Meeting Notice and Agenda


An Ordinary Meeting of the Bega Valley Shire Council will be held at Council Chambers, Biamanga Room Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre Bega on
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 commencing at 2.00 pm to consider and resolve
on the matters set out in the attached Agenda.





Cr Kristy McBain, Mayor

Cr Sharon Tapscott, Deputy Mayor

Cr Tony Allen

Cr Robyn Bain

Cr Jo Dodds

Cr Russell Fitzpatrick

Cr Cathy Griff

Cr Mitchell Nadin

Cr Liz Seckold


General Manager, Ms Leanne Barnes

Director, Assets and Operations, Mr Anthony McMahon

Director,  Community, Environment and Planning, Dr Alice Howe

Director, Business and Governance, Mrs Iliada Bolton

Acting Manager, Communications and Events, Mr Ian Campbell

Minute Secretary, Mrs Bec Jones




Live Streaming of Council Meetings

Council meetings are recorded and live streamed to the Internet for public viewing.  By entering the Chambers during an open session of Council, you consent to your attendance and participation being recorded.

The recording will be archived and made available on Council’s website www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au. All care is taken to maintain your privacy; however as a visitor of the public gallery, your presence may be recorded.

Publishing of Agendas And Minutes

The Agendas for Council Meetings and Council Reports for each meeting will be available to the public on Council’s website as close as possible to 5.00 pm on the Thursday prior to each Ordinary Meeting.  A hard copy is also made available at the Bega Administration Building reception desk and on the day of the meeting, in the Council Chambers.

The Minutes of Council Meetings are available on Council's Website as close as possible to 5.00 pm on the Monday after the Meeting.

1.      Please be aware that the recommendations in the Council Meeting Agenda are recommendations to the Council for consideration.  They are not the resolutions (decisions) of Council.

2.      Background for reports is provided by staff to the General Manager for  presentation to Council.

3.      The Council may adopt these recommendations, amend the recommendations, determine a completely different course of action, or it may decline to pursue any course of action.

4.      The decision of the Council becomes the resolution of the Council, and is recorded in the Minutes of that meeting.

5.      The Minutes of each Council meeting are published in draft format, and are confirmed by Councillors, with amendments  if necessary, at the next available Council Meeting.

If you require any further information or clarification regarding a report to Counci, please contact Council’s Executive Assistant who can provide you with the appropriate contact details

Phone (6499 2104) or email execassist@begavalley.nsw.gov.au.


Ethical Decision Making and Conflicts of Interest

A guiding checklist for Councillors, officers and community committees

Ethical decision making

·      Is the decision or conduct legal?

·      Is it consistent with Government policy, Council’s objectives and Code of Conduct?

·      What will the outcome be for you, your colleagues, the Council, anyone else?

·      Does it raise a conflict of interest?

·      Do you stand to gain personally at public expense?

·      Can the decision be justified in terms of public interest?

·      Would it withstand public scrutiny?

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest is a clash between private interest and public duty. There are two types of conflict:

·      Pecuniary – regulated by the Local Government Act 1993 and Office of Local Government

·      Non-pecuniary – regulated by Codes of Conduct and policy. ICAC, Ombudsman, Office of Local Government (advice only).  If declaring a Non-Pecuniary Conflict of Interest, Councillors can choose to either disclose and vote, disclose and not vote or leave the Chamber.

The test for conflict of interest

·         Is it likely I could be influenced by personal interest in carrying out my public duty?

·         Would a fair and reasonable person believe I could be so influenced?

·         Conflict of interest is closely tied to the layperson’s definition of ‘corruption’ – using public office for private gain.

·         Important to consider public perceptions of whether you have a conflict of interest.

Identifying problems

1st       Do I have private interests affected by a matter I am officially involved in?

2nd     Is my official role one of influence or perceived influence over the matter?

3rd      Do my private interests conflict with my official role?

Local Government Act 1993 and Model Code of Conduct

For more detailed definitions refer to Sections 442, 448 and 459 or the Local Government Act 1993 and Bega Valley Shire Council (and Model) Code of Conduct, Part 4 – conflictions of interest.

