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BVSRRA last won the day on September 6

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  1. The association has today made a submission to counil in respect of its draft Community Engagement Strategy, currently on Public Exhibition. The association believes that the draft offers little in the way of real benefit to the community & certainly does not represent a significant improvement on the existing procedure. The association is wholly disappointed with the draft strategy which, with the exception of the new section on planning requirements, appears to be no more than a “dressed-up” re-write of council’s existing procedure & believes that it will do nothing to enhance the community’s engagement with council. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-empty-promises---14.10.2019.pdf
  2. The association has now made a formal submission to council in response to its Discussion Paper on the proposed strategy for the shire’s six swimming pools & in particular the proposed Special Rate Variation (SRV) to be considered by council in November. In formulating its submission, the association has highlighted its main concerns with council's SRV proposal, including the fact that council has not been open & transparent with the community about the fact that it has not taken account of contributions for the funding of the pools already being made by ratepayers & the fact that it has not conducted a review of potential alternate funding options to an SRV. The association reiterated its support for the retention of the shire’s six pools however it believes that council’s SRV proposal is not the best alternative available to the community & believes that council needs to more energetically examine all alternate options to that proposal. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-double-dipping---08.10.2019.pdf Facebook - 04.10.2019.docx
  3. Once again the residents & ratepayers of the Bega Valley Shire have been failed badly by lazy or incompetent journalism from a second rate media. The association contends that the media in the Bega Valley Shire has an appalling record of critically scrutinising council & its actions, being content all too often to lay back & while-away the time pretending everything is just fine. And it’s invariably the residents & ratepayers who suffer as a result. It’s not just fake news, but at times no news at all. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---no-news---04.10.2019.pdf
  4. Among the lofty goals enunciated in the Bega Valley Shire Community Strategic Plan 2040, is a commitment to “Strong Consultative Leadership”, to be realised through behaviour which is equitable, transparent & accountable. While the association has been pleased to acknowledge an improvement in the willingness of council to respond to requests for information & the quality of the information it provides, it regrets to say that at times council’s senior “leadership” falls back to its old ways. Unfortunately, the association believes that council’s dealings with the community are not based on any consistent standards or principles, but simply on the whim of its senior management. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-false-pretences---01.10.2019.pdf
  5. Those members of the community keeping in-touch with the shenanigans of their elected betters at council might recall the bombshell news back in March when it was revealed by council’s former general manager, Mr David Jesson that council had managed to squander around $30,000 of ratepayers’ funds in managing two Code of Conduct Complaints made against two councillors by a third councillor. Reminiscent of scenes from Alice in Wonderland, Ms Barnes has now advised the association that “No specific investigation was undertaken in relation to the Code of Conduct matters reported to council”. However, the general manager helpfully included with her letter an extract of her report to council’s Audit Committee which, in the association’s view, confirmed the opposite to be true. More importantly, the general manager confirmed that the report had cost ratepayers yet another $15,000, taking the total cost of managing the two Code of Conduct Complaints & other similar matters to more than $45,000. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-narcissism---27.09.2019.pdf
  6. Congratulations should go to the representatives of The North Tura Beach Residents’ Association Inc for their presentations to last week’s Public Forum on the issue of the contentious Tura Head Coastal Reserve (The Point) & Dolphin Cove Reserve. Telling it like it is, Mr Jonathon Gaul advised attendees at the Forum that, amongst other things, his association’s experience in dealing with council on this long-running issue is that “collectively, senior council staff, both now & repeatedly over several years of handling this issue, have neglected & failed in their duty to implement the democratic decisions of the councillors”. When challenged by Cr Griff in response to his comments, Mr Gaul’s response was ruthless: “The truth hurts councillor” he said. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---none-so-blind---25.09.2019.pdf
  7. Listeners to last Wednesday’s ABC Radio interview with Mayor Kristy McBain could be excused for thinking that they had switched-on yet another episode of Story Book. That the game was up was obvious from the very beginning when the interviewer demonstrated his investigative skills by asking the Mayor why the shire’s swimming pools couldn’t be funded by their users, demonstrating basic ignorance of the subject matter. More importantly, it might just have been able to come-up with a few harder questions for the Mayor, rather than abrogating its responsibilities to the community & allowing her to spin council’s views without proper analysis or challenge: surely the role of a competent professional journalist. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---story-book---23.09.2019.pdf
  8. With a new Local Government Bill to come to the Victorian Parliament shortly, the East Gippsland Community Action Group believes that there is a serious need to address major underlying problems in the Local Government sector & recently submitted a comprehensive paper to the Parliamentary Review. Suggesting that East Gippsland Shire Council exemplified many of the problems & challenges confronting Victorian communities, a spokesperson for the community group, Linette Treasure, cited a number of concerning behaviours, indicating the need for a state-wide system change. There are doubtless a great many residents & ratepayers around the country who will identify with their cousins in East Gippsland & who will be watching to see how the state government responds to the increasing pressure from the community for real & genuine reform in local government. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---a-case-for-reform---20.09.2019.pdf
