial well-being and sustainability if it does not contain its operating costs.   A further decline in the Council’s operating performance ratio and other asset related performance criteria in the Fit for the Future benchmarks will erode the Council’s long term sustainability.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

The budgetary implications will be reported when the expressions of interest have been received and considered.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

The impact on working funds will depend on the number of offers which are supported and accepted and the length of service of the employees.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

If offers of voluntary redundancy are recommended and accepted, there are likely to be implications for service levels and resourcing.  These will be assessed and reported on.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager

ITEM 9.4      SF600              111214         Proposed Reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952, Valla Beach Road from Community to Operational Land

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

At Council’s meeting on 16 October 2014 it was resolved that:

 

1        Council give public notice of its intention to reclassify the land shown as proposed Lots 2 and 3 in trim document no. 18527/2014 as operational land and undertake the required public hearing in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993.

 

The Valla Beach Community Association has now resolved to reject the proposal.

 

In the circumstances that there is opposition from the Valla Beach Community Association and residents, the chances of the proposal proceeding following its review by three separate authorities, namely the independent person, then Council and then the Department/Minister, are assessed to be weak. 

 

Instead it is now proposed to proceed with the reclassification of the car park, hall and pre-school (the proposed lot 1) from community to operational land and retain the treed land to the west of the carpark (proposed lots 2 and 3) as community land.  The reclassification would be undertaken with the objective of transferring the Pre-School to its incorporated association with an annual saving to Council of $12,225 in reduced depreciation.  Whilst this will not affect Council’s cash position it will improve Council’s operating ratio.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1        That Council resolve not to proceed with the reclassification of proposed Lots 2 and 3 as operational land and instead resolve to proceed with the reclassification of the proposed Lot 1 from community to operational land with the intention of transferring the property to the Valla Community Pre-School Inc. with Council retaining a licence agreement or easement to allow the continued use of the hall for public meetings.

 

2        That Council advise the Valla Community Pre-School Inc. and the Valla Beach Community Association of the revised proposal.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council has the option of retaining all or part of the land as “community land”.

 

There is nothing which prevents Council from retaining operational land in its ownership.  It does not have to be subdivided, sold, transferred or leased.  However the operational classification gives Council the flexibility to do this at some future time.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

The land holding at Valla Beach is the land containing the Valla Beach Pre-School and Valla Beach Hall.  The land is Lot 8 DP 821952, 22 Valla Beach Road.  It has an area of 1.89 hectares and is zoned Residential R1.  The land and its zoning are shown on the attached zoning map.

 

At Council’s meeting on 16 October 2014 it was resolved that:

 

1        Council give public notice of its intention to reclassify the land shown as proposed Lots 2 and 3 in trim document no. 18527/2014 as operational land and undertake the required public hearing in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993.

 

2        That Council seek the assistance of an adjoining Council in undertaking the necessary public hearing and report to Council on the reclassification.

 

The matter was considered by the Valla Beach Community Association at its general meeting on 17 November 2014 at the community hall at Valla Beach.  The Mayor and General Manager were in attendance.  The minutes of the meeting are attached.

 

It will be noted that the Association resolved to reject the proposed reclassification.

 

The discussion at the meeting concerned the conservation value of the forested land.

 

The General Manager advised the meeting that the information which Council holds on the land including on threatened species, vegetation etc, shows the land is not likely to be an endangered ecological community.  On the attached map, the cross hatching shown on the land denotes “other vegetation – not likely EEC”.  The land which is shaded green further to the south is possibly the EEC Subtropical Coastal Floodplain Forest in the NSW North Coast bioregion whilst the land shaded blue is possibly the EEC Swamp Schlerophyll Forest on Coastal Floodplains of the North Coast bioregion.

 

Notwithstanding, the overwhelming majority of the people present believed that the forested land owned by Council should be retained as community land.  There was a suggestion that it would be more appropriate to reclassify the pre-school rather than the forested land.

 

The process for reclassification of the land will require an independent person to conduct a public hearing and then report on the outcome of the hearing and make a recommendation to Council.  After that process the reclassification would require the endorsement of the Department of Planning and ultimately the Minister.

 

In the circumstances that there is opposition from the Valla Beach Community Association and residents, the chances of the proposal proceeding following its review by three separate authorities, namely the independent person, then Council and then the Department/Minister, are assessed to be weak. 

 

Regardless of the merits it is difficult to justify the allocation of considerable staff resources and funding to a process with such risk attached.

 

Accordingly it is recommended that Council not proceed with the reclassification of the proposed lots 2 and 3 (refer attached plan) from community to operational land and instead proceed with the reclassification of the car park, hall and pre-school (the proposed lot 1) from community to operational land.  This change would be undertaken with the intention of transferring ownership of the Pre-School to its incorporated association.  Council would retain a licence agreement or easement to continue to utilise the hall for public meetings.

 

The Pre-School and Hall sit towards the centre and eastern part of the land with the larger western section being forest.  This is shown in the attached aerial/cadastral plan.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

There has been consultation with Council’s Manager Business Development, Strategic Town Planner, Engineering Support Officer and the Valla Beach Community Association.

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

At this stage the reclassification of the land from community to operational land has no impacts on the environment.

 

Social

 

The proposed reclassification has no identified social issues.

 

Economic

 

There are no significant economic implications.

 

Risk

 

The reclassification requires that the person presiding at the public hearing must not be a councillor or employee of Nambucca Shire Council (or a person who has been a councillor or employee within the past 5 years).  The Council must determine whether or not the reclassification proceeds following consideration of the report of the public hearing.  The Minister for Planning and Environment must endorse Council’s decision by approving the change to Council’s local environmental plan.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

The Valla Beach Pre-School is an older, mainly timber structure.  Council has recorded its value “at cost” in Special Schedule 7 at $810,000 with annual depreciation of $12,225.  The recent revaluation of building assets recorded its “fair value” at $540,000.

 

The transfer of ownership of the building to the Valla Community Pre-School Inc. would provide Council with the saving attributable to its depreciation of $12,225 per annum.  This will improve the Council’s operating performance ratio.  It would also remove any risk to Council of having to make a substantial financial contribution to the maintenance or refurbishment of the property.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

At this stage there is no impact on working funds.  If there is no opposition to the proposed reclassification the General Manager of Bellingen Shire Council would likely agree to be the independent facilitator, pro bono.  Otherwise Council will need to employ a consultant.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

Based on the general meeting of the Valla Beach Community Association, the resolution to reclassify the bushland to the west of the hall carpark will create significant controversy and require significant staff and consultant resources.  Hopefully the new recommendation will avoid this controversy and substantially reduce the resourcing and staff implications.

 

Attachments:

1

36010/2014 - Minutes of meeting held 17 November 2014

 

2

18562/2014 - Zoning Map - 22 Valla Beach Road

 

3

29305/2014 - Valla Beach Land Veg

 

4

18566/2014 - Aerial Cadastre - 22 Valla Beach Road

 

5

18527/2014 - Land to be Reclassified

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Proposed Reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952, Valla Beach Road from Community to Operational Land

 

 
Minutes for GENERAL MEETING of

Valla Beach Community Association

  MONDAY 17th November 2014 at Community HALL Valla Beach

Meeting Opened and attendance:

Opened at 7.10 with 46 attendees on register

       Welcome

President welcomes from Nambucca Shire Council
Mayor Rhonda Hoban and General Manager Michael Coulter and residents of the Valla Area.
 

      Apologies

 Crs P Flack & A Smyth, C Vincent, A Baghurst   E Oldfield, M .Bevin, ,D.Shank, M.Bence.

Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of previous General Meeting dated 21st July presented              Moved   B. Reid   – Seconded   G, Suter      that the minutes be accepted.

Business Arising from Minutes

No business arising

Correspondence  In

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17.07.2014     Ferguson Cleaning – Invoice for Hall Cleaning.
23.07.2014     NSC – invoice for VBCA contribution to Exercise Equipment AP.
01.08.2014     NSW State Elections - enquiry re cost to hire hall 28 March 2015
04.08.2014     NSC - endorsed minutes of July AGM
05.08.2014     L’huede -  invoice for maintenance plus copy of Insurance.
12.08.2014     Magento -  Invoice for Generator – extra power for functions.
17.08.2014     Sue Jenvey  - Note re Valla Voice
20.08.2014     Nambucca VIC – re becoming a member and Calendars
23.08.2014     Jessica Campbell – Advising Valla Pharmacy approved
27.08.2014     BMW Carpets – invoice for extra astro turf – cricket nets
30.08.2014     Webcity – 3 year invoice for website hosting.
01.09.2014     NSC – Note re future of Visitor info Centre.
14.09.2014     VB Tennis Club – note re thanks for donation and invite to open day.
22.09.2014      L’huede – invoice for maintenance
22.09.2014      Freeman McMurrick – invoice for market insurance.
23.09.2014      Glowsticx – Invoice for glowsticks 2014 Carols
26.09.2014      Andrew Bagust – Plans for park maintenance to NSC
30.09.2014      NSC – asking if NSC can contribute to Valla Views
03.10.2014      Origin – invoice for Hall & Preschool Electricity.
03.10.2014       Valla Preschool – 2014/15 School Management Committee
08.10.2014       NSC – list of preferred Contactors
13.10.2014      Nambucca  VIC – Tours of Blackbutt & Macksville Cemetries
15.10.2014      NH 2 U – note re road closures and diversions Valla residents
20.10.2014      Fergusons Cleaning – Invoice for Hall Cleaning
31.10.2014      Nambucca VIC – information re Macksville War Memorial
31.10.2014      NSC minutes Council meeting re proposed re classification of land
                        Valla Beach Rd from Community to Operational Land
06.11.2014      L’huede – invoice for ground maintenance
06.11.2014      Nambucca VIC – note re Nambucca River Festival and cruises
06.11.2014      Valla Preschool –request to install aluminium shutter on kitchen
11.11.2014      Nambucca VIC – invite and Agenda for monthly meeting
11.11.2014      Dr Angie Smith –letter asking VBCA to support removal of trees
12.11.2014      Nick Radford – drawings re above .
14.11.2014      Elections NSW – Confirmation of use of Hall 28 march 2015 ‘
17.11.2014      NVCA Inc – request to discuss NSC plan to reclassification of land VB

Correspondence OUT

 

22.07.2014      NSC        Confirming VBCA Committee elected at AGM & Minutes
25.07.2014      NSC        Motions from AGM for comment by NSC
14.08.2014      NSC        Invite NSC to Lark in the Park
23.09.2014      NSC        Request for help in obtaining grants for Cover over playground
30.09.2014      NSC        Confirming ok for NSC to contribute to Valla Views
15.10.2014      NSC        Advising of grant applications open.
15.10.2014      Pre School – Invoice for 75% of Origin Bill
28.10.2014      NSC & Guardian – notices re GM 17 November
14.11.2014      Elections NSW – Agreement for Hall Hire completed

cORRESPONDENCE

Read and Moved by Melvyn Best   seconded G Jones

See other business for discussions raised by Correspondence

Treasurer’s report

Financial report to 31st October 2014 presented and moved by P Rundle.

Seconded J Bennett

 

 

General Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motions from the Floor

1] Elect Mr Peter Sobey to the VBCA Executive Committee

Proposed by P. Rundle seconded by T.Suter welcome to the VBCA Exec Peter.

 

2] Mr Coulter GM Nambucca Shire Council presented

 Proposed Reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952, Valla Beach Rd
      from Community to Operational Land, detailing the reasons and the process through the NSC and State Government to achieve the desired result.

G .Allen President of the Nambucca Valley Conservation Association Inc
after a lengthy discussion re the above presentation, put a motion to the meeting

That NSC’s proposed reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952 Valla Beach Rd Valla Beach [specific areas referred to as proposed lots 2 and 3] from community to operational land be rejected.

The motion was seconded by G.Suter – there being No further discussion by a show of hands the motion was passed with 1 objector and 3 abstained from voting.

A note will be forwarded to the Nambucca Shire Council advising of this motion.

 

3] a] Valla Beach Market - October market showed an increase in stalls and community involvement. The market committee are looking at new ideas for entertainment, keeping the market vibrant, the Market brings in the funds for the enhancement of the area, the market revenue, allows the community to be involved in events as the Lark in the Park and upcoming Carols at Valla Reserve on Friday 12th December. – Which we must also thank CDAT.

   b] Lark in the Park  - This community fun day organised by the Market Committee was well attended by the Valla Residents estimated about 700 people attended the day full report will be in Valla Views also read article published in Hybiscus Happynings  plus our website www.vallabeachmarkets.org.au
special thanks to the volunteers who ensured the event was successful and to Bernie Reid, who took charge on the day, well done, we must not forget CDAT for their being major sponsor plus Valla Real Estate for the prizes donation.

4]  Existing Projects update

a] Shade over playground at Anderson Park
 Grant Applications in place via NSC – cost is approx. $27,000 we have about $15,000 refer treasures report.

b] Maintenance of Reserves and Parks – Andrew Bagust has been the champion of this, NSC organised for a work for the Dole team via ETC , Andrew has submitted a report, recommending a group be formed to continue the good work, is willing to lead the team,  also recommends spraying to keep the weeds down allowing the NSC Contractor to mow under the trees.

Discussion – Questions were asked about the NSC weeding program concern raised regarding weeds being sprayed in Kuta Ave and other areas,
 who organises this and checks the credentials of the sprayers?   VBCA to discuss with NSC re weed control.

5]  Carols at Valla Beach – Daphne and Graham Jones are leading the subcommittee, plans are in place for a bigger and brighter Carols night this year,
Sponsors have been generous in donating money for a firework display so the night can end with a Big Bang, Thanks to Corrinne Coelli for the dedication in raising this money, the Carols night will be sponsored by CDAT and VBCA with the Carols song book printed by Valla Real Estate.

6]  Any other business  from Correspondence

1] 11.11.2014      Dr Angie Smith –letter asking VBCA to support removal of trees
on reserve behind her property on 103 Ocean View Drive, the reason for the letter
NSC rejected her application one of the reasons being community opposition.

The letter was discussed in detail, with many reasons why the trees should not be removed, the president asked for a show of hands if the VBCA should

A] support the request. Nil
B] if we decline the request unanimous decision

Secretary to contact Dr Smith with the decision.

2] Late correspondence from Dr John Bennett who discussed
re a Plea for Nambucca Council to take its responsibilities seriously for controlling dogs on Local Beaches

1] Dogs Foul Beaches
2] Dogs bark and disturb people enjoying the natural environment
3] Dogs Chase Birds and disturb breeding grounds
4] Council erected signs No Dogs and Dogs on leash only, shows a responsibility to have these regulations enforced.
Dr Bennett asks for NSC to advise how the regulations are enforced, and how many fines have been issued.
3]Headland Café Postal Agent services – Parcels are being left at the Café if you if you are not at home, - Rural Residents still have to go to PO Nambucca

Refer Item 2 in General Business

Meeting close

President closed the meeting 8.58pm

 

Next meeting - General Meeting on Monday 17 March 2015                          at Valla Beach Community Hall commencing 1900 hrs

Don’t forget           The Next Market Saturday 6th December
                                Carols in the Park Friday 12 December at 6pm

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Proposed Reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952, Valla Beach Road from Community to Operational Land

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Proposed Reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952, Valla Beach Road from Community to Operational Land

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Proposed Reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952, Valla Beach Road from Community to Operational Land

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Proposed Reclassification of Part Lot 8 DP 821952, Valla Beach Road from Community to Operational Land

 


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.5      SF97                111214         Review of Alcohol Free Zone and Alcohol Prohibited Area around central business area and Gordon Park Nambucca Heads

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Coral Hutchinson, Manager Community Development         

 

Summary:

 

The Alcohol Free Zone (AFZ) in and around Bowra Street Nambucca Heads concludes on 10 January 2015.  Whilst there are no provisions to simply extend the life of the Zone, it could be re-established following a review if the outcome was that the AFZ is still necessary. This report is to advise Council that a review of the AFZ and the Alcohol Prohibition in Gordon Park has been conducted, and the conclusion is that they are achieving their aim and the community supports their continuation. 

 

During a period of community consultation which closed Friday, 21 November 2014, 16 submissions were received – all in favour of re-establishing the Alcohol Free Zone.  There were 3 submissions requesting Council to allow the consumption of liquor in Gordon Park from 10am to 10pm; however the remainder requested that the prohibition continues. 

 

It is proposed that the Alcohol Free Zone be re-established for the maximum period being 4 years and that the prohibition on the consumption of liquor in Gordon Park remains unchanged. 

 

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1.         That Council establish an Alcohol Free Zone in Nambucca Heads in accordance with Section 644 of the Local Government Act (1993) in the area described as:

·           an Eastern boundary of Wellington Drive (between the river and Ridge Street) and Estuary Lane;

·           a Northern boundary being Short Street (from Estuary Lane), Fletcher Street and Mann Street to the intersection with West Street;

·           a Western boundary being Creek Street, south to its intersection with Fraser Street and

·           a Southern boundary of the Nelson Street Creek Street intersection, past the RSL Club; through Gordon Park.