Agency advice     

Whilst seeking advice is generally useful, the ultimate decision rests with the person concerned.Officers of the following agencies are available during office hours to discuss the obligations placed on Councillors, officers and community committee members by various pieces of legislation, regulation and codes.





Bega Valley Shire Council

(02) 6499 2222




8281 5999

Toll Free 1800 463 909



Office of Local Government

(02) 4428 4100



NSW Ombudsman

(02) 8286 1000

Toll Free 1800 451 524




Disclosure of pecuniary interests / non-pecuniary interests

Under the provisions of Section 451(1) of the Local Government Act 1993 (pecuniary interests) and Part 4 of the Model Code of Conduct prescribed by the Local Government (Discipline) Regulation (conflict of interests) it is necessary for you to disclose the nature of the interest when making a disclosure of a pecuniary interest or a non-pecuniary conflict of interest at a meeting. 

The following form should be completed and handed to the General Manager as soon as practible once the interest is identified.  Declarations are made at Item 3 of the Agenda: Declarations -  Pecuniary, Non-Pecuniary and Political Donation Disclosures, and prior to each Item being discussed:

Council meeting held on __________(day) / ___________(month) /____________(year)

Item no & subject


Pecuniary Interest


   In my opinion, my interest is pecuniary and I am therefore required to take the action specified in section 451(2) of the Local Government Act 1993 and or any other action required by the Chief Executive Officer.

Significant Non-pecuniary conflict of interest

   – In my opinion, my interest is non-pecuniary but significant. I am unable to remove the source of conflict. I am therefore required to treat the interest as if it were pecuniary and take the action specified in section 451(2) of the Local Government Act 1993.

Non-pecuniary conflict of interest

   In my opinion, my interest is non-pecuniary and less than significant. I therefore make this declaration as I am required to do pursuant to clause 5.11 of Council’s Code of Conduct. However, I intend to continue to be involved with the matter.

Nature of interest

Be specific and include information such as :

·         The names of any person or organization with which you have a relationship

·         The nature of your relationship with the person or organization

·         The reason(s) why you consider the situation may (or may be perceived to) give rise to a conflict between your personal interests and your public duty as a Councillor.

If Pecuniary

  Leave chamber

If Non-pecuniary  (tick one)

 Disclose & vote        Disclose & not vote          Leave chamber

Reason for action proposed

Clause 5.11 of Council’s Code of Conduct provides that if you determine that a non-pecuniary conflict of interest is less than significant and does not require further action, you must provide an explanation of why you  consider that conflict does not require further action in the circumstances

Print Name


I disclose the above interest and acknowledge that I will take appropriate action as I have indicated above.



NB:  Please complete a separate form for each Item on the Council Agenda on which you are declaring an interest.


29 January 2020



Statement of Commencement of Live Streaming

Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners of Bega Valley Shire

1       Apologies and requests for leave of absence

2       Confirmation Of Minutes


That the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 31 December 2019 as circulated, be taken as read and confirmed.

3       Declarations

Pecuniary, Non-Pecuniary and Political Donation Disclosures to be declared and tabled.  Declarations also to be prior to discussion on each item.

4       Public Forum – report by Mayor of deputations heard prior to    the meeting

5       Petitions

6       Mayoral Minutes

6.1                2019/2020 Bega Valley Bushfire.................................................................................................... 8


7       Urgent Business

8       Staff Reports – Planning and Environment

Nil Reports

9       Staff Reports – Community, Culture and Leisure

Nil Reports

10   Staff Reports –Economic Development and Business Growth

Nil Reports

11     Staff Reports – Infrastructure Waste and Water

Nil Reports

12   Staff Reports – Governance and Strategy

12.1              2018 - 2019 Audited Financial Statements................................................................................ 12

12.2              Delayed adoption of strategic planning documents................................................................. 13

12.3              Special Rate Variation and draft Swimming Pool Strategy....................................................... 17

12.4              Council response to drive recovery and rebuilding................................................................. 43

12.5              2019/20 Bega Valley Bushfire Council rates,charges, fees update....................................... 50

13     Staff Reports – Finance

Nil Reports

14     Councillor Reports

15     Rescission/alteration Motions

16     Notices of Motion


17     Questions with Notice

18     Confidential Business 


Representations by members of the public regarding closure of part of meeting

Adjournment Into Closed Session, exclusion of the media and public


Statement of Cessation of Live Streaming for the period of the Closed Session.