  9. Last week, the NSW Office of Local Government (OLG) circulated a Discussion Paper canvassing feedback on the proposed introduction of a new Risk Management & Internal Audit Framework in councils across NSW. The association believes that the additional cost to residents & ratepayers of implementing the proposed new framework could be as high as $100K annually; a financial imposition on residents & ratepayers that they cannot afford, will deliver nothing of material value or benefit to them & which is wholly unjustified. The association believes that the OLG, along with the Minister for Local Government, seems more concerned with maintaining the appearance that they are doing something material to improve the performance of local government than they are with taking material steps to address the fundamental obstacles to real progress & performance improvement in the form of genuine reform to the unaccountable culture of local government. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-reform---18.09.2019.pdf
  10. According to the Tourism Marketing Services & Projects Update report being tabled at this week’s ordinary meeting of council: “The value of tourism in the Bega Valley Shire to the year ending June 2018 was approximately $499m in total visitor spend, while visitation was just over 1 million for this period supporting approximately 3,000 jobs. As a result, tourism is a key local industry creating local economic activity and bringing export revenue into the Shire.” How good is that? Well, it isn’t actually that good when we look more closely. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-flights-of-fantasy---16.09.2019.pdf
  11. The 11th Women in Local Government Leadership Summit held at Sydney’s plush Intercontinental Hotel will wrap-up today, having promised to help attendees “forge meaningful stakeholder relationships & leave a leadership legacy”, subject to the payment of a small fee of between $2,000-$4,500 per attendee; depending on how keen they were. The many presentations/case studies offered to attendees included “Leading through Disaster”, to be presented by council’s Mayor, Kristy McBain & General Manager, Leanne Barnes. The association can only wonder what participants might think if they were made aware of council’s shameful failure to respond to the crisis experienced by the residents of Numbugga & Bemboka who lost their homes to the Yankees Gap bushfire. This week marked the third anniversary of the election of the current council & the association believes that it is high time for the elected council to demonstrate genuine leadership & accept that it cannot continue to treat the shire’s residents & ratepayers as nothing more than a necessary inconvenience & to do the job they were elected to do some three years ago. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-liquid-learning---13.09.2019.pdf
  12. The association is a strong supporter of council’s stated objective of retaining & maintaining the shire’s six swimming pools as vital pieces of community infrastructure. Unfortunately, in the view of the association, council appears to be engaged in a deliberate & entirely cynical attempt to deceive the community by trying to “double-dip” from ratepayers via its proposed SRV. The association believes that ratepayers should strenuously oppose any SRV that does not take account of the funding already being provided by ratepayers for the operation of the shire’s pools & demand a thorough exploration by council of all alternate options available to meet the ongoing pool funding requirements. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-trickery---09.09.2019.pdf
  13. While it might come as a surprise to some, Councillors are not paid employees & accordingly, are not remunerated. While levels of commitment & involvement on the part of Councillors will vary, the role is not considered to be a full-time job, resulting in Councillors receiving an annual fee rather than being entitled to a wage or salary, plus benefits such as superannuation, paid leave & workers' compensation. When it comes to the quantum of their fees, some Councillors couldn’t care less, some appear ambivalent, while others are decidedly unhappy: indeed, at times indignant, almost resentful or bitter, about how hard done by they are. While some Councillors wring their hands about how badly done-by they are (Cr Fitzpatrick being one notable exception), they ignore their actual cost to residents & ratepayers, just as they fail to question or challenge the consistently high increases in council expenses year after year. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---paying-the-piper---06.09.2019.pdf
  14. On August 21st, 2019, the association formally advised the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE) that it considered the public consultation process in respect of the draft Light to Light Walk Strategy to be seriously flawed. The association’s action was prompted by the refusal of the DPIE to publish the Business Case & Cost/Benefit Analysis that the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) acknowledged had underpinned the formulation of the draft strategy, prompting the association to pursue a GIPA Application to obtain copies of the documents. Unsurprisingly, the association has now received advice from the DPIE confirming that its GIPA Application had been refused. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-transparency---04.09.2019.pdf
  15. The association believes that the quality of its communications with council has substantially improved in recent times. This improvement has been most notable since communications reached their nadir in November, 2018 when the association pursued a complaint about council’s systemic obstruction of its lawful rights to pursue information via the Information & Privacy Commission (IPC). Now the above is not to suggest that everything is suddenly rosy between the association & council. Indeed, the association has concluded that, after three years in office, the current council is the least effective in the history of the shire & is completely bereft of the capabilities necessary to bring about genuine cultural reform within the organisation. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---games-they-play---01.09.2019.pdf