 

2.         That the Zone becomes effective upon expiry of the current Zone and concludes 10 January 2019.

 

3.         That the Alcohol Prohibited Area remain in Gordon Park, effective 24 hours 7 days to maintain consistency with the surrounding Alcohol Free Zone.

 

OPTIONS:

 

1.         Re-establish the Alcohol Free Zone with the current boundary and retain the Alcohol Prohibited Area as is (Recommended by the Author and supported by Police)

2.         Re-establish the Alcohol Free Zone with a different boundary

3.         Not re-establish the Zone

4.         Allow liquor consumption in Gordon Park

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

In brief, an Alcohol Free Zone is a designated area in which the consumption of alcohol is prohibited 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. If you are observed drinking in the AFZ you may be warned, have the liquor tipped out or confiscated, or be fined. AFZ’s apply to public roads, footpaths, car parks and are enforced by the Police. They are established under Section 644 to 644C of the Local Government Act 1993 for periods of 4 years at a time.  There are no provisions for Council to just extend an AFZ, however it could be re-established following a review of the Zone’s impact on the community. Council may then re-establish the Zone as it currently stands, establish a Zone with a new boundary or not re-establish the Zone at all.

 

The current AFZ is shown in the following map.

 

Similar provisions (although not time-limited) can be enacted under Section 632 of the Local Government Act which allows a Council to erect a sign or notice prohibiting certain actions or activities in its parks and reserves, including establishing an Alcohol Prohibited Area (APA).  Following numerous complaints, ongoing vandalism and specific requests from Police, Council completely banned the consumption of liquor in Gordon Park early in 2013.  Prior to that liquor consumption was allowed between 9am and 9pm; however the location of the Park (inside the AFZ) caused numerous issues, for example, people could drink liquor during the day on the grassed areas but not at all on the footpath or in the car park surrounding the Park.  This caused confusion for people and made policing liquor consumption unnecessarily complicated.   Whilst the concept of allowing alcohol consumption during the day may appear to have merit, previous experience has shown that it is an unsatisfactory arrangement.  Unfortunately the park was often used for all-day drinking sessions, resulting in anti-social behaviour, disruption to the neighbourhood, violence, vandalism and regular complaints to Council and Police.

 

Note:  The alcohol prohibition does not affect the activities of neighbouring licensed restaurants or functions occurring inside the Tennis Club.

 

Council may wish to note, that alcohol consumption was also entirely prohibited in ANZAC and Bellwood Parks in early 2013 following specific requests from Police, service clubs and clear community feedback.  Effectively this made the foreshore in Nambucca Heads between Gordon and Brotherhood Parks alcohol prohibited.  The result was an almost immediate drop in complaints about anti-social behaviour and less expenditure on vandalism. 

 

Whilst AFZs are designed to be a short-term solution to street drinking, there is evidence to support the re-establishment of this AFZ based on community feedback, although its success is difficult to show statistically.  A direction by Police for someone to cease drinking in the AFZ would not usually be recorded in the Police statistics, as the intention of the AFZ is to discourage street drinking whilst taking a minimum of Police resources. Therefore it could be argued that the success of an AFZ may be measured by the lack of statistics.  For the most part, the evidence that the Nambucca Heads AFZ and APA’s have worked has come from the community during the Zones’ operation. The submissions received during the review provide further evidence and the conclusion is that Council should re-establish the AFZ and the prohibition in Gordon Park.

 

Extracts from submissions supporting the re-establishment of the AFZ and the APA follow:

 

·    The introduction of AFZ & APA areas in my opinion have been a huge success to the image of Nambucca Heads. Being a tourist destination, tourists using park facilities have increased and anti-social behaviour in the streets has also been a great advantage to our town and its visitors.

 

·     At its meeting last night Chamber (of Commerce) resolved to support the continuation of the current AFZ and APA in Nambucca Heads.  The Chamber feels that such Zones and Areas assist in providing residents and tourists with protection from unwanted alcohol induced behaviour. It also feels that it enables our police force to effectively curb such behaviour.

 

·    Since the introduction and implementation of Council’s current policy there has been a marked reduction in night disturbance on the adjoining streets and in the children's playground in Sussex Street.

 

·    Regarding the Alcohol Prohibited Area in place at Gordon Park, we write to express our strongest support for this initiative and ask that it be maintained indefinitely. As business operators within the Gordon Park precinct, and long-sufferers of the late-night antics involving alcohol fuelled parties until the wee hours of the morning, we have needed to contact the Police on numerous occasions over the past four years.

 

·    As residents of Lower Lee Street Nambucca Heads (and Council rate-payers) we wish to confirm our strongest possible support for continuing to uphold an Alcohol Free Zone for Gordon Park and the central business area of Nambucca Heads after 10 January 2015.

 

·    I wish to commend the Police, Council and a number of local agencies who have sought to enforce the existing rule and to generally improve liveability for residents in the Gordon Park precinct. Whilst the antisocial impact of drinking in Gordon Park is real and horrendous, the current prohibition has definitely improved things.

 

·    We could not imagine any reason why this Alcohol Free Zone would be changed. There is any amount of opportunity to responsibly consume alcohol in Nambucca Heads without having to change this. We cannot see any negative impact on tourism or on local business who rely on alcohol sales. On balance, we believe this situation preserves tourism rather than negatively impacting on it, due to the reduction in antisocial behaviour, meaning that tourists will have a safe and enjoyable time in Nambucca Heads - which means they will return again and spend their dollars, as well as tell their family and friends. A negative experience from alcohol-related incidents in public spaces has a similar effect - but in the negative (ie they won't return, spend money and will 'bag' Nambucca Heads to their family and friends.)

 

·    The committee was unanimous in recommending that the AFZ be continued in the central business area of the town as the situation would seem to be much improved since the introduction of the AFZ. 

 

·    As residents of Nambucca Heads we know full well the yelling, screaming and whistling that alcohol fuelled altercations in Gordon Park produce in the late hours of the day and early hours of the morning. We've been woken up by this intolerable behaviour numerous times.

 

·    As for the APA in Gordon Park, I think there has been some improvement. In the past groups of people would come down the hill from the liquor store in town with slabs of beer on their shoulders at around 10am in the morning. These folk would then drink all day and by 4pm everyone was very drunk. There would be lots and lots of fighting and swearing. This was very unpleasant especially for all the “normal” people who were out for a late afternoon walk along the boardwalk. Fortunately I haven’t seen this happening now for about a year.  However there is still plenty of drinking of alcohol in Gordon Park. I play tennis there twice a week and every time I arrive, I and other tennis players have to pick up many beer bottles and cans plus lots of broken glass.   I would like to see the alcohol free zones kept in place but they need to be policed.

 

Submissions to allow consumption of liquor between 10am and 10pm have provided the following comments:

 

·    This would enable the park to be returned to the majority of townspeople and tourists for their enjoyment, including responsible drinking at respectable hours.

 

·    Accordingly we favour having the regulation regarding consumption of alcohol in Gordon Park such that the police have enough powers to deal with the noise and bad behaviour when summoned by phone calls from the public or encountered during police patrols which are such a vital component of the remedy.

                      

·    The committee was also unanimous in recommending that the APA in Gordon Park be replaced with a curfew arrangement whereby alcohol consumption is not permitted from say 10 pm to 10 am. This would permit the lunchtime and evening diners in the park to enjoy a glass or two of an alcoholic beverage with their BBQ or picnic, a far from uncommon expectation among our townspeople and holiday makers to the shire in this day and age. Such an arrangement should still enable the police to patrol and take effective action, particularly in the late hours of the day and early hours of the morning when the socially disruptive behaviour has been at its worst for the business houses and residents neighbouring the park.

 

·    Gordon Park is an entirely different situation. It should not be a 24/7 Alcohol Free Zone, as it is a picnicking and barbecuing area where townspeople and visitors might expect in the 21st century to be able to enjoy an alcoholic drink with their food. The present arrangements penalise 99% of the people for the bad behaviour of the other 1%.

 

·    What would be much more appropriate would be a curfew period of say 10pm-10am when alcohol consumption in the park would be prohibited. Police could then take action against anyone violating this regulation and causing undue noise and public disturbance to the annoyance of those whose businesses and private dwellings adjoin the park.

 

·    As has been argued before, the signs themselves do not correct the alcohol fuelled noise and public nuisance in the park. It is the signs, in conjunction with police patrols, preferably sporadic, and police action whenever warranted, that are expected to do this. Without the police patrols/action the whole exercise is one of futility.

 

·    By the numbers of bottles and cans picked up during the past 18 months by members of the tennis club and by the workers of the rainforest, it would be hard to conclude that the present arrangements have solved the drinking problem. Hence pushing for a curfew arrangement, so that the majority of the people can enjoy picnicking and the BBQ facilities in the park.

 

Conclusions:

 

1          There is community evidence that the existing AFZ has worked and should be re-established for a period of 4 years from January 2015.

 

2          The existing boundary of the AFZ should remain. It is supported by the Police, the community has become accustomed to it, updating the signs will be at a minimum cost to Council.

 

3          It is acknowledged that signs don’t prevent alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, however they an effective and proactive deterrent.  The Police and many others have been quite clear that prohibiting alcohol consumption entirely is needed to send a strong message to those who behave anti-socially. 

 

4          Allowing consumption of liquor in Gordon Park is likely to see a return to the anti-social behaviour and vandalism of the pre-2013 ban and is not supported by the Police or general local community.  There is evidence that the current restriction on consumption of liquor in Gordon Park has been effective and therefore should remain as is.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

NSW Police, Nambucca Heads

Gordon Park Committee of Management

NSW Police Mid North Coast Area Command

Murrabay Language Centre

Nambucca Valley Liquor Consultative Committee

Nambucca Heads Local Aboriginal Land Council

Nambucca Heads Chamber of Commerce

Nambucca Heads Bowling and Recreation Club

Nambucca Valley Tourism Association Incorporated

Nambucca Liquor Supply

Nambucca Heads Community Action Group

Nambucca Heads RSL Club

Golden Sands Hotel

V-Wall Tavern

Matildas Restaurant

Gordon Park Rainforest Committee of Management

 

Advertising: Guardian News and on Council’s Website

Council’s Engineering Staff

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

Considerations for the environment are reduced littering and broken glass.

 

Social

 

Improved amenity and perception of safety.

 

Economic

 

Improved social environment where people feel safer using footpaths and parks and conducting business.

 

Risk

 

There may be reduced exposure for Council as a result of anti-social and violent behaviour.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Expenditure by Council on vandalism related work was in the vicinity of $10,000 in the year prior to completely prohibiting the consumption of liquor in Gordon Park.  This does not include the major contribution made by Lions to the maintenance of the foreshore parks.  Expenditure has dropped to almost nil (other than for standard maintenance work).  A small amount of funds are needed to cover changing the dates on existing signs which can be met by existing budgets.  Replacement stickers are around $17 each.  No changes to the Alcohol Prohibited signage in Gordon Park are needed. 

 

Should Council resolve to allow consumption of liquor in Gordon Park, 12 signs would need to be replaced at a cost of approximately $50 each plus labour. 

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

Nothing required.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

Nothing identified.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.  


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.6      SF1398            111214         Council's Delivery of Youth and Community Development

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Coral Hutchinson, Manager Community Development         

 

Summary:

 

At the Council meeting held 13 November 2014, Council endorsed changes to the Organisation Structure and also resolved the following:

 

That Council receive a report on how youth services will be maintained under the new structure.

 

Council’s delivery of community development services which are funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services is governed by their legal framework/funding agreement.  In addition, individual Position or Job Descriptions outline what services, programs and projects are to be delivered by Council staff, whilst maintaining some flexibility to respond to emerging or changing community needs. 

 

Council entered into a new agreement with FaCS effective 1 July 2014, concluding 30 June 2016.  The details of what Council is expected to provide remains largely the same as the previous agreement; therefore what Council delivers in terms of youth services largely remains unchanged and the “new structure” is essentially a re-distribution of staff duties.  There are no proposed changes to the level of services being delivered. 

 

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the report be noted. 

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

The report is presented for information. 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Nambucca Shire Council currently receives some $175,000 per annum for community development from the NSW State government under the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) “Community Builders” program.  The funding provides for staffing, staff training, travel, on costs and programs.

 

What services Council delivers with this funding is governed by a legally binding agreement in 3 parts:

 

1.   DEED OF AGREEMENT:  The legal agreement which outlines how we do business.

2.   PROGRAM LEVEL AGREEMENT:  Outlines funding offered and timeframes.

3.   SERVICE DELIVERY SCHEDULE: Outlines the services to be provided and outcomes achieved.

 

Council entered into a new agreement effective 1 July 2014, concluding 30 June 2016.  The details of what Council is expected to provide remains largely the same as the previous agreement and is outlined later in this report. 

 

In addition, to the FaCS legal framework individual Position or Job Descriptions outline what services, programs and projects are to be delivered by Council staff, noting that there is some flexibility to enable staff to respond to emerging or changing community needs.  The Council’s Engagement Strategy and Delivery Program also provide some guidance. 

 

Council’s Organisation Structure includes the following positions in the Community Development section:

 

Community Development Officer (Senior)

Community Development Officer (Designated)

 

Note:  A third position, Community Development Project Officer (currently vacant), exists in the structure to allow for appointment of staff to deliver specific projects, for example the Healthy Living Nambucca, Safe and Savvy Seniors and other one-off projects.

 

OUTLINE OF COMMUNITY BUILDERS FUNDING.

 

The Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) delivers services to some of the most disadvantaged individuals, families and communities in NSW. FaCS’ mission is to enable vulnerable people to participate fully in NSW social and economic life and build stronger, more sustainable and inclusive communities. FaCS does this by:

·      enabling each child in NSW to have the best possible start to life

·      helping vulnerable young people build their capacity for a good future

·      improving social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal people

·      providing support to vulnerable adults and families so that they can participate fully in community life

·      building strong and inclusive communities.

“Community Builders” is a FaCS funding program which works across whole of community with a focus on people who are socially and/or financially disadvantaged and more specifically provides services to vulnerable children, young people and their families.  The program was developed in response to a growing body of evidence that suggests that community strengthening is an effective way of reducing inequality and disadvantage.   Community Builders is also about creating opportunities for people to acquire skills, to respond positively to change and to actively engage with their community through a wide variety of activities.

Key concepts are:

·      enhancing community social infrastructure;

·      building stronger, more resilient communities;

·      promoting people’s participation and inclusion in the broader community; and

·      building trust, resourcefulness, participation, respect and connectedness.

 

The funding Council receives requires the delivery of programs and activities under 2 service types: 

 

1.   Community Capacity Building which includes following types of activities:

 

·      Events

·      Programs

·      People connected with information

·      Assisted referrals

·      Resources developed

·      Community workshops

·      Community networks/groups

·      Social Inclusion Programs

·      Online forums

 

2.   Community Skills Development which includes following types of activities:

 

·      Governance training

·      Resource Development

·      Leadership training

·      Mentoring training

·      Resource Development

·      Life Skills programs

·      Education/Learning programs

·      Train Volunteers

 

Note:  The Service Delivery Schedule then sets key outcomes and benchmarks for Council.

EXAMPLES OF OUTCOMES – 2013-2014

Community Capacity Building

 

·      “Big Air School” for Youth Week held at Nambucca Heads Skate park

·      Grants secured for Seniors Week, Youth Week and Transport project

·      Delivered the Resilient Young People’s Program in local high schools

·      Chill Out space at the local Show where young people can take time out, participate in quieter activities and get support if needed

·      Provision of support for NAIDOC Week July 2014

·      Elders and Councillor Christmas Morning Tea to promote co-operation, good will and good fellowship

·      Forum for Aboriginal community and Council – key priorities and the way forward discussed, held June 2014; and involvement in the Nambucca Valley Aboriginal Network/Interagency

·      Outreach services to young people via local high schools

·      Review of School Attendance Program – in partnership with businesses in Macksville and Nambucca Heads.  Students are advised that visiting businesses during school hours may result in being asked to produce a current Pass.  New businesses signed up and signage updated.

·      Participation in family fun and information days

·      Participation in Nambucca Valley Network Interagency

·      Nambucca Valley Against Domestic and Family Violence Committee

 

Community Skills Development

 

·      Co-ordination and funding of the Responsible Educated New Tenant (RENT) program for young people on how to gain accommodation and increase knowledge of rights and responsibilities of renting. 3 Workshops held as a partnership with TAFE

·      School holiday activities which are fun but skills based eg Surf School, Public Transport project

·      Partnership with Bowraville Central School and Scotts Head Sports Committee to establish Yarning Circles at the Bowraville Community Garden and Vernon Street Oval

·      Driving Class L project – 12 x 4 hour workshops assisting Aboriginal people to participate more fully in the community by helping them to gain their Learner’s Permit.  Budgeting, employment opportunities and cultural awareness were also part of the program.