Statement of Re-Commencement of Live Streaming

19    Noting of Resolutions from Closed Session

20   Declassification of reports considered previously in Closed Session 


29 January 2020



Mayoral Minutes


29 January 2020


6.1              2019/2020 Bega Valley Bushfire........................................................................... 8

Council 29 January 2020

Item 6.1


6.12019/2020 Bega Valley Bushfire         


Cr McBain, Mayor   


1.    That Council express our sympathy to all members of the directly impacted community         across the Shire for their substantial losses and note the extensive impacts of the 2019/20             Bega Valley Bushfires on the entire community of the Bega Valley and offer our thoughts                 to those impacted and commitment to support the recovery effort in every way.

2.    That Council formally acknowledge and express our thanks to all groups and individuals for the support and assistance in so many ways to so many.



Previously with disaster events in the Shire I have commenced my Mayoral Minute outlining a description of the event, an outline of the response and the move to recovery. This time I commence by noting that the scale and impact of this disaster is beyond anything we have expected or planned for. The loss of lives, homes and properties, businesses and the flow on from this disaster has impacted everyone who lives in, visits and loves our Shire.

The loss of lives lost was acknowledged with the minute silence at the beginning of this meeting.  But how do we begin to understand the loss to the family and friends of those who have died. All we can do is to be here to support them and all impacted for as long as needed.

The details of the losses of property and  the impacts of the fires on towns, villages, homes, the environment, stock and business and industry have been shown across every media format around the world so I am not going to even try and capture that here. The detail is available and is updated daily.

We are now in a present where three campaign fires are still active in the Shire and the message of being prepared, of making sure our plans are in place is important. I cannot stress this strongly enough.

I want to focus on five key aspects of this disaster. These are the community; the role and work of the emergency services and those supporting them; the agriculture, business and industry groups directly and indirectly impacted; the support personally and financially coming from State, Federal, local government and other sectors; and finally Council staff.

Community: The most important aspect of this incident was the impact on people – our people. Our community is resilient and we care for each other and look out for each other, we are a Bega Valley family. I personally have been humbled by the way in which our people in our community have responded to this incident and continue to support each other and are working together to rebuild lives. We have to also be aware that we are not out of the current bushfire season and we need to maintain our preparedness. I absolutely support local member The Hon Andrew Constance in his recent comments about this being a “humanitarian disaster” and the need to get mental health support . We need to look after each other, to ensure that there are appropriate, clear pathways to support people in all aspects of their lives – a roof over their head, clearing up their land, mental health support, financial support, support to children and the education sector. Recovery is a term used in the phase we are in now but I think it is about recovery, rebuilding, making us more resilient and ensuring that we build back better in every aspect. The Recovery Centre in Bega and the Outreach Visiting Recovery Service is operating and I encourage everyone impacted to visit and get support. The large number of local groups and Facebook sites are to be commended for their work. Our approach will continue to be community led recovery walking with community as they are the people who know their place best.

Emergency services and other agencies: I am not sure where to begin in saying thank you to all who have worked tirelessly to defend our community and our place. The RFS and all members as the lead agency, many who had already been deployed in strike teams out of area and were home to spend some time over New Year with their family and also had their own homes and properties threatened; the NSW Fire and Rescue, NSW Police, SES, Nationals Parks, State Forests, Health, Disaster Welfare, Ambulance NSW, VRA, SLSC, Forestry Corp, Marine Rescue NSW, Red Cross, private contractors, all the Council staff in so many roles, and all in the Emergency Operations Centre personnel. This has truly been a mammoth task, approached with professionalism and commitment to our community. All those that have supported our many evacuation centres including the various clubs and community organisations that stepped up and saw this critical work as part of their role as key players in the local community. The local media who have worked tirelessly to ensure safety and community messaging about the fire response and now the recovery have done an amazing job.

I must make special mention of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that has mobilised to assist us in every way. Locally led by Lt Colonel Kidson every aspect of the work of this group has been to walk with the community and support us. For the first time ever the ADF and NSW Police are also working with Council and the Recovery teams in a recovery role. This unprecedented disaster has resulted in a new way of working in this area. It is now a new future we are looking at.