·      Partnership with Bowraville Central School, Indigenous Surfing Australia and Trent Munro Surf Academy – a program which encourages school participation.  Included introduction to surf awareness, CPR and life saving

·      “Stories of the Nambucca” – a re-creation and public exhibition of stories written by Gumbaynggirr people remembering stories from childhood and connecting those with local geography

 

TOWARDS 2016

In a Policy context, from 1 July 2014 funded organisations will be required to address impacts and connections with the following:

·      child protection reforms, as part of a Safe Home For Life

·      homelessness reforms, including Going Home Staying Home

·      localisation, including the requirement to participate in district plans

·      domestic violence reforms, including It Stops Here

·      developments in other programs.

 

For Council and other funded organisations, these concepts underpin what services, programs and projects are delivered with Community Builders funding.  Having said that, for the term of the current agreement, the services or programs being delivered (by direct delivery, collaboration or participation) by Council remains largely unchanged. 

 

Council’s list of activities planned for the coming 18 months follow, although exactly how and what is delivered takes into account other activities in the community (avoids duplication or value-adds) and allows Council to respond to changing community priorities.

 

Community Capacity Building

 

·      NAIDOC week

·      Seniors week – intergenerational

·      Children’s Week

·      Youth week

·      Elders Morning Tea – partnership with Macksville High

·      Macksville Show Youth focus

·      Skate Park Macksville

·      Stuart Island revitalisation eg for cultural advice

·      PAC meetings (Police and Aboriginal Community meetings)

·      Nambucca Valley Families against Violence – meetings and small projects

·      NSC Aboriginal Forum

·      Nambucca Valley Indigenous Interagency

·      Libraries: Story time with Elders

·      School Attendance program

·      Transport Project – education on using public transport

·      Bowraville Enterprising & Sustaining Futures (BESF) Project: proposed Sport academy/Clontarf model

·      Nambucca Valley Network Interagency

·      Macksville Revitalisation project (Past the By-Pass)

·      Grant Applications – provide assistance

·      SMILE program (Anti-bullying program in schools)

·      Local Gumbaynggirr Story Board

·      Youth Leadership initiatives

·      Breakfast club

·      Family and community Information Days

·      Other partnership opportunities

 

Community Skills Development

 

·      Bowraville Central School Community Garden

·      Indigenous Surf School

·      Indent Program (Music)

·      Youth Leadership initiatives Eg Youth Leading the World – Youth Leadership with an environment focus; “Girl Savvy” with local business mentors; developing leaders through sport and recreation

·      RYPP (Resilient Young People’s Program)

·      RENT (Responsible Educated New Tenant)

·      TIM TAMS (Transition Into Manhood), partnership with Macksville High

·      YMCA options for partnerships

·      Language Taster Course with Muurrbay Language Centre

·      TAFE public art or community projects Eg Wallace Lane, Dawkins Park

·      Indigenous cricket program

·      NSC Centenary Celebration: Students re-enact 1st Council meeting

·      Other partnership opportunities

 

The Organisation Structure

The new structure referred to in the Council resolution of 13 November refers to an internal re-organisation of work duties between community development staff.  Essentially the change means that both CDO positions are required to work with young people and their families.  Similarly both are expected to work towards the outcomes for “whole of community”, with a specific focus on people who are socially and/or financially disadvantaged and Aboriginal people.  The change reflects the current way of working ie across the community.  It also reflects current community planning approaches which no longer plan for target groups and age groups in isolation. 

 

Along with the change reflecting current practice, having two workers covering community development provides more flexibility (workers can play to their strengths) and better coverage during staff leave.  In addition, it challenges the perception that only youth workers work with young people or Aboriginal workers work with the Aboriginal community.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Department of Family and Community Services

General Manager

Manager Human Resources

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

Nothing identified

 

Social

 

Improved social outcomes underpin delivery of community development activities

 

Economic

 

Nothing identified

 

Risk

 

Nothing identified

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Nothing identified, however current funding agreements conclude June 2016 and staff are appointed under Fixed-term contract.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

Nothing required

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.7      SF1920            111214         Minutes of the Access Committee meeting held 28 October 2014

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Coral Hutchinson, Manager Community Development         

 

Summary:

 

The minutes of the Nambucca Shire Council Access Committee meeting held Tuesday 28 October 2014 are attached for Council’s endorsement. 

 

The Committee presents the following recommendations for Council’s attention.

 

·      That the resignation of Mrs Shirley Holmes as Chairperson of the Access Committee is accepted, and that a letter of thanks is sent in appreciation of Shirley's efforts, participation, and her care and understanding of those with special needs.

 

·      That Cr South be appointed Chairperson until the AGM in March 2015.

 

·      That the Government response to the Staysafe Inquiry Report into Non-registered Motorised Scooters be noted.

 

·      That the Committee supports improvements to Macksville Bridge walkway with applications for funding being made as a matter of priority for the northern approach; and further, with Council staff giving consideration to alternatives to improve the bridge walkway section and applying for funding as opportunity arises for those works. 

 

·      That the Committee notes the Disability Act Regulation appears consistent with the Committee’s views on Council planning for people with disabilities, that is, that it be integrated with Council’s community planning. 

 

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1.         That the resignation of Mrs Shirley Holmes as Chairperson of the Access Committee is accepted, and that a letter of thanks is sent in appreciation of Shirley's efforts, participation, and her care and understanding of those with special needs.

 

2.         That Cr South be appointed Chairperson until the AGM in March 2015.

 

3.         That the Government response to the Staysafe Inquiry Report into Non-registered Motorised Scooters be noted.

 

4.         That Council notes the Committee’s support for improvements to Macksville Bridge walkway with applications for funding being made as a matter of priority for the northern approach; and further, with Council staff giving consideration to alternatives to improve the bridge walkway section and applying for funding as opportunity arises for those works. 

 

5.         That Council note the information in regard to the Disability Act Regulation including its integration with Council’s community planning and proposed timeframes. 

 

6.         That the remainder of the minutes of the Nambucca Shire Council Access Committee meeting held 28 October 2014 be endorsed.

 

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council has the option of not endorsing the minutes or making additional or alternative resolutions.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Staysafe Inquiry Report

 

Council may recall that it made a submission (upon recommendation of the Access Committee) to the Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety Inquiry in 2013 and that the Manager Community Development addressed the Parliamentary Committee in August 2013.

 

Since then a report has been handed down which contained a series of recommendations.  Council has now received a copy of the NSW Government’s response.  The full report is attached as most, if not all the recommendations have some point of interest to the Access Committee and Council.  A summary follows:

 

Recommendation 1

A key point is that the quality of data may be comprised as mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs may fall under the definition of a pedestrian.

 

Recommendation 5

Relates to steps needed before a system of registration is introduced.

 

Recommendations 9 and 10

Relate to quad bikes – safety in regard to their use has been a recent hot topic.

 

Recommendation 11

This is of particular interest to Councils as it relates to designing for accessible streetscapes and the development of guidelines for a “whole-of-journey” approach to public transport planning.

 

Recommendations 12 and 13

Relate to suggested requirements of retailers including accreditation systems and assessing competency of people using non-registered motorised devices.  Neither were supported.

 

Recommendation 15 and 16

Relate to insurance liability and insurance.  Is complicated by the various devices being discussed and the variety of places where they are used.  Transport for NSW will be given options.

 

There are a number of recommendations regarding education campaigns which the Committee members can review in the attached document.  The Committee may be able to assist with education initiatives as they are rolled out.

 

Macksville Bridge and approaches

 

A report to the Committee advised that Council staff have been working on an application to Roads and Maritime Services for Infrastructure funding for various projects.  One of interest to the Access Committee was the Macksville Bridge.  The narrowness of the walkway and bridge approaches limit access.  Upgrading the walkway on the bridge itself will be a very expensive project and whilst it would be a great outcome, the more pressing issue is the northern approach to the bridge, at least for wheelchair and scooter users.  It is very narrow, slopes downward toward a steep slope on the western side and the fence requires renewing.   The Committee supports the principle of applying for funding.

 

Disability Act Regulation

 

Council has been previously advised regarding the passing of the Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (Meeting 11 September 2014) which was passed by the NSW Parliament on 14 August 2014.  The Act aims to better recognise the human rights of people with disability and to set out the role of the NSW Government in relation to disability both now, and once the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been fully implemented. 

A draft Regulation has now been developed to support the Act which outlines the timeframe for Councils to develop Disability Inclusion Action Plans (DIAP). 

Local councils must have their DIAPs in place by 1 July 2017 (Clause 6). This start date will mean local councils can build their DIAPs into their 10 year plans (this is consistent with the Access Committee’s view). The Department of Family and Community Services will be help councils and government departments to develop their DIAPs. Also, the Access Committee will be happy to assist and advise Council in this process. 

Note:  The suggested timeframe for the new integrated reporting framework for local councils would see all plans finalised by 1 July after local council elections (which are next to be held in September 2016).

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Nothing required.

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

Nothing identified

 

Social

 

Nothing identified

 

Economic

 

Nothing identified

 

Risk

 

Nothing identified

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Nothing identified

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

Nothing required

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

Nothing identified

 

 

Attachments:

1

31514/2014 - Minutes - Access Committee - 28 October 2014

 

2

28113/2014 - NSW Government response to recommendations in the Staysafe Inquiry Report into Non Registered Motorised Vehicles

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Minutes of the Access Committee meeting held 28 October 2014

 

PRESENT

 

Cr E South (Chairperson)

Ms Fiona Henwood

Ms Lee-anne Funnell

Dr Dorothy Secomb

Mr Peter Shales

Ms Margaret Hutchinson

Mr Keith Davis

 

 

APOLOGIES

 

Cr Anne Smyth

Mrs Shirley Holmes

Ms Coral Hutchinson

Ms Jenny Adams

Mr Les Small

Ms Alba Sky

 

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST - Nil

 

Assistant General Manager Corporate Services Report

 

ITEM 3.1      SF1920              281014      Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting held 23 September 2014

ReSOLVED: (Henwood/secomb)

 

That the Committee confirm the minutes of the meeting held 23 September 2014.

 

 

 

ITEM 3.2      SF1920              281014      Business Arising from Previous Meeting held  23 September 2014

 

The Committee noted that Council staff have followed up about the access at the roundabout on Marshall Way, noting that this was apparently part of unfinished works involving the adjoining Medical Centres parking/access conditions that weren’t finished/signed off.

There was also discussion on footpath safety, outdoor diners and ongoing safety concerns and hazards around the streets, with the Committee members hoping that concerns can be implemented and monitored for the safety of users in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3.3      SF1920              281014      Correspondence to the Access Committee meeting 28 October 2014

Recommendation: (henwood/secomb)

 

1          That the resignation of Mrs Shirley Holmes as Chairperson of the Access Committee is accepted, and that a letter of thanks is sent in appreciation of Shirley's efforts, participation, and her care and understanding of those with special needs.

 

2          That Cr South be appointed Chairperson until the AGM in March 2015.

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3.4      SF1920              281014      Report on General Business to the Access Committee 28 October 2014

Recommendation: (shales/davis)

 

1          That the Government response to the Staysafe Inquiry Report into Non-registered Motorised Scooters be noted.

 

2          That the Committee supports improvements to Macksville Bridge walkway with applications for funding being made as a matter of priority for the northern approach; and further, with Council staff giving consideration to alternatives to improve the bridge walkway section and applying for funding as opportunity arises for those works. 

 

3          That the Committee notes the Disability Act Regulation appears consistent with the Committee’s views on Council planning for people with disabilities, that is, that it be integrated with Council’s community planning. 

 

4          That the reports be noted.

 

  

 

 

 

NEXT MEETING DATE

 

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 25 November 2014 commencing at 2.00pm.

 

 

CLOSURE

 

There being no further business the Chairperson then closed the meeting the time being 3.00 pm. 

 

 

 

CR SOUTH

 

………………………………

(CHAIRPERSON)

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Minutes of the Access Committee meeting held 28 October 2014

 















Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.8      SF1920            111214         Minutes of the Access Committee meeting held 25 November 2014

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Coral Hutchinson, Manager Community Development         

 

Summary:

 

The minutes of the Nambucca Shire Council Access Committee meeting held Tuesday 25 November 2014 are attached for Council’s endorsement. 

 

There are no particular recommendations requiring Council’s attention.

 

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the Nambucca Shire Council Access Committee meeting held 25 November 2014 be endorsed.

 

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council has the option of not endorsing the minutes or making additional or alternative resolutions.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Nothing required

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Nothing required

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

Nothing identified

 

Social

 

Nothing identified

 

Economic

 

Nothing identified

 

Risk

 

Nothing identified

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Nothing identified

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

Nothing required

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

Nothing identified

 

 

Attachments:

1

35323/2014 - Minutes - Access Committee - 25 November 2014

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Minutes of the Access Committee meeting held 25 November 2014

 

PRESENT

 

Cr E South (Chairperson)

Ms Fiona Henwood

Mr Keith Davis

Mr Les Small

Mr Peter Shales

Ms Alba Sky

Cr A Smyth

Dr Dorothy Secomb

Ms Coral Hutchinson

 

 

APOLOGIES

 

Ms Lee-anne Funnell

Ms Jenny Adams

Ms Margaret Hutchinson

Mrs Shirley Holmes

 

 

Assistant General Manager Corporate Services Report

ITEM 3.1      SF1920              251114      Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting held 28 October 2014

Recommendation: (henwood/shales)

 

That the Committee confirm the minutes of the meeting held 28 October 2014.

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3.2      SF1920              251114      Business Arising from Previous Meeting held  28 October 2014

Recommendation:

 

There were no matters arising.

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3.3      SF1920              251114      Correspondence to the Access Committee meeting 25 November 2014

 

The correspondence was noted with the addition of information on the National Public Toilet Map and the Daisi Link Summer 2014.

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3.4      SF1920              251114      Report on General Business to the Access Committee 25 November 2014

 

The following was noted without formal resolution:

 

1.   Nambucca River Festival – Ability Links Arts Hub on Saturday.

2.   Guide Dogs – Fiona Henwood will be taking leave for 12 months, the Committee to be advised of a replacement representative early in 2015.

3.   Busways – appears to be an increase in accessible buses;  have new buses with different access provisions which are a challenge for people with vision impairment.

4.   Cr South – liaising re seat near Woolworths in Back St Nambucca Heads.

5.   Mental Health Services – the lack of and cross over with disability.

6.   YMCA – 11am 5 December (not the 3rd) celebrating International Day of People with a Disability.

 

 

 

 

NEXT MEETING DATE

 

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 24 February 2015 commencing at 2.00pm.

 

 

CLOSURE

 

There being no further business the Chairperson then closed the meeting the time being 3.10 pm. 

 

 

 

CR SOUTH

………………………………

(CHAIRPERSON)

 


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.9      SF1361            111214         Unreasonable Complainant Conduct - Model Policy

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Joanne Hudson, Manager Human Resources; Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

Recent incidents where employees have been verbally abused and threatened by members of the public highlight the need for Council to have a policy and procedures in place to assist staff manage their interactions with complainants whose conduct is identified as unreasonable.

 

The NSW Ombudsman has a number of resources available on its website for how to manage “unreasonable complainant conduct” including model policy, procedures and the Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Practice Manual.

 

Council’s Management Executive Committee (Manex A) recently adopted the attached policy which is the NSW Ombudsman’s Model Policy and Procedures on dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct.  As Councillors may individually deal with members of the public who may exhibit conduct consistent with that described in the policy, it may be of interest to Councillors so they may better manage such interactions.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Council note the adopted Model Policy and Procedures on Unreasonable Complainant Conduct.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Unreasonable complainant conduct is an operational matter and the Model Policy is presented for information.  However Councillors may find the policy of use in their interaction with members of the public.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Recent incidents where employees have been verbally abused and threatened by members of the public highlight the need for Council to have a policy and procedures in place to assist staff manage their interactions with complainants whose conduct is identified as unreasonable.

 

The NSW Ombudsman has a number of resources available on its website for how to manage “unreasonable complainant conduct” including model policy, procedures and the Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Practice Manual.

 

Unreasonable complainant conduct (UCC) can be divided into five categories of conduct:

 

·      Unreasonable persistence

·      Unreasonable demands

·      Unreasonable lack of cooperation

·      Unreasonable arguments

·      Unreasonable behaviours

 

Council’s Management Executive Committee (Manex A) has adopted the attached Model Policy and Procedures.

 

A TRIM container has been created (SF1361) and specifically for Unreasonable Complaint Conduct incidents. Within this container, a register has also been created.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Manager Development and Environment

Senior Health and Building Surveyor

Area Health and Building Surveyor

Manex A

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

Not applicable

 

Social

 

The proposed policy and procedures establishes standards which are based on social norms.

 

Economic

 

Not applicable

 

Risk

 

The policy and procedures aims to assist Council and staff manage their interactions with complainants whose conduct is identified as unreasonable.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

There is no budgetary impact.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

There is no impact on working funds.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

The policy will enable decisions to be as to the resources applied to unreasonable complainant conduct.

 

Attachments:

1

33349/2014 - Draft Policy and Procedures - Unreasonable Complainant Conduct

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Unreasonable Complainant Conduct - Model Policy

 

 

 

Description: nambucca valley nsc

 

 

NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 DRAFT UNREASONABLE COMPLAINANT CONDUCT POLICY AND PROCEDURES

 

 

Our Vision

 

Nambucca Valley ~ Living at its best

 

Our Mission Statement

 

‘The Nambucca Valley will value and protect its natural environment, maintain its assets and infrastructure and develop opportunities for its people.’

 

 

Background

In 2006 the Australasian Parliamentary Ombudsman began a collaborative project on Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct (‘UCC’). The focus of this project has been to develop clear and practical strategies to help organisations and their staff manage their interactions with complainants whose conduct is identified as unreasonable.

One of the key principles and messages underlying the Ombudsman project has been the idea that to effectively manage UCC organisations need to recognise that dealing with it is a core part of complainant handling work. As such UCC must be treated as a priority and given adequate resources, including being supported by clear policies and procedures.

Accordingly, since the publication of the first edition of the Ombudsman Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Practice Manual in 2009 a number of public organisations have taken steps to develop policies and procedures to assist and support their staff in this regard. While this appears to have led to a general improvement in how UCC is managed, Ombudsman offices across Australasia have observed significant variations in the level of detail and contents of these policies, as well as a general lack of formal procedures to support them.

For example, we have found some policies do not adequately define the roles or responsibilities of frontline officers and senior managers to take action in relation to UCC. They do not distinguish between the strategies that frontline officers are authorised to use and those that must be considered and acted on at a senior management level – eg those that seek to change or restrict a complainant’s ability to access their services. Other policies do not provide/are not supported by any procedures for recording or reporting UCC incidents and do not provide guidance on the type of criteria that should be considered when restricting a complainant’s access to services. They also fail to identify any systems or processes for reviewing such restrictions and do not include strategies on how staff can deal with complainants who do not comply with these types of restrictions.

As a result, as Stage 2 of the UCC project has progressed, the Parliamentary Ombudsman have identified a number of situations where unclear and/or informal policies and procedures have led to a range of administrative problems and inconsistencies in how UCC is managed. See for example: Commonwealth Ombudsman, Unreasonable customer conduct and ‘write only’ policy.[1]

Purpose

The model policy has been developed to clarify the Ombudsman policy recommendations in relation to the management of UCC. It attempts to provide a robust, standardised and consistent model policy and procedure that organisations can use to inform and support their policy development processes. We recommend that all organisations – whether they are in the process of developing a UCC policy and procedure or already have an existing one(s) – take time to review this document to ensure their policies and procedures are fair and consistent, and compliant with Ombudsman’s suggested approach.

At the same time it should be noted that this document is only a guide. Each organisation will need to decide how best to implement the information contained in it to suit their own circumstances and existing organisational systems and protocols.

Important points and caveats

1.   Policy and procedure to be in writing

To ensure transparency, accountability, fairness and consistency in the management of UCC, it is essential for an organisation to have a written UCC policy and procedure(s) for its staff. A written policy and procedures will ensure that staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities and have clear guidance and authority to deal with UCC on a daily basis. A written policy and procedure will also provide a reference point for all complainants whose conduct is managed in accordance with it, as well as review bodies, courts or tribunals that may subsequently be tasked with reviewing their application.

See the attached Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Model Policy.

2.   Contents of a UCC policy

A robust and comprehensive UCC policy should include the following basic features:

·      Clear guidance about the authority vested in frontline staff and senior management to respond to and manage UCC, including taking action to restrict a complainant’s access to services.

·      An explanation of the types of circumstances where it might be appropriate to change or restrict a complainant’s access to services and the procedures that should be followed when doing so.

·      A range of possible service restrictions (not just ‘write only’ restrictions) that staff can use to manage UCC.

·      Guidance about the types of factors that should be taken into account when deciding to change or restrict a complainant’s access to services.

·      Procedures for communicating with complainants about decisions to change or restrict their access, including the use of template letters.

·      A centralised system for recording and reporting details of complainants with service restrictions to assist with ongoing management and review of these cases.

·      A standardised process for reviewing decisions to change or restrict access – including fixed time periods and criteria for review, and a presumption that any restriction will be lifted unless there is a clear need for it to continue.

In addition, national organisations and/or those with multiple offices should standardise their UCC policies to ensure overall consistency in how UCC is dealt with in each office. This is particularly important for managing situations where complainants attempt to forum shop from one office to the next or have legitimate reasons for having contact with more than one office – eg Centrelink.

See Part 2.1 – model policy and procedure. 

3.   Avoiding misuses and overuses of UCC policies

Organisations also need to take steps to ensure that their UCC policies are applied cautiously and sparingly. The Ombudsman’s approach and UCC policies, in general, should never be seen as a quick solution for dealing with complainants who are angry or frustrated or who are viewed as being annoying or a nuisance. They are intended to be applied in cases where UCC is in fact an issue – that is in cases where a complainant’s conduct raises the types of safety, resource and equity issues identified in the Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Practice Manual (2nd edition) and supporting documents. For most organisations these cases are likely to be very few in number.

Organisations should also take steps to ensure their UCC policies are applied in the least restrictive ways possible. They should never be applied in ways that go beyond what is appropriate and necessary to manage a complainant’s conduct and must always be proportionate to the complainant’s personal circumstances. The aim when applying such policies should not be to punish the complainant but rather to manage the impacts of their conduct.

For example, it would be inappropriate for an organisation to restrict a complainant’s access to ‘writing only’ if that complainant is not proficient in English, is illiterate or vision impaired. It would be equally inappropriate to impose access restrictions in ways that would limit a complainant’s ability to exercise a right that has been provided to them by statute.

To guard against misuses or overuses of UCC policies, we strongly suggest that all organisations should implement effective systems for:

·      Recording and reporting all UCC incidents – this includes ensuring that their staff are well trained in appropriate and consistent record keeping practices and ensuring they have in place a centralised case management system where UCC incidents can be easily recorded and accessed.

A good case management system – that is capable of delivering timely and accurate information about complainants and their complaints – is essential for the proper management of UCC, particularly if a complainant’s ability to interact with the organisation has been modified or restricted as a result of their behaviour. It can facilitate the sharing and dissemination of information among staff and ensure consistency in the approaches taken.

A well implemented case management system is:

-     easily accessible and searchable

-     capable of being easily updated with contemporaneous information

-     contains information and documentation relating to all complaints and complainants

-     includes a system of alerts and notifications that promptly alert staff to any access changes or restrictions along with contextual information (in summary form) of the nature and reasons for those restrictions

-     includes a tracking system for monitoring incidents of UCC and their progress.

Also, staff need to be clearly advised about whom, within the organisation, they should report UCC incidents to, as well as the proper procedure(s) for doing so.

·      Tracking and monitoring all uses of their policies one staff member [eg a nominated senior manager] should be responsible for tracking and monitoring all uses of their UCC policy to ensure that it is being applied consistently, appropriately and effectively and that UCC cases are reviewed at appropriate intervals.

·      Reviewing all cases where their policies are used – all uses of their UCC policies should be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that they continue to be necessary, appropriate and effective in the circumstances.

See Parts 4, 7.6, 9, and 10 of the attached Model Policy.

4.   Handling complaints in ways that will not trigger or exacerbate UCC

Organisations must acknowledge that sometimes they and their staff get it wrong and can, in fact, trigger or exacerbate UCC. Mistakes can be made, complaints/cases can be mishandled, processes and procedures can be overly complex or unresponsive to the needs of certain complainants, and delays may occur. In these circumstances, and in any circumstance where an organisation contributes to a complainant’s unreasonable conduct, they should immediately rectify the problem – including providing the complainant with an apology. For further advice on making apologies, see: Apologies – A practical guide, NSW Ombudsman, March 2009).

If remediation does not work and the organisation’s relationship with the complainant breaks down, it may be necessary to organise alternative dispute resolution approaches – such as conciliation – to resolve the issue and rebuild the relationship with the complainant to the extent possible.

See Part 6 of the attached Model Policy.


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Unreasonable Complainant Conduct - Model Policy

 

 

1.    INTRODUCTION

1.1   Statement of support

Nambucca Shire Council is committed to being accessible and responsive to all complainants who approach our office for assistance and/or with a complaint. At the same time the success of our office depends on:

·      our ability to do our work and perform our functions in the most effective and efficient ways possible

·      the health, safety and security of our staff, and

·      our ability to allocate our resources fairly across all the complaints we receive.

When complainants behave unreasonably in their dealings with us, their conduct can significantly affect our success. As a result, Nambucca Shire Council will take proactive and decisive action to manage any complainant conduct that negatively and unreasonably affects us and will support our staff to do the same in accordance with this policy.

I authorise and expect all Nambucca Shire Council staff to implement the strategies provided in this policy.

General Manager APPROVAL

[Signature]

2.    OBJECTIVES

2.1   Policy aims

This policy has been developed to assist all staff members to better manage unreasonable complainant conduct (‘UCC’). Its aim is to ensure that all staff:

·      Feel confident and supported in taking action to manage UCC.

·      Act fairly, consistently, honestly and appropriately when responding to UCC.

·      Are aware of their roles and responsibilities in relation to the management of UCC and how this policy will be used.

·      Understand the types of circumstances when it may be appropriate to manage UCC using one or more of the following mechanisms:

-     The strategies provided in the Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Practice Manual (2nd edition) (‘practice manual’) including the strategies to change or restrict a complainant’s access to our services.

-     Alternative dispute resolution strategies to deal with conflicts involving complainants and members of our organisation.

-     Legal instruments such as trespass laws/legislation to prevent a complainant from coming onto our premises and orders to protect specific staff members from any actual or apprehended personal violence, intimidation or stalking.

·      Have a clear understanding of the criteria that will be considered before we decide to change or restrict a complainant’s access to our services.

·      Are aware of the processes that will be followed to record and report UCC incidents as well as the procedures for consulting and notifying complainants about any proposed actions or decisions to change or restrict their access to our services.

·    Are familiar with the procedures for reviewing decisions made under this policy, including specific timeframes for review.

3.    DEFINING UNREASONABLE COMPLAINANT CONDUCT

3.1   Unreasonable complainant conduct

Most complainants who come to our office act reasonably and responsibly in their interactions with us, even when they are experiencing high levels of distress, frustration and anger about their complaint. However in a very small number of cases some complainants behave in ways that are inappropriate and unacceptable – despite our best efforts to help them. They are aggressive and verbally abusive towards our staff. They threaten harm and violence, bombard our offices with unnecessary and excessive phone calls and emails, make inappropriate demands on our time and our resources and refuse to accept our decisions and recommendations in relation to their complaints. When complainants behave in these ways we consider their conduct to be ‘unreasonable’.

Unreasonable complainant conduct (‘UCC’) is any behaviour by a current or former complainant which, because of its nature or frequency raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity issues for our organisation, our staff, other service users and complainants or the complainant himself/herself.

UCC can be divided into five categories of conduct:

·      Unreasonable persistence

·      Unreasonable demands

·      Unreasonable lack of cooperation

·      Unreasonable arguments

·    Unreasonable behaviours

3.2   Unreasonable persistence

Unreasonable persistence is continued, incessant and unrelenting conduct by a complainant that has a disproportionate and unreasonable impact on our organisation, staff, services, time and/or resources. Some examples of unreasonably persistent behaviour include:

·      An unwillingness or inability to accept reasonable and logical explanations including final decisions that have been comprehensively considered and dealt with.

·      Persistently demanding a review simply because it is available and without arguing or presenting a case for one.

·      Pursuing and exhausting all available review options when it is not warranted and refusing to accept further action cannot or will not be taken on their complaints.

·      Reframing a complaint in an effort to get it taken up again.

·      Bombarding our staff/organisation with phone calls, visits, letters, emails (including cc’d correspondence) after repeatedly being asked not to do so.

·      Contacting different people within our organisation and/or externally to get a different outcome or more sympathetic response to their complaint – internal and external forum shopping.

For more examples of unreasonable persistence see pages 39 – 43 of the practice manual.

3.3   Unreasonable demands

Unreasonable demands are any demands (express or implied) that are made by a complainant that have a disproportionate and unreasonable impact on our organisation, staff, services, time and/or resources. Some examples of unreasonable demands include:

·      Issuing instructions and making demands about how we have/should handle their complaint, the priority it was/should be given, or the outcome that was/should be achieved.

·      Insisting on talking to a senior manager or the General Manager personally when it is not appropriate or warranted.

·      Emotional blackmail and manipulation with the intention to guilt trip, intimidate, harass, shame, seduce or portray themselves as being victimised – when this is not the case.

·      Insisting on outcomes that are not possible or appropriate in the circumstances – eg for someone to be sacked or prosecuted, an apology and/or compensation when no reasonable basis for expecting this.

·      Demanding services that are of a nature or scale that we cannot provide when this has been explained to them repeatedly.

For more examples of unreasonable demands see pages 50 – 54 of the practice manual.

3.4   Unreasonable lack of cooperation

Unreasonable lack of cooperation is an unwillingness and/or inability by a complainant to cooperate with our organisation, staff, or complaints system and processes that results in a disproportionate and unreasonable use of our services, time and/or resources. Some examples of unreasonable lack of cooperation include:

·      Sending a constant stream of comprehensive and/or disorganised information without clearly defining any issues of complaint or explaining how they relate to the core issues being complained about – only where the complainant is clearly capable of doing this.

·      Providing little or no detail with a complaint or presenting information in ‘dribs and drabs’.

·      Refusing to follow or accept our instructions, suggestions, or advice without a clear or justifiable reason for doing so.

·      Arguing frequently and/or with extreme intensity that a particular solution is the correct one in the face of valid contrary arguments and explanations.

·      Displaying unhelpful behaviour – such as withholding information, acting dishonestly, misquoting others, and so forth.

For more examples of unreasonable lack of cooperation see pages 64 – 65 of the practice manual.

3.5   Unreasonable arguments

Unreasonable arguments include any arguments that are not based in reason or logic, that are incomprehensible, false or inflammatory, trivial or delirious and that disproportionately and unreasonably impact upon our organisation, staff, services, time, and/or resources. Arguments are unreasonable when they:

·      fail to follow a logical sequence

·      are not supported by any evidence and/or are based on conspiracy theories

·      lead a complainant to reject all other valid and contrary arguments

·      are trivial when compared to the amount of time, resources and attention that the complainant demands

·      are false, inflammatory or defamatory.

For more examples of unreasonable arguments see pages 69 – 71 of the practice manual.

3.6   Unreasonable behaviour

Unreasonable behaviour is conduct that is unreasonable in all circumstances – regardless of how stressed, angry or frustrated that a complainant is – because it unreasonably compromises the health, safety and security of our staff, other service users or the complainant himself/herself. Some examples of unreasonable behaviours include:

·      Acts of aggression, verbal abuse, derogatory, racist, or grossly defamatory remarks

·      Harassment, intimidation or physical violence.

·      Rude, confronting and threatening correspondence.

·      Threats of harm to self or third parties, threats with a weapon or threats to damage property including bomb threats.

·      Stalking (in person or online).

·      Emotional manipulation.

For more examples of unreasonable behaviour see pages 77 – 85 of the practice manual.

All staff should note that Nambucca Shire Council has a zero tolerance policy towards any harm, abuse or threats directed towards them. Any conduct of this kind will be dealt with under this policy, and in accordance with our duty of care and occupational health and safety responsibilities.

4.    ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

4.1   All staff

All staff are responsible for familiarising themselves with this policy as well as the Individual Rights and Mutual Responsibilities of the Parties to a Complaint in Appendix A. Staff are also encouraged to explain the contents of this document to all complainants particularly those who engage in UCC or exhibit the early warning signs for UCC. See pages 16 - 18 of the practice manual.

Staff are also encouraged and authorised to use the strategies and scripts provided in Part 5 of the practice manual to manage UCC, in particular:

·      Strategies and script ideas for managing unreasonable persistence: pages 39 – 48.

·      Strategies and script ideas for managing unreasonable demands: pages 50 – 63.

·      Strategies and script ideas for managing unreasonable lack of cooperation: pages 64 – 68.

·      Strategies and script ideas for managing unreasonable arguments: 69 – 76.

·      Strategies and script ideas for managing unreasonable behaviours: pages 77 – 88.

However, it must be emphasised that any strategies that effectively change or restrict a complainant’s access to our services must be considered at the Assistant General Manager level or higher as provided in this policy.

Staff are also responsible for recording and reporting all UCC incidents they experience or witness (as appropriate) to the Assistant General Manager/General Manager within 24 hours of the incident occurring, using the Sample UCC incident form in Appendix B. A file note of the incident should also be copied into Council’s electronic records management system.

4.2   The Assistant General Manager/General Manager

The Assistant General Manager/General Manager in consultation with relevant staff, has the responsibility and authority to change or restrict a complainant’s access to our services in the circumstances identified in this policy. When doing so they will take into account the criteria in Part 7.2 below (adapted into a checklist in Appendix C) and will aim to impose any service changes/restrictions in the least restrictive ways possible. Their aim, when taking such actions will not be to punish the complainant, but rather to manage the impacts of their conduct.

When applying this policy, the Assistant General Manager/General Manager will also aim to keep at least one open line of communication with a complainant. However, we do recognise that in extreme situations all forms of contact may need to be restricted for some time to ensure the health and safety and security of our staff and/or third parties.

The Assistant General Manager/General Manager is also responsible for recording, monitoring and reviewing all cases where this policy is applied to ensure consistency, transparency and accountability for the application of this policy. They will also manage and keep a file record of all cases where this policy is applied.

4.3   Senior managers

All senior managers are responsible for supporting staff to apply the strategies in this policy, as well as those in the practice manual. Senior managers are also responsible for ensuring compliance with the procedures identified in this policy and ensuring that all staff members are trained to deal with UCC – including on induction.

Following a UCC and/or stressful interaction with a complainant senior managers are responsible for providing affected staff members with the opportunity to debrief and vent their concerns either formally or informally. Senior managers will also ensure that staff are provided with proper support and assistance including medical and/or police assistance and support through programs such as Employee Assistance Program (EAPS), if necessary.

Depending on the circumstances senior managers may also be responsible for arranging other forms of support for staff which are detailed in Part 12 of this policy.

5.    RESPONDING TO AND MANAGING UCC

5.1   Changing or restricting a complainant’s access to our services

UCC incidents will generally be managed by limiting or adapting the ways that we interact with and/or deliver services to complainants by restricting:

·      Who they have contact with – eg limiting a complainant to a sole contact person/staff member in our organisation.

·      What they can raise with us – eg restricting the subject matter of communications that we will consider and respond to.

·      When they can have contact – eg limiting a complainant’s contact with our organisation to a particular time, day, or length of time, or curbing the frequency of their contact with us.

·      Where they can make contact – eg limiting the locations where we will conduct face-to-face interviews to secured facilities or areas of the office.

·      How they can make contact – eg limiting or modifying the forms of contact that the complainant can have with us. This can include modifying or limiting face-to-face interviews, telephone and written communications, prohibiting access to our premises, contact through a representative only, taking no further action or terminating our services altogether.

When using the restrictions provided in this section we recognise that discretion will need to be used to adapt them to suit a complainant’s personal circumstances, level of competency, literacy skills, etc. In this regard, we also recognise that more than one strategy may need to be used in individual cases to ensure their appropriateness and efficacy.

5.2   Who – limiting the complainant to a sole contact point

Where a complainant tries to forum shop internally within our organisation, changes their issues of complaint repeatedly, reframes their complaint, or raises an excessive number of complaints it may be appropriate to restrict their access to a single staff member (a sole contact point) who will exclusively manage their complaint(s) and interactions with our office. This may ensure they are dealt with consistently and may minimise the chances for misunderstandings, contradictions and manipulation.

To avoid staff ‘burn out’ the sole contact officer’s supervisor will provide them with regular support and guidance – as needed. Also, the Assistant General Manager/General Manager will review the arrangement every six months to ensure that the officer is managing/coping with the arrangement.

Complainants who are restricted to a sole contact person will however be given the contact details of one additional staff member who they can contact if their primary contact is unavailable – eg they go on leave or are otherwise unavailable for an extended period of time.

5.3   What – restricting the subject matter of communications that we will consider

Where complainants repeatedly send written communications, letters, emails, or online forms that raise trivial or insignificant issues, contain inappropriate or abusive content or relate to a complaint/issue that has already been comprehensively considered and/or reviewed (at least once) by our office, we may restrict the issues/subject matter the complainant can raise with us/we will respond to. For example, we may:

·      Refuse to respond to correspondence that raises an issue that has already been dealt with comprehensively, that raises a trivial issue, or is not supported by clear/any evidence. The complainant will be advised that future correspondence of this kind will be read and filed without acknowledgement unless we decide that we need to pursue it further in which case, we may do so on our ‘own motion’.

·      Restrict the complainant to one complaint/issue per month. Any attempts to circumvent this restriction, for example by raising multiple complaints/issues in the one complaint letter may result in modifications or further restrictions being placed on their access.

·    Return correspondence to the complainant and require them to remove any inappropriate content before we will agree to consider its contents. A copy of the inappropriate correspondence will also be made and kept for our records to identify repeat/further UCC incidents.

5.4   When – limiting when and how a complainant can contact us

If a complainant’s telephone, written or face-to-face contact with our organisation places an unreasonable demand on our time or resources because it is overly lengthy (eg disorganised and voluminous correspondence) or affects the health safety and security of our staff because it involves behaviour that is persistently rude, threatening, abusive or aggressive, we may limit when and/or how the complainant can interact with us. This may include:

·      Limiting their telephone calls or face-to-face interviews to a particular time of the day or days of the week.

·      Limiting the length or duration of telephone calls, written correspondence or face-to-face interviews. For example:

-     Telephone calls may be limited to [10] minutes at a time and will be politely terminated at the end of that time period.

-     Lengthy written communications may be restricted to a maximum of [15] typed or written pages, single sided, font size 12 or it will be sent back to the complainant to be organised and summarised – This option is only appropriate in cases where the complainant is capable of summarising the information and refuses to do so.

-     Limiting face-to-face interviews to a maximum of [45] minutes.

·      Limiting the frequency of their telephone calls, written correspondence or face-to-face interviews. Depending on the natures of the service(s) provided we may limit:

-     Telephone calls to [1] every two weeks/ month.

-     Written communications to [1] every two weeks/month.

-     Face-to-face interviews to [1] every two weeks/month.

For irrelevant, overly lengthy, disorganised or frequent written correspondence we may also:

·      Require the complainant to clearly identify how the information or supporting materials they have sent to us relate to the central issues that we have identified in their complaint.

·      Restrict the frequency with which complainants can send emails or other written communications to our office.

·      Restrict a complainant to sending emails to a particular email account (eg the organisation’s main email account) or block their email access altogether and require that any further correspondence be sent through Australia Post only.

Writing only restrictions

When a complainant is restricted to ‘writing only’ they may be restricted to written communications through:

·      Australia Post only

·      Email only to a specific staff email or our general office email account

·      Fax only to a specific fax number

·      Some other relevant form of written contact, where applicable.

If a complainant’s contact is restricted to ‘writing only’, the Assistant General Manager will clearly identify the specific means that the complainant can use to contact our office (eg Australia Post only). Also if it is not suitable for a complainant to enter our premises to hand deliver their written communication, this must be communicated to them as well.

Any communisations that are received by our office in a manner that contravenes a ‘write only’ restriction will either be returned to the complainant or read and filed without acknowledgement.

5.5   Where – limiting face-to-face interviews to secure areas

If a complainant is violent or overtly aggressive, unreasonably disruptive, threatening or demanding or makes frequent unannounced visits to our premises, we may consider restricting our face-to-face contact with them.

These restrictions may include:

·      Restricting access to particular secured premises or areas of the office – such as the reception area or secured room/facility.

·      Restricting their ability to attend our premises to specified times of the day and/or days of the week only – for example, when additional security is available or to times/days that are less busy.

·      Allowing them to attend our office on an ‘appointment only’ basis and only with specified staff. Note – during these meetings staff should always seek support and assistance of a colleague for added safety and security.

·      Banning the complainant from attending our premises altogether and allowing some other form of contact – eg ‘writing only’ or ‘telephone only’ contact.

Contact through a representative only

In cases where we cannot completely restrict our contact with a complainant and their conduct is particularly difficult to manage, we may also restrict their contact to contact through a support person or representative only. The support person may be nominated by the complainant but must be approved by the Assistant General Manager/General Manager.

When assessing a representative/support persons suitability, the Assistant General Manager/General Manager should consider factors like: the nominated representative/support person’s competency and literacy skills, demeanour/behaviour and relationship with the complainant. If the Assistant General Manager/General Manager. determines that the representative/support person may exacerbate the situation with the complainant the complainant will be asked to nominate another person or we may assist them in this regard.

5.6   Completely terminating a complainant’s access to our services

In rare cases, and as a last resort when all other strategies have been considered and/or attempted, the Assistant General Manager and General Managermay decide that it is necessary for our organisation to completely restrict a complainant’s contact/access to our services.

A decision to have no further contact with a complainant will only be made if it appears that the complainant is unlikely to modify their conduct and/or their conduct poses a significant risk for our staff or other parties because it involves one or more of the following types of conduct:

·      Acts of aggression, verbal and/or physical abuse, threats of harm, harassment, intimidation, stalking, assault.

·      Damage to property while on our premises.

·      Threats with a weapon or common office items that can be used to harm another person or themselves.

·      Physically preventing a staff member from moving around freely either within their office or during an off-site visit – eg entrapping them in their home.

·      Conduct that is otherwise unlawful.

In these cases the complainant will be sent a letter notifying them that their access has been restricted as outlined in Part 7.4 below.

A complainant’s access to our services and our premises may also be restricted (directly or indirectly) using the legal mechanisms such as trespass laws/legislation or legal orders to protect members of our staff from personal violence, intimidation or stalking by a complainant. For more information, about the types of circumstances where legal mechanisms may be used to deal with UCC, please see:

·      Unauthorised entry onto agency premises – applying the provisions of the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW)

·      Orders to address violence, threats, intimidation and / or stalking by complainants.

6.    ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

6.1   Using alternative dispute resolution strategies to manage conflicts with complainants

If the Assistant General Manager and General Manager determine that we cannot terminate our services to a complainant in a particular case or that we/our staff bear some responsibility for causing or exacerbating their conduct, they may consider using alternative dispute resolution strategies (‘ADR’) such as mediation and conciliation to resolve the conflict with the complainant and attempt to rebuild our relationship with them. If ADR is considered to be an appropriate option in a particular case, the ADR will be conducted by an independent third party to ensure transparency and impartiality.

However, we recognise that in UCC situations, ADR may not be an appropriate or effective strategy particularly if the complainant is uncooperative or resistant to compromise. Therefore, each case will be assessed on its own facts to determine the appropriateness of this approach.

7.    PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED WHEN CHANGING OR RESTRICTING A COMPLAINANT’S ACCESS TO OUR SERVICES

7.1   Consulting with relevant staff

When the Assistant General Manager/General Manager receives a UCC incident form from a staff member they will contact the staff member to discuss the incident. They will discuss:

·      The circumstances that gave rise to the UCC/incident.

·      The impact of the complainant’s conduct on our organisation, relevant staff, our time, resources, etc.

·      The complainant’s responsiveness to the staff member’s warnings/requests to stop the behaviour.

·      The actions the staff member has taken to manage the complainant’s conduct, if any.

·      The suggestions made by relevant staff on ways that the situation could be managed.

7.2   Criteria to be considered

Following a consultation with relevant staff the Assistant General Manager/General Manager will search the Council’s electronic records management system for information about the complainant’s prior conduct and history with our organisation. They will also consider the following criteria:

·      Whether the conduct in question involved overt anger, aggression, violence or assault (which is unacceptable in all circumstances).

·      Whether the complainant’s case has merit.

·      The likelihood that the complainant will modify their unreasonable conduct if they are given a formal warning about their conduct.

·      Whether changing or restricting access to our services will be effective in managing the complainant’s behaviour.

·      Whether changing or restricting access to our services will affect the complainant’s ability to meet their obligations, such as reporting obligations.

·      Whether changing or restricting access to our services will have an undue impact on the complainant’s welfare, livelihood or dependents etc.

·      Whether the complainant’s personal circumstances have contributed to the behaviour? For example, the complainant is a vulnerable person who is under significant stress as a result of one or more of the following:

-     homelessness

-     physical disability

-     illiteracy or other language or communication barrier

-     mental or other illness

-     personal crises

-     substance or alcohol abuse.

·      Whether the complainant’s response/ conduct in the circumstances was moderately disproportionate, grossly disproportionate or not at all disproportionate.

·      Whether there any statutory provisions that would limit the types of limitations that can be put on the complainant’s contact/access to our services.

Once the Assistant General Manager/General Manager has considered these factors they will decide on the appropriate course of action. They may suggest formal or informal options for dealing with the complainant’s conduct which may include one or more of the strategies provided in the practice manual and this policy.

See Appendix C – Sample checklist for Assistant General Manager/General Manager to consider when deciding to modify or restrict a complainant's access.

7.3   Providing a warning letter

Unless a complainant’s conduct poses a substantial risk to the health and safety of staff or other third parties, the Assistant General Manager/General Manager will provide them with a written warning about their conduct in the first instance.

The warning letter will:

·      Specify the date, time and location of the UCC incident.

·      Explain why the complainant’s conduct/ UCC incident is problematic.

·      List the types of access changes and/or restrictions that may be imposed if the behaviour continues. (Note: not every possible restriction should be listed only those that are most relevant).

·      Provide clear and full reasons for the warning being given

·      Include an attachment of the organisation's ground rules and / or briefly state the standard of behaviour that is expected of the complainant. See Appendix A.

·      Provide the name and contact details of the staff member who they can contact about the letter.

·      Be signed by the Assistant General Manager or General Manager.

See Appendix D – Sample warning letter.

7.4   Providing a notification letter

If a complainant’s conduct continues after they have been given a written warning or in extreme cases of overt aggression, violence, assault or other unlawful/unacceptable conduct the Assistant General Manager/General Manager has the discretion to send a notification letter immediately restricting the complainant’s access to our services (without prior written warning).

This notification letter will:

·      Specify the date, time and location of the UCC incident(s).

·      Explain why the complainant’s conduct/UCC incident(s) is problematic.

·      Identify the change and/or restriction that will be imposed and what it means for the complainant.

·      Provide clear and full reasons for this restriction.

·      Specify the duration of the change or restriction imposed, which will not exceed 12 months.

·      Indicate a time period for review.

·      Provide the name and contact details of the senior officer who they can contact about the letter and/or request a review of the decision.

·      Be signed by the Assistant General Manager or General Manager.

·      See Appendix E – Sample letter notifying complainants of a decision to change or restrict their access to our services.

7.5   Notifying relevant staff about access changes/restrictions

The Assistant General Manager/General Manager will notify relevant staff about any decisions to change or restrict a complainant’s access to our services, in particular reception and security staff in cases where a complainant is prohibited from entering our premises.

The Assistant General Manager/General Manager will also update the Council’s electronic records management system  with a record outlining the nature of the restrictions imposed and their duration.

7.6   Continued monitoring/oversight responsibilities      

Once a complainant has been issued with a warning letter or notification letter Assistant General Manager/General Manager will review the complainant’s record/restriction every 3 months, on request by a staff member, or following any further incidents of UCC that involve the particular complainant to ensure that they are complying with the restrictions/the arrangement is working.

If the Assistant General Manager/General Manager determines that the restrictions have been ineffective in managing the complainant’s conduct or are otherwise inappropriate they may decide to either modify the restrictions, impose further restrictions or terminate the complainant’s access to our services altogether.

8.    APPEALING A DECISION TO CHANGE OR RESTRICT ACCESS TO OUR SERVICES

8.1   Right of appeal

Complainants are entitled to one appeal of a decision to change/restrict their access to our services. This review will be undertaken by a senior staff member who was not involved in the original decision to change or restrict the complainant’s access. This staff member will consider the complainant’s arguments along with all relevant records regarding the complainant’s past conduct. They will advise the complainant of the outcome of their appeal by letter which must be signed off by the General Manager. The staff member will then refer any materials/records relating to the appeal to the Assistant General Manager/General Manager to be kept in the appropriate file.

If a complainant continues to be dissatisfied after the appeal process, they may seek an external review from an oversight agency such as the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman may accept the review (in accordance with its administrative jurisdiction) to ensure that we have acted fairly, reasonably and consistently and have observed the principles of good administrative practice including, procedural fairness.

9.    NON-COMPLIANCE WITH A CHANGE OR RESTRICTION ON ACCESS TO OUR SERVICES

9.1    Recording and reporting incidents of non-compliance

All staff members are responsible for recording and reporting incidents of non-compliance by complainants. This should be recorded in a file note in Council’s electronic records management system and a copy forwarded to the Assistant General Manager/General Manager who will decide whether any action needs to be taken to modify or further restrict the complainant’s access to our services.

10.  PERIODIC REVIEWS OF ALL CASES WHERE THIS POLICY IS APPLIED

10.1 Period for review

All UCC cases where this policy is applied will be reviewed every 3 months or 6 months (depending on the nature of the service provided) and not more than 12 months after the service change or restriction was initially imposed or continued/upheld.

10.2 Notifying the complainant of an upcoming review

The Assistant General Manager/General Manager will invite all complainants to participate in the review process unless they determine that this invitation will provoke a negative response from the complainant (ie further UCC). The invitation will be given and the review will be conducted in accordance with the complainant’s access restrictions (eg if contact has been restricted to writing only then the invitation to participate will be done in writing).

See Appendix F – Sample letter notifying a complainant of an upcoming review.

10.3 Criteria to be considered during a review

When conducting a review the Assistant General Manager/General Manager will consider:

·      Whether the complainant has had any contact with the organisation during the restriction period.

·      The complainant’s conduct during the restriction period.

·      Any information/arguments put forward by the complainant for review.

·      Any other information that may be relevant in the circumstances.

The Assistant General Manager/General Manager may also consult any staff members who have had contact with the complainant during the restriction period.

Note – Sometimes a complainant may not have a reason to contact our office during their restriction period. As a result, a review decision that is based primarily on the fact that the complainant has not contacted our organisation during their restriction period (apparent compliance with our restriction) may not be an accurate representation of their level of compliance/reformed behaviour. This should be taken into consideration, in relevant situations.

See Appendix G – Sample checklist for reviewing an access change/restriction.

10.4 Notifying a complainant of the outcome of a review

The Assistant General Manager/General Manager will notify the complainant of the outcome of their review using the appropriate/relevant method of communication as well as a written letter explaining the outcome, as applicable. The review letter will:

·      Briefly explain the review process.

·      Identify the factors that have been taken into account during the review.

·      Explain the decision/outcome of the review and the reasons for it.

If the outcome of the review is to maintain or modify the restriction the review letter will also:

·      Indicate the nature of the new or continued restriction.

·      State the duration of the new restriction period.

·      Provide the name and contact details of the relevant officer/Assistant General Manager/General Manager who the complainant can contact to discuss the letter.

·      Be signed by the Assistant General Manager or General Manager.

See Appendix H – Sample letter advising the complainant of the outcome of a review.

10.5 Recording the outcome of a review and notifying relevant staff

Like all other decisions made under this policy, the Assistant General Manager/General Manager is responsible for keeping a record of the outcome of the review, updating Council’s electronic records management system and notifying all relevant staff of the outcome of the review including if the restriction has been withdrawn.

See Parts 4.2 and 7.5 above.

11    MANAGING STAFF STRESS

11.1 Staff reactions to stressful situations

Dealing with complainants who are demanding, abusive, aggressive or violent can be extremely stressful and at times distressing or even frightening for all our staff – both experienced and inexperienced. It is perfectly normal to get upset or experience stress when dealing with difficult situations.

As an organisation, we have a responsibility to support staff members who experience stress as a result of situations arising at work and we will do our best to provide staff with debriefing and counselling opportunities, when needed. However, to do this we also need help of all Nambucca Shire Council staff to identify stressful incidents and situations. As a result, all staff have a responsibility to notify relevant supervisors/senior managers of UCC incidents and any stressful incidents that they believe require management involvement.

11.2 Debriefing

Debriefing means talking things through following a difficult or stressful incident. It is an important way of ‘off-loading’ or dealing with stress. Many staff members naturally do this with colleagues after a difficult telephone call, but debriefing can also be done with a supervisor or senior manager or as a team following a significant incident. We encourage all staff to engage in an appropriate level of debriefing, when necessary.

Staff may also access an external professional service on a needs basis. All staff can access the Employee Assistance Program – a free, confidential counselling service. To make an appointment call or for traumatic incident or crisis counselling, call 1300 010 690. Brochures about this service are available from Human Resources.

12   OTHER REMEDIES

12.1 Compensation for injury

Any staff member who suffers injury as a result of aggressive behaviour from complainants is entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim. Human Resources will assist wherever possible in processing claims. If you are the victim of an assault, they may also be able to apply to the Victim’s Compensation Tribunal for compensation.

12.2 Compensation for damage to clothing or personal affects

Where damage is suffered to clothing or personal effects as a result of aggression by a complainant, compensation may be sought.

12.3 Legal assistance

If a staff member is physically attacked, or is a victim of employment generated harassment and the police do not lay charges, the General Manager will consider providing reasonable legal assistance if the staff members wishes to take civil action.

12.4 Threats outside the office or outside working hours

Where threats are directed at a particular staff member and it appears those threats may be carried out outside normal working hours or outside the office, the staff member will receive the support of the office. Requests for such assistance should be made to the Assistant General Manager/General Manager.

12.5 Escorts home

When a staff member fears for their safety following a threat from a complainant, another staff member may accompany them home or the office can meet the cost of the staff member going home in a taxi. Ask the Assistant General Manager/General Manager for more information.

12.6 Telephone threats on home numbers

If a staff member or their family have been harassed by telephone at their home and they believe it is connected with their employment they may apply to have the office meet the cost of having their telephone number changed and/or made silent. The staff member should also contact their telephone carrier, as they may provide an interception/monitoring service.

If assistance is approved, the office will meet the cost incurred for a period up to 12 months. Once approval is given, the staff member is responsible for making the necessary arrangements and will be reimbursed after producing a paid account.

Applications for reimbursement must be approved by the Assistant General Manager/General Manager.

12.7 Other security measures

If other security measures are necessary, the office will give consideration to providing all reasonable support to ensure the safety and welfare of the staff member.

13.  TRAINING AND AWARENESS

Nambucca Shire Council is committed to ensuring that all staff are aware of and know how to use this policy. All staff who deal with complainants in the course of their work will also receive appropriate training and information on using this policy and on managing UCC on a regular basis in particular, on induction.

14.  OMBUDSMAN MAY REQUEST COPIES OF OUR RECORDS

Nambucca Shire Council will keep records of all cases where this policy is applied, including a record of the total number of cases where it is used every year. This data may be requested by the Ombudsman to conduct an overall audit and review in accordance with its administrative functions and/or to inform its work on UCC.

15.  POLICY REVIEW

All staff are responsible for forwarding any suggestions they have in relation to this policy to the Assistant General Manager/General Manager who along with relevant senior managers will review it biennially (every 2 years).

16.  SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS AND POLICIES

16.1 Statement of compliance

This policy is compliant with and supported by the following documents:

·      Nambucca Shire Council Work Health and Safety Policy

·      Nambucca Shire Council Requests and Complaints Policy

·      NSW Ombudsman’s Managing unreasonable complainant conduct practice manual (2nd edition)

·      Unauthorised entry onto agency premises – applying the provisions of the Enclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW)

·    Orders to address violence, threats, intimidation and / or stalking by complainants


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Unreasonable Complainant Conduct - Model Policy

 

Appendix A
Individual Rights and Mutual Responsibilities of the Parties to a Complaint

[Note – The information in appendix may need to be altered to suit your organisation’s individual circumstances, including changing certain terminology. Also, the term ‘rights’ is used to demonstrate a guarantee of the standard of service and behaviour that all parties should meet if a complaints process is to be effective. It is not used to depict a legally enforceable entitlement – although some are.]

In order for Nambucca Shire Council to ensure that all complaints are dealt with fairly, efficiently and effectively and that occupational health and safety standards and duty of care obligations are adhered to, the following rights and responsibilities must be observed and respected by all of the parties to the complaint process.

Individual rights[i]

Complainants have the right:

·      to make a complaint and to express their opinions in ways that are reasonable, lawful and appropriate[ii]

·      to a reasonable explanation of the organisation’s complaints procedure, including details of the confidentiality, secrecy and/or privacy rights or obligations that may apply

·      to a fair and impartial assessment and, where appropriate, investigation of their complaint based on the merits of the case[iii]

·      to a fair hearing[iv]

·      to a timely response

·      to be informed in at least general terms about the actions taken and outcome of their complaint[v]

·      to be given reasons that explain decisions affecting them

·      to at least one right of review of the decision on the complaint[vi]

·      to be treated with courtesy and respect

·      to communicate valid concerns and views without fear of reprisal or other unreasonable response.[vii]

Staff have the right:       

·      to determine whether, and if so how, a complaint will be dealt with

·      to finalise matters on the basis of outcomes they consider to be satisfactory in the circumstances[viii]

·      to expect honesty, cooperation and reasonable assistance from complainants

·      to expect honesty, cooperation and reasonable assistance from organisations and people within jurisdiction who are the subject of a complaint

·      to be treated with courtesy and respect

·      to a safe and healthy working environment[ix]

·      to modify, curtail or decline service (if appropriate) in response to unacceptable behaviour by a complainant.[x]

Subjects of a complaint have the right:                                                                                  

·      to a fair and impartial assessment and, where appropriate,  investigation of the allegations made against them

·      to be treated with courtesy and respect by staff of the Nambucca Shire Council

·      to be informed (at an appropriate time) about the substance of the allegations made against them that are being investigated[xi]

·      to be informed about the substance of any proposed adverse comment or decision

·      to be given a reasonable opportunity to put their case during the course of any investigation and before any final decision is made[xii]

·      to be told the outcome of any investigation into allegations about their conduct, including the reasons for any decision or recommendation that may be detrimental to them

·      to be protected from harassment by disgruntled complainants acting unreasonably.

Mutual responsibilities

Complainants are responsible for:                               

·      treating staff of the Nambucca Shire Council with courtesy and respect

·      clearly identifying to the best of their ability the issues of complaint, or asking for help from the staff of the Nambucca Shire Council to assist them in doing so

·      providing to the best of their ability the Nambucca Shire Council with all the relevant information available to them at the time of making the complaint

·      being honest in all communications with the Nambucca Shire Council

·      informing the Nambucca Shire Council of any other action they have taken in relation to their complaint[xiii]

·      cooperating with the staff who are assigned to assess/ investigate/resolve/determine or otherwise deal with their complaint.

If complainants do not meet their responsibilities, Nambucca Shire Council may consider placing limitations or conditions on their ability to communicate with staff or access certain services.

Nambucca Shire Council has a zero tolerance policy in relation to any harm, abuse or threats directed towards its staff. Any conduct of this kind may result in a refusal to take any further action on a complaint or to have further dealings with the complainant.[xiv] Any such conduct of a criminal nature will be reported to police and in certain cases legal action may also be considered.

Staff are responsible for:     

·      providing reasonable assistance to complainants who need help to make a complaint and, where appropriate, during the complaint process

·      dealing with all complaints, complainants and people or organisations the subject of complaint  professionally, fairly and impartially

·      giving complainants or their advocates a reasonable opportunity to explain their complaint, subject to the circumstances of the case and the conduct of the complainant

·      giving people or organisations the subject of complaint a reasonable opportunity to put their case during the course of any investigation and before any final decision is made[xv]

·      informing people or organisations the subject of investigation, at an appropriate time, about the substance of the allegations made against them[xvi] and the substance of any proposed adverse comment or decision that they may need to answer or address[xvii]

·      keeping complainants informed of the actions taken and the outcome of their complaints[xviii]

·      giving complainants reasons that are clear and appropriate to their circumstances and  adequately explaining the basis of any decisions that affect them

·      treating complainants and any people the subject of complaint with courtesy and respect at all times and in all circumstances

·      taking all reasonable and practical steps to ensure that complainants[xix]  are not subjected to any detrimental action in reprisal for making their complaint[xx]

·      giving adequate warning of the consequences of unacceptable behaviour.

If the [name of organisation] or its staff fail to comply with these responsibilities, complainants may complain to the [name and contact details of relevant person, position or body].

Subjects of a complaint are responsible for:

·      cooperating with the staff of the Nambucca Shire Council who are assigned to handle the complaint, particularly where they are exercising a lawful power in relation to a person or body within their jurisdiction[xxi]

·      providing all relevant information in their possession to the Nambucca Shire Council or its authorised staff when required to do so by a properly authorised direction or notice

·      being honest in all communications with Nambucca Shire Council and its staff

·      treating the staff of the Nambucca Shire Council with courtesy and respect at all times and in all circumstances

·      refraining from taking any detrimental action against the complainant[xxii] in reprisal for them making the complaint.[xxiii]

If subjects of a complaint fail to comply with these responsibilities, action may be taken under relevant laws and/or codes of conduct.

Nambucca Shire Council is responsible for:

·      having an appropriate and effective complaint handling system in place for receiving, assessing, handling, recording and reviewing complaints

·      decisions about how all complaints will be dealt with

·      ensuring that all complaints are dealt with professionally, fairly and impartially[xxiv]

·      ensuring that staff treat all parties to a complaint with courtesy and respect

·      ensuring that the assessment and any inquiry into the investigation of a complaint is based on sound reasoning and logically probative information and evidence

·      finalising complaints on the basis of outcomes that the organisation, or its responsible staff, consider to be satisfactory in the circumstances[xxv]

·      implementing reasonable and appropriate policies/procedures/practices to ensure that complainants[xxvi] are not subjected to any detrimental action in reprisal for making a complaint[xxvii], including maintaining separate complaint files and other operational files relating to the issues raised by individuals who make complaints

·      giving adequate consideration to any confidentiality, secrecy and/or privacy obligations or responsibilities  that may arise in the handling of complaints and the conduct of investigations.

If the Nambucca Shire Council fails to comply with these responsibilities, complainants may complain to the [name and contact details of the relevant person, position or body].

ENDNOTES


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Unreasonable Complainant Conduct - Model Policy

 

Appendix B
Sample UCC incident form

This form should only be completed if you encounter unreasonable complainant conduct and consider that steps may need to be taken to change or restrict a complainant’s access to services provide by our organisation.

You must complete this form and send it electronically or by hand to the Assistant General Manager or General Manager within 24 hours of a UCC incident. They will decide on the necessary and appropriate course of action for responding to and managing the complainant’s conduct.

Date: __________________________   Case officer’s name:________________________________

Name of complainant: ___________________         Complainant’s case file number:________________

Details of the complainant’s conduct/incident including whether emergency services were contacted:

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Why do you consider this conduct to be unreasonable?

For example – has it occurred before/repeatedly, caused significant disruptions to our organisation, has or could raise significant health and safety issues for our staff or other persons.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What action, if any, have you taken to deal with/manage the complainant’s conduct?

For example – warning the complainant ‘verbally’ about their conduct, other/previous attempts to manage the behaviour etc.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

What do you think should be done to effectively manage the complainant’s conduct?

Note – the final decision on the appropriate course of action will be made by the Assistant General Manager or General Manager __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Is there any other information that might be relevant to this case? If necessary, attach any supporting documentation.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix C
Sample checklist for the nominated senior manager to consider when deciding to modify or restrict a complainant’s access

˙     I have received a signed and completed incident form from the case officer(s) involved (attach copy).

˙     I have spoken with relevant case officer(s) to obtain further information, as needed.

˙     I have reviewed the complainant’s record and all the relevant information in it.

˙     I have referred to and considered Part 7.2 Criteria to be considered which includes an assessment of the following:

˙     The merits of the complainants case ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙     The complainant’s circumstances ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙     Jurisdictional issues

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙     Proportionality

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙     Organisational or case officer responsibility

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙     Responsiveness, including previous conduct

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙     Case officer’s personal boundaries

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙     Conduct that is unreasonable in all circumstances (assault, threats of harm etc.)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

˙     Along with the case officer concerned and [any other nominated senior officers], I have considered all reasonable options for managing the complainant’s conduct, including those that do not involve restricting their access to our services.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

˙     The complainant has been warned about their conduct in writing, and the letter has been signed by the General Manager if applicable.

˙     The complainant has been advised in writing of our decision to restrict their access to our organisation, and the letter has been signed by the General Manager if applicable.

˙     I have made a record of my assessment and decision about the complainant’s conduct and all relevant staff members have been notified of my decision.

˙     An electronic alert has been created in Council’s electronic records management system that notifies any staff dealing with this complainant of the nature of the conduct that caused us to be concerned, the nature of the restriction that has been placed on their access, its duration, how they are to deal with the complainant (including who they should direct any communications from the complainant to).

Date: _______________________                 Signature: _______________________________

 


Appendix D
Sample warning letter

[To be signed by the General Manager or Assistant General Manager]

 

 

Our reference:        [reference]                

Contact:           [case officer]

Telephone:                  [number]

[Date]

[Name of complainant]

[Address of complainant]

Dear [name of complainant]

Your contact with [name of organisation]

You recently had [state the form of contact – e.g. telephone, written or face-to-face] with staff at my office on [date]. [During/In that telephone call/appointment/letter,] I understand that you [explain the nature of the conduct that has caused the organisation to be concerned].

We consider this type of behaviour to be inappropriate and it must stop. If you continue to behave in this way or in any other way that my staff consider to be unreasonable, we will impose restrictions on your contact with our office. This may involve restricting your contact to [apply the relevant option(s)]:

·      ‘Writing only’ – this means that we will only accept communications from you in writing, delivered by Australia Post [if online or other written communications are preferred then explain].

·      ‘Telephone contact only’ – this means that you will only be able to contact us by telephone on a specified time and day of the week.

·      ‘Face-to-face contact only’ – this means that your contact will be limited to scheduled face-to-face meetings with a specified member of our staff.

Or any other restriction that we consider to be appropriate in the circumstances.

I have attached a copy of a document called [Individual rights and mutual responsibilities of the parties to a complaint] for your reference. We expect everyone who complains to this office to act in the ways described in this document.

If you have any questions about this letter, contact [provide name and phone number of the nominated senior manager].

Yours sincerely,

[Assistant General Manager / General Manager]


 

Appendix E
Sample letter notifying a complainant of a decision to change or restrict their access to our services

[To be signed by the General Manager or Assistant General Manager]

Our reference:        [reference]                   

Contact:           [case officer]

Telephone:`    [number]

[Date]

[Name of complainant]

[Address of complainant]

Dear [name of complainant]

Decision to restrict your contact with [name of organisation]

It has come to my attention that you [describe the nature of the unreasonable conduct and its impact – e.g. if the complainant has been sending emails to several members of my staff on a daily basis…]

I understand that my staff have previously told you that we consider this conduct to be unreasonable and unwarranted.

I also wrote to you on [date] and asked you to stop this behaviour. In that letter I advised you that if your behaviour continued, we would restrict your contact with my organisation. At the time I also attached a copy of our [Individual rights and mutual responsibilities of the parties to a complaint] which outlines your responsibilities as a complainant.

Because your behaviour has continued, I now consider it necessary to impose certain restrictions on your future contact with my organisation. I therefore give you notice that from [date], and with the exception(s) detailed below, my organisation will only accept communication from you [identify permissible form of contact, if any].

What this means

This means that you are only to contact our organisation using [describe the restriction in further details]. Any communications that do not comply with this restriction will be [describe what will happen – e.g. phone calls will be terminated immediately or emails/written communications will be read and filed without acknowledgment, emails will be blocked or deleted, no interviews will be granted, etc].

[Note: the complainant should be clearly informed how they can contact the organisation and how the organisation will contact them].

Your existing complaint (if applicable)

This organisation currently has one file open in your name. This relates to [state the subject of complaint and describe complaint]. This file is being handled by [name of officer and position title]. While you are able to contact [name of officer] [state nature of contact – e.g. by email] about this specific matter, all other contact with my organisation, including any future complaints, must be [state restriction – e.g. in writing through Australia Post] [provide contact details – e.g. address of organisation where post can be sent].

Review of this decision

My decision to restrict your contact with this organisation is effective immediately and will last for [ 3 months/6 months/12 months]. At that time we will review your restriction and decide if it should be maintained, amended or withdrawn.

I take these steps with the greatest reluctance, but [state reason for restriction – e.g. the equity and safety of other complainants and my staff], leaves me no alternative.

If you have any questions about this letter, you can contact [provide name and phone number of the nominated senior manager].

Yours sincerely [Assistant General Manager / General Manager]

Appendix F
Sample letter notifying a complainant of an upcoming review

[To be signed by the General Manager or Assistant General Manager]

Our reference: [reference]

Contact:     [case officer]

Telephone:            [number]  

[Date]

[Name of complainant]

[Address of complainant]

Dear [name of complainant]

Upcoming review of the decision to restrict your contact with [name of organisation]

It has now been [3 months/6 months/12 months] since restrictions were [imposed/upheld] on your contact with our office. As advised in our letter dated [date], we are now reviewing our decision to ascertain whether the restrictions should be maintained, amended or withdrawn.

We consider it important to give you an opportunity to participate in the review process, so we are therefore inviting you to [apply the relevant option(s)]:

·      make submissions in writing through Australia Post [include contact person’s name and address]

·      schedule a face-to-face interview with [include name of staff member and provide instructions on how they should go about scheduling the appointment – e.g. calling though the reception line on xxx-xxx-xxxx]

·      schedule a telephone interview with [include name of staff member and provide instructions on how they should go about scheduling the appointment – e.g. calling though the reception line on xxx-xxx-xxxx]

In your letter, you should include information that would be relevant to our review. This includes information about [.....]/During the interview which will not last more than 30 minutes, we will discuss whether:

·      you have complied with the current contact restrictions

·      the current contact restrictions should be removed

·      the current contact restrictions should be amended to better suit your personal circumstances

·      the current contact restrictions should be maintained

·      any other information that is relevant to our decision.

We must receive your letter by [time and date]/you should confirm your interview with [name of case officer] by [time and date]. If we do not receive it/hear from you by this date, we will assume that you do not wish to participate in this review and will undertake the review based on the information that we have available to us.

Once the review is completed, we will contact you again by letter notifying you of our decision.

If you have any questions about this letter, you can contact [provide name and phone number of the nominated senior manager].

 

Yours sincerely,

[Assistant General Manager / General Manager]

Appendix G
Sample checklist for reviewing a decision regarding an access change/restriction

˙       The complainant has been sent a letter notifying them of the review.

˙       The complainant will/will not participate in the review.

˙    the complainant has/has not scheduled a face-to-face interview

˙    the complainant has/has not made written submissions

˙    the complainant has/has not scheduled a telephone interview

˙       I have reviewed all the information in the [case management system] from the last 12 months [or relevant period of the restriction] about the complainant’s:

˙    contact with the office (explain form of contact)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙    conduct during that contact (explain if conduct reasonable or unreasonable)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙       I have spoken with the case officers who have had contact with the complainant during the last 12 months about the complainant’s conduct during that period.

˙       I have considered the arguments/statements made by the complainant, including the impact of the restrictions on them (explain complainant’s position, including if their circumstances have changed etc.) Note: if the complainant is arguing that their circumstances have changed, they should be required to submit evidence to support this claim.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙       I have considered whether there are other more reasonable/suitable options  for managing the complainant’s conduct, including those that do not involve restricting their access to our services (list all that apply).

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙       I consider that the restriction should be (explain):

˙    maintained –e.g. because the conduct has continued or is likely to continue, is disproportionate etc.

˙    removed – e.g. because the complainant has complied with the restrictions etc.

˙    amended – e.g. because the complainant’s circumstances have changed and the current restriction is no longer appropriate.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

˙       I have discussed my decision with [other nominated senior officers]

˙       The complainant has been advised in writing of my decision to maintain/remove/ amend the restriction and this letter has been signed by the (CEO).

˙       The [case management system] has been updated to reflect my decision.

Date: _______________________                           Signature:______________________


Appendix H
Sample letter advising the complainant of the outcome of a review

[To be signed by the Assistant General Manager / General Manager]

Our reference:        [reference]                                                  

Contact:     [case officer]

Telephone:      [number]

[Date]

[Name of complainant]

[Address of complainant]

Dear [name of complainant]

Review of your contact with [name of organisation]

I am writing about a review that was undertaken by my organisation on [date] concerning your contact with this office. I understand that you [participated/did not participate] in that review.

Process of review

During the review you were given an opportunity to [explain in general terms how the review what undertaken].

Considerations

After your [interview/reading your submissions], we considered the concerns and suggestions raised in your [interview/letter, etc.], particularly your concerns about [include information that would be relevant – e.g. the complainant said there circumstances had changed]. We also reviewed our records of your conduct and contact with our office over the last 12 months. Our records showed that [provide summary of relevant information – e.g. Our records show that you have continued to send emails to our office, sometimes up to four times a day, throughout the period of your restriction].

[apply if relevant]: These communications were in direct violation of your restriction which limited your contact with our office to [state nature restriction] [explain what the purpose of the restriction was, if appropriate, and the impact of their conduct].

[apply if relevant]: Our records show that you have complied with the restrictions that were imposed on your contact with our organisation.

Decision

[apply if relevant]: Due to [explain reasoning for the decision – e.g. the number of emails that you have sent to our organisation in the last 12 months and ....] I consider it necessary to maintain the restrictions on your contact with our office for a further 12 months, effective immediately.

[apply if relevant]: Due to [explain reasoning for the decision I consider it necessary to amend the restrictions on your access to better suit your personal circumstances [explain, including providing clear instructions on how the complainant is to contact us and how we will contact them]. The new restrictions will be effective immediately and will last for 12 months. If your circumstances change again during this period, you may [explain how the complainant can notify of the change].

[apply if relevant]: Due to [explain reasoning for the decision] I consider it appropriate to remove the restrictions that have been placed on your access with our organisation, effective immediately. You may contact our organisation using any of our normal servicing options.

If you have any questions about this letter, you can contact [provide name and phone number of the nominated senior manager].

Yours sincerely

[Assistant General Manager / General Manager]


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.10    SF1947            111214         Outstanding DA's greater than 12 months, applications where submissions received not determined from 20 November to 3 December 2014

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Lisa Hall, Technical Officer Planning         

 

Summary:

 

In accordance with Council resolution from 15 May 2008 meeting, the development applications listed below are in excess of 12 months old (Table 1).

 

Table 2 is development applications which have been received but not yet determined due to submissions received. In accordance with Minute 848/08 from Council meeting of 18 December 2008, should any Councillor wish to “call in” an application a Notice of Motion is required specifying the reasons why it is to be “called in”.

 

If an application is not called in and staff consider the matters raised by the submissions have been adequately addressed then the application will be processed under delegated authority. Where refusal is recommended the application may be reported to Council for determination.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the applications where submissions have been received be noted and received for information by Council.

 

TABLE 1: UNRESOLVED DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONS IN EXCESS OF 12 MONTHS OLD

 

Please note that there are no unresolved Development Applications in Excess of 12 months old.

 

TABLE 2: DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONS WHERE SUBMISSIONS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED AND ARE NOT YET DETERMINED

 

DA NO

DATE OF RECEIPT

PROPOSAL

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION

2014/158

24/09/2014

Recreation Facility (Outdoor): Shooting Range

Lot 262 DP 755549, 132 Morans Road, Missabotti

SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED/STAFF COMMENTS

66 public submissions have been received (3 late submissions) – 36 oppose the proposal and 30 support it.

 

Opposing submissions

·    Extra traffic would be generated leading to increased dust levels and danger to wildlife. Some of the roads impacted are already in dire need of repair

·    Large area of the forest would need to be cleared, impacting on animal habitat

·    Noise from firearms – area is a natural amphitheatre – end of tranquillity for residents and fauna

·    Potential pollution to waterways and land due to lead contamination

·    Would like whole area declared as a wildlife reserve and speed limit reduced on road.

·    All of Missabotti should be notified

·    Influx of armed strangers to the area a concern – Council should not be supporting the proliferation of guns

·    Negative effect on real estate values

·    Area is not “free from fauna”

·    Property owner is not a local resident

·    Too many people will be using the shooting range

·    Road should be rectified before development is approved – two bad bends and inadequate road surface

·    Stock in the area will be disturbed

·    Will make properties more difficult to sell

·    Area is rural-residential therefore development is inappropriate

·    Once established it may be expanded.

·    Will result in a loss of amenity

·    Independent EIS and sound tests required

·    Council is morally obliged to stand by their Mission Statement “to value and protect the natural environment”

·    Hours of operation – 7am to 8pm for seven days a week – are too long

·    If approved, Section 94 contributions should be levied to cover works created by the increase in traffic

·    The site appears to represent a significant bushfire risk – fire management plan and adequate fire fighting resources should be mandatory

·    Chemical toilets are inadequate – more information required about where the disposal facility will be

·    Spent and unexploded ammunition may lead to land contamination issues

·    Site clearing – preventative measures re erosion are not detailed.

·    Noise measurements were only undertaken for a 30 minute period – more testing required in differing weather conditions

·    Operational issues – will guns/ammunition be stored on site or transported along the road? Will there be alcohol at the proposed BBQs? If guns, etc stored on site – what security measures will there be?

·    If the site is closed, sufficient funds should be set aside at approval stage to ensure the site is remediated.

·    No economic or employment benefit to the Shire

·    Why wasn’t a local company used to do the noise assessment

·    Noise assessment should have tested 30 guns fired at the same time as 30 bays are proposed.

·    DA form not correctly filled in – should not have been accepted by Council

·    How will lead from the site be safely removed and disposed of?

·    Public has been inadequately notified

·    This proposal should only be presented to a Council meeting at which all Councillors are present.

·    Accessing the site will involve crossing a former airstrip – concerns re past pollution

·    Will be a particular health risk to one person as noise induced stress will adversely impact his health.

·    Out of character for the area

·    Proposed hours of operation will mean no respite for locals

·    Proposed hours may mean more traffic on poor quality roads in the dark

·    Fire-fighting measures are not adequately addressed in the application.

·    How will theft of firearms/ammunition be prevented?

·    The area should be securely fenced with warning signs so no-one inadvertently wanders into a potentially dangerous area

·    The Shire doesn’t need another range/club as there is one at Scotts Head with potential for expansion.

·    Concerns about using the range during high bushfire danger.

·    Numbers of members and visitors needs to be monitored – how will this happen?

·    The site is a known breeding area for Black Cockatoos

·    If social activities are held at the site, the mixing of alcohol and firearms could be very dangerous

·    The DA should apply to the 3 Valleys Club as well and their membership numbers should be included.

·    Estimated number of people using the range are unstated.

·    Council needs to find out and consider

·    Morans Road is often cut off in a flood event – may also be unsafe if there is a bushfire

·    Given the club will attract people with disabilities, are they included in any evacuation plan?

·    Morans Road/Missabotti Road intersection is very dangerous at the moment, let alone with extra traffic

·    Firearms Registry Approval should be submitted

·    How are club members safeguarded against lead particles in the air?

·    Concerns that a chemical toilet cannot be emptied into a septic tank as the chemicals shouldn’t go into it

·    Will the system the chemical toilet is being emptied into be reassessed by Council?

·    Should Office of Environment and Heritage be notified re potential threat to waterways

·    Noise assessment should be done in differing wind conditions and include continuous shooting

·    No mobile phone reception in this part of Missabotti – how will emergency situations be dealt with?

·    Will additional signage be put on Missabotti Road?

·    There should be a trained safety and first aid officer on site

·    A hazard and risk report should be prepared

·    Will a contamination report be done on the vacated property at Gumma?

·    Closest medical facilities are 30 minutes away

·    A community meeting should be held in Missabotti Hall

·    No facilities shown for hand washing but food will be served

·    Facility does not meet the RU2 zoning objectives

·    SEPP 33 Hazardous and Offensive Development should be applied to the DA

·    Children walk along and ride their bikes on the road

·    One objector says he has had past issues with one of the Clubs

·    Council does not have the staff to enforce the required conditions for this type of development

·    It should take place in an enclosed facility in the industrial estate where the noise will have less of an impact

·    A few shooters will benefit to the detriment of a peaceful community

·    Construction materials will make the noise issues worse

·    If contamination from the range ends up in the river it will affect those whose livelihoods are dependent on it.

·    Does not comply with requisite legislation

·    There is no stormwater management plan

·    Does not comply with the objectives of the NLEP2010

·    The presence of shooters will make it dangerous for people who ride horses in the vicinity of the range.

·    Sound of gunfire will lead to stress for residents.

·    No economic benefit for people living in Missabotti.

 

Supporting submissions

·       Will make the area a major attraction for those who participate in this national sport

·       Encourage others to join the sport

·       Support juniors by giving them safe training

·       Keeps local shooters in the Valley

·       Supports the Valley economically, provides for tourism and hospitality opportunities

·       Bring competitions to the Valley

·       Support and encourage a sustainable, legitimate, family sport

·       Will help the club to grow their membership

·       Reputable organisation that adheres to strict safety rules

·       No complaints from their activities in Gumma

·       Logging permit on proposed site already addresses flora and fauna issues

·       Only lantana at the site

·       Noise will be muffled by surrounding bushland

·       Proposal meets all requirements so it should be approved.

·       The use of firearms is strictly controlled at these facilities

·       A well-planned alternative to Gumma

·       The remote positioning won’t impact their cattle property

·       Club has wide community support

·       The pistol range at Gumma has been well run and hasn’t caused any noise issues or traffic problems

 

 

DA NO

DATE OF RECEIPT

PROPOSAL

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION

2014/191

17/11/14

Dwelling-House

Lot 6 DP 804873, 74 Valla Beach Road, Valla Beach

SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED/STAFF COMMENTS

One public submission has been received – it opposes the proposal

 

·        Stormwater and sewer drains are already inadequate and leak – would like drains upgraded to ensure they can cope with the increase in volume and usage

 

 

DA NO

DATE OF RECEIPT

PROPOSAL

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION

2013/125/2

31/10/14

Modification – increase number of khana-cross events from six to twelve per year

Lot 1 DP 1144918, Unkya Reserve, Eungai Creek Road, Eungai Creek

SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED/STAFF COMMENTS

Two public submissions have been received – both oppose the proposal

 

·        Dust from the events blows over a neighbour’s house when the wind blows that way. The dust collects on the roof which is where her drinking water comes from.

·        Noise is also unbearable.

·        Even though cars only race one at a time, the noise and dust are unbearable

·        Original DA approved 20 years ago – standards used are now outdated – should be assessed by today’s standards with regard to safety and environmental impact

·        Dust creates safety issues for southbound traffic on the highway

·        Noise should be monitored on a windy day

·        Entire Eungai Creek community should be consulted with

DA NO

DATE OF RECEIPT

PROPOSAL

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION

2009/039/01

11/11/14

Modification – Demolish existing building and earthworks

24 Bellevue Drive, North Macksville (Old Midco Building)

SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED/STAFF COMMENTS

One public submission has been received – it opposes part of the proposal

 

·        Concerns raised about detention ponds, level of earthworks and stormwater flows.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.  


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.11    SF1148            111214         Council Ranger's Report November 2014

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Teresa Boorer, Business Services Officer         

 

Summary:

 

The following is the Council Ranger 2’s Report regarding Council’s Companion Animal Activities and listing of penalty notices issued by both Council’s Rangers for November 2014.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Council’s Rangers report for November 2014 be received and noted by Council.

 

 

 

Cats

Dogs

COUNCIL’S SEIZURE ACTIVITY

 

 

Seized (doesn’t include those animals dumped or surrendered)

         0

3

Returned to Owner

0

1

Transferred to - Council's Facility from Seizure Activities

0

2

ANIMALS IN AND ARRIVING AT COUNCIL'S FACILITY

 

 

Animals In Council's Facility - (Start of Month)

0

5

Abandoned or Stray

1

0

Surrendered

0

4

Animals transferred from Seizure Activities

0

2

Total Incoming Animals

1

11

ANIMALS LEAVING COUNCIL'S FACILITY

 

 

Released to Owners

0

0

Sold

0

1

Released to Organisations for Rehoming

0

0

Died at Council's Facility(other than euthanased)

0

0

Stolen from Council's Facility

0

0

Escaped from Council's Facility

0

0

Other

0

0

EUTHANASED

 

 

Restricted Dogs

 

0

Dangerous Dogs

 

0

Owner’s Request

0

5

Due to Illness, Disease or Injury

0

0

Feral/infant animal

0

0

Unsuitable for rehoming

0

3

Unable to be rehomed

0

0

Total Euthanased

0

8

Total Outgoing Animals

0

9

TOTAL IN COUNCIL'S FACILITY - (END OF MONTH)

1

2

 

 

Nov-14

PARKING

REGO NO.

PN NUMBER

INFRINGEMENT DETAILS

PENALTY $

DATE ISSUED

BQ 48 QK

3106925636

#9246 - Not park rear to kerb

104.00

03.11.14

BA 09 LN

3106925645

#9246 - not park rear to kerb

104.00

04.11.14

AG 44 PM

3106925654

#9246 - not park rear to kerb

104.00

04.11.14

CHZ 18S

3106925663

#9246 - not park rear to kerb

104.00

13.11.14

BIC21Y

3106925672

#9246 - not park rear to kerb

104.00

13.11.14

BA 95 KG

3106925681

#9246 - not park rear to kerb

104.00

14.11.14

SW 2852

3106925690

#9246 - not park rear to kerb

104.00

14.11.14

QFO 195

3106925700

#9246 - not park rear to kerb

104.00

14.11.14

BD 94 BC

3106925719

#8475 - stop in loading zone

173.00

25.11.14

XBF 347

3106925728

#9246 - not park rear to kerb

104.00

25.11.14

 

 

TOTAL VALUE OF PENALTIES:

1109.00

 

 

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.  


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.12    SF1947            111214         2014 December - Construction And Complying Development Certificates Approved November 2014

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Lorraine Hemsworth, Executive Assistant         

 

Summary:

 

The attached report, produced from Council’s computer system, Authority, is for the information of Councillors with regard to approved Construction and Complying Development Certificates for the month of November 2014 as at 4 December 2014.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Construction and Complying Development Certificates approved for November 2014 be noted and received for information by Council.

 

 

Attachments:

1

36223/2014 - Complying Developments and Construction Certificates Approved - November 2014

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

2014 December - Construction And Complying Development Certificates Approved November 2014

 






Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.13    SF1947            111214         2014 December - Development and Complying Development Applications Received

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Lorraine Hemsworth, Executive Assistant         

 

Summary:

 

Council at its meeting 16 January 2014 resolved:

 

“That Council endorse the method of reporting Construction and Complying Development Certificates as presented to the 16 January 2014 meeting and further that the General Manager investigate the possibility of reporting Development Applications lodged in previous month.”

 

Attached is a list of Development Applications and Complying Development Applications received in October 2014 as at 4 December 2014.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Development Applications and Complying Development Applications received in November 2014 be received for information.

 

 

Attachments:

1

36229/2014 - Development Applications and Complying Developments Recieved - November 2014

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

2014 December - Development and Complying Development Applications Received

 


 


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

Assistant General Manager Corporate Services Report

ITEM 10.1    SF2025            111214         Fit for the Future Report 3 - Improvement Proposal

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Scott Norman, Assistant General Manager Corporate Services         

 

Summary:

 

This report provides initial analysis of the Fit for the Future (FFTF) sustainability indicators and an approach to developing an Improvement Plan based the FFTF Template 2.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Council receives this report and notes the information it contains.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

This report principally provides analysis and options, as FFTF and Council’s responses are an evolving processes.  There are many options and possibilities not explored by this report but remain open to Council.  It should be noted that this report does not consider the impact of membership of a Joint Organisation (JO), as the possibilities seem many and the impact unknowable.  The impact of the proposed North Coast JO as described in the submission to participate in the Pilot Program would seem to be initially very small although as proposed it would appear to be a financial cost not a saving.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Council has resolved that  “Nambucca Shire does have the scale and capacity broadly consistent with the recommendation of the Independent Local Government Review Panel and will prepare Council’s Fit for the Future submission on the basis of the existing Shire boundaries and membership of the proposed North Coast Joint Organisation of Councils.

 

This dictates that Council will prepare an Improvement Plan based on FFTF template 2.  A copy of the template and the guide to the template can be found at http://www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au/content/just-released-–-council-self-assessment-tool-templates-and-guidance.  The proposal will be submitted via a web portal and is due 30 June 2015.  The template is divided into five sections as described below.

This report deals with the first part of section 2.3 Performance against Fit for the Future Benchmarks. The following is an extract from the Guide to Template 2

 

This report focuses on further analysis of the three sustainablity ratios that are used to measure performance against benchmarks.  Analysis of the four remaining ratios will be the subject of a future report.

 

 

Below is an extract from the template.  Calulations are for General Fund only and excludes water and sewerage.

 

 

These are the financial sustainaibility ratios used by the FFTF process.  The results are based on past performance and the Intergrated Planning and Reporting  (IPR) Documents.  The forecasts are principally derived from the Long Term Finanical Plan for General Fund.

 

Operating Performance Ratio

 

Operating Performance Ratio is calculated as operating income (excluding capitial income) / operating expense.  Benchmark is break-even or positive, over an average of three years.  It is a simple ratio comparing revenue against expenditure.

 

 

 

 

 

Operating Performance Ratio

Bench Mark

2013/14 performance

Achieves FFTF Benchmark

Forecast 2016/17 performance

Achieves FFTF Benchmark

Operating Performance Ratio Actual

-22.3%

No

-15.5%

No

Operating Performance 3yr average

-17.8%

No – looking for at least break even

-9.9%

No – looking for at least break even

 


 

The projected 3 year moving average for operating performance ratio shows a steadily improving postion which plateaus to base line in 2022 of around

-6%.  While this does not achieve bench mark it is a sustained improvement.  Unfortunately the robustness of the predictions do not withstand critcal scrutinary.

 

 

 

 

The trend line for the last 3 years shows a deterioration of the operating position.  The gap between operational income and expenses in 2014 was $4.7M, it is difficult to understand why there would be a sudden turnaround in performance with marginal change to operations.

 

The LTFP will be reviewed as part of the budget process and the forecasts will be rigorously reviewed.

 

Operating Performance analysis based on the current LTFP is attached. The following commentary relates:

 

Ř The LTFP is prepared in current dollars with no indexation for inflation.

Ř Improved performance is generated from rising income, costs are almost static.

Ř The increase in income is attributed to the growth in the rate base, with an increasing number of assessments. Historically this has not been significantly enough to make an appreciable difference.

Ř Wages are static, however even if the size of workforce remain constant, typically some wages expense is attributed to construction of infrastructure assets and are not recorded as operational expenses.  The breakdown of these future costs is beyond the current systems.

 

These observations will be considered when reviewing the LTFP commencing 2015.  An indexed LTFP will be prepared as part of the improvement proposal.  A more detailed breakdown of operating performance ratio past and predicted is attached.

 

How to improve the Operating Performance Ratio. – This is not an exhaustive list just a place to begin.

 

                                                                                 More operating income

Improvement from accounting and business rules.- any improvements can be  realised as a part of an internal review process

 

Review policies on the recognition of grants -classify grants as operating as opposed capital

Recalculate ratio adjusting for the timing difference in fags

 

Improvements in the economic in the financial environment – these are factors that Council has no or limited control over.

Growth in rates assessments

Increased FAGS or other operational grants

Increased interest received income – Increased in interests rates

Changed timing of grants - prepayment of fags             

Increased Income from the operations of Council – These are factors within the operational control of Council.

 

Growth in fees and charges (many are controlled by State Regulation)

Grant funding for auspicing positions (normally offset by additional costs)

Special rate variations

Contract (private) works.

 

 

 

Less operating costs

Improvement from accounting and business rule - any improvements can be  realised as a part of an internal review process

 

Decreased depreciation expenses –   Longer lives

                                                                            Increased residuals

                                                                            Changed consumption patterns

                                                                            Reduced current replacement costs

 

Improvements in the economic in the financial environment – these are factors that Council has no or limited control over.

 

Decreased Interest Expense – Lower borrowing rates

 

Decreased costs associated with the operations of Council – these are factors within the operational control of Council.

 

Day labour and plant used on capital works instead of operational works

Do less- provided less services - incur less costs

Less permanent work force - employ contractors as needed - (this may or may not be cheaper)

Do things more efficiently – review how services are delivered

Use joint service agreements with neighbouring Councils

More efficient use of information technology

Reduce overheads, get a greater spend directly on service delivery    

 

 

 

Own Source Revenue

 

This ratio is based on how much of Council’s revenues come from sources it controls, typically rates, fees and charges and contract works.  The higher the ratio the greater control Council has over it’s own destiny and less dependent it is upon grant funding.   Nambucca has very recently achieved the benchmark of 60% and projections derived from the LTFP indicate future results will be better than the benchmark. 

 

It should be noted that large grants in anyone year will have an adverse effect on the ratio.  These ratios are prepared for General Fund, the same ratio for the consolidated position including water and sewerage would not achieve benchmark because of the recent grant funding for the Bowraville Off Stream Storage.  Council’s long history of special rate variations has assisted this ratio.  The 3 year averaging does dampen the effect of large grants in one particular year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Own Source Revenue Ratio

Bench Mark

2013/14 performance

Achieves FFTF Benchmark

Forecast 2016/17 performance

Achieves FFTF Benchmark

 Actual

68%

Yes

71.8%

Yes

3yr average

60.9%

Yes

66.1%

Yes

 

 

 

 

 

                

 

The above gragh is based on past performance and the LTFP.  Own source revenue can be more reliably predicted than costs, however the underlying assumptions shall be reviewed as part of the IP&R process.  One off grant income is difficult to predict and the further out the prediction, the harder it becomes.  This is reflected in the flattening of the line that depicts own source revenue ratio in later  years.

 

A more detailed breakdown of past and predicted own source revenue is attached. The predicted ratios will be recaluated based on the indexed LTFP that will be prepared for the FFTF Improvement Proposal.  Senativity anlysis will carried out based on variation of the key assumptions, being future rate rises and growth in assessments.

 

Infrastructure Renewal Ratio

 

Infrastructure renewal ratio compares the amount of money Council invests in renewing existing infrastructure to the depreciation expense that recognises the decline in service potential of those assets.  Bench mark is 100% over three years, that is every $1 depreciation is matched with a $1 spent on renewing the infrastructure. The three averaging is aimed at smoothing out spending patterns that can be “lumpy” due to long life assets.  Nambucca currently doesn’t meet the benchmark and forward projections indicate the best case senario and shows Council reaching benchmark briefly (but not as an average over 3 years) with the help of the planned borrowing program.

                              

Infrastructure Renewal Ratio

Bench Mark

2013/14 performance

Achieves FFTF Benchmark

Forecast 2016/17 best case performance

Achieves FFTF Benchmark

Actual

63.7%

No

98%

No

3yr average

70.3%

No – looking for 100%

95%

No

 

 

Forcasts of future results are dirived from the LTFP and based on the maxium amount of capitial funding available, this means they are best case senarios as this funding could be applied to new capitial works or indeed operations or place in reserves for future works.  The compuation of available funds is included as an attachment.  It should be noted that negative operating ratios are having a significant impact on available funds.

 

Future requirements and budgets can also be taken from Asset Management Plans, unfortunately Council’s current Asset Management Plans do not have the required level of maturity to accuraratley provide this information, nor have they been effectively intergrated into the IP&R documents.  It is hoped this situation can be addressed for at least transport assets (roads, bridges, drainage and footpaths) in time to be included in Council’s Improvement Proposal.  The revaluation of those assets in the current year is part of this process.

 

The renewal graph from the Sealed Road  Asset Management Plan is included below.  At this stage it is  for illustration purposes only and the plan needs to be developed so expentiture meets budget.

 

 

 

Results from the self asessment tool are below

 

 

 

 

The past results and projected best case results including the borrowing program are graphed below

 

 

 

The graph below shows the same predicted results but without the borrowing program.

 

 

 

 

 

How to improve the Infrastructure Renewal Ratio. – This is not an exhaustive list just a place to begin.

 

                                                                      Increase Expenditure on Renewals

Improvement from accounting and business rules - any improvements can be  realised as a part of an internal review process

 

Make sure all renewal expenditure is captured and not recorded as an expense.  Review accounting policy on resealing roads and heavy patching

 

Improvements in the economic in the financial environment – these are factors that Council has no or limited control over.

 

Availability of grants for capital renewals            - R2R in particular

 

Increased Income from the operations of Council – These are factors within the operational control of Council.

 

Reduce operating deficits

Spend available funding on renewals not new assets

SRV dedicated to asset renewal

 

 

 

Decrease Depreciation

Improvement from accounting and business rules - any improvements can be  realised as a part of an internal review process

 

Decreased depreciation expenses –   Longer lives

                                                                            Increased residuals

                                                                            Changed consumption patterns

                                                                            Reduced current replacement costs

 

Improvements in the economic in the financial environment – these are factors that Council has no or limited control over.

 

New technology that makes assets current replacement costs lower (for example reline a sewer rather than lay a new pipe)

 

Decreased depreciation costs associated with the operations of Council – These are factors within the operational control of Council.

 

Reduce assets controlled by Council

                                     

 

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Michael Coulter (General Manager)

Craig Doolan (Manager of Finance)

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY and FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

The Fit for the Future Program seeks to initiate financial sustainability reforms across New South Wales local government.

 

Attachments:

1

36168/2014 - operating ratio past & future  fit for the future

 

2

36182/2014 - own source revenue past & future  FFTF

 

3

36228/2014 - infrastructure renewals funding no loans

 

4

36271/2014 - infrastructure renewal ratio possible funding including loans

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Fit for the Future Report 3 - Improvement Proposal

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Fit for the Future Report 3 - Improvement Proposal

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Fit for the Future Report 3 - Improvement Proposal

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 11 December 2014

Fit for the Future Report 3 - Improvement Proposal

 


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                            11 December 2014

Corporate Services

ITEM 10.2    SF251              111214         Schedule of Council Public Meetings

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Monika Schuhmacher, Executive Assistant/Business Services Unit         

 

SUMMARY:

 

The following is a schedule of dates for public Council meetings.  The meeting dates may change from to time and this will be recorded in the next available report to Council.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the schedule of dates for public Council meetings be noted and received for information by Council.

 

 

 

2015

MEETING

DATE

VENUE

COMMENCING

Ordinary Council Meeting

15/01/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

29/01/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Access Committee

24/02/2015

Council Chambers

2.00 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

12/02/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

26/02/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

12/03/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Access Committee

24/03/2015

Council Chambers

2.00 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

26/03/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

16/04/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Access Committee

28/04/2015

Council Chambers

2.00 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

30/04/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

14/05/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Access Committee

26/05/2015

Council Chambers

2.00 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting

28/05/2015

Council Chambers

5.30 PM

Ordinary Council Meeting