Business and industry: the impacts across every sector of our economy have been devastating. From agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, manufacturing, small business, tourism, services, retail – there is not a sector untouched and the future will require dedicated support and thinking outside the box to move forward and to grow a new and dynamic economy. Already the passion from all sectors has been evident with groups meeting, planning working together to put forward new ways of working, re-establishing existing operations, focussing on bringing people back, advocating to get financial support for all sectors. The road ahead is long but we have the people here who can make it happen and I know as Council we will be there every step of the way.

Support from others:

Offers of support from our colleagues in local government, State agencies, community and non-government organisations, businesses, sporting codes and individuals has been nothing short of overwhelming. This support is to assist with the recovery now and into the foreseeable future. Currently staff from Lake Macquarie, Wollongong and Randwick are supporting our staff and community with additional support being arranged.

The response from the NSW State Government was immediate and appropriate. The Premier The Hon Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier/Minister for Recovery he Hon John Barilaro, other members and Ministers, the Prime Minister The Hon Scott Morrison, and the day to day presence of our local member, The Hon Andrew Constance, have been, and continue to be, critical and very much appreciated. Senator Jim Molan has relocated to the area and Local Federal member Dr Mike Kelly and other politicians came to offer support and compassion to our community. 

The Premier's announcement so early in the process of her appointment of Dick Adams APM, OAM, RFD, as the Recovery Coordinator Southern NSW, has been key to our being ready to assist as quickly and appropriately as possible. The Southern Fires Regional Recovery Committee has been established with General Manager Leanne Barnes as Deputy Chair. The Bega Valley 2020 Fire Recovery Committee has also been established and is meeting weekly with daily updates.

We will continue to work through the recovery process with the Recovery Centre in Bega and the mobile services going across the Shire and to properties, operated and manned with Council staff and other services offering support of every imaginable sort to people and businesses. The recovery period will be years but I am committed with the General Manager, Councillors and staff to be there for our community for the long haul and to “build back better” for the community, business, infrastructure and environment to ensure we are more resilient as we move into this and the next decades.

Council staff: Council staff have stepped up again in a disaster in every role – as part of the response to the fires, in the EOC, leading the community information and communications in all aspects, supporting evacuation centres, providing support to the RFS and other agencies, establishing and running the Recovery Centres, getting solutions and actions quickly to support community, business, industry, undertaking important and immediate work in the environment, planning for and delivering works and working in every aspect of recovery. These are people who are part of our community, this is their place, their families live here, and sadly a very large percentage of our workforce community have been personally impacted by this disaster. They have all stepped back into their roles working incredible hours, providing support, undertaking works, getting key information out. Nothing has been too difficult for them to take on in the north, the south, the west of the Shire.







29 January 2020


Staff Reports –  Governance And Strategy


29 January 2020


12.1            2018 - 2019 Audited Financial Statements......................................................... 12

12.2            Delayed adoption of strategic planning documents........................................... 13

12.3            Special Rate Variation and draft Swimming Pool Strategy................................ 17

12.4            Council response to drive recovery and rebuilding............................................ 43

12.5            2019/20 Bega Valley Bushfire Council rates,charges, fees update.................... 50

Council 29 January 2020

Item 12.1


12.1. 2018 - 2019 Audited Financial Statements      


Council’s 2018-2019 Financial Statements and Audit Report will now be presented to  Council in the next two months.


General Manager   



Officers Recommendation

That Council note that the 2018-19 Audited Financial Statements have been further delayed due to the current bushfire impacts on Council and State resourcing.


Executive Summary

Council’s 2018-2019 Financial Statements and Audit Report was to be presented for the information of Councillors at this meeting. These reports are usually presented with the Council’s Annual Report by convention. This year an extension to the lodgement date was granted by the Office of Local Government, meaning that the audited financial statements were not available at the same time as the 2018-2019 Annual Report. Council staff and the auditors were to finalise work on the statements in early January.

In January, Council staff committed to this function were directed into other tasks including work in the Emergency Operations Centre and recovery. These redirections of tasking are still in place, as well as to recoding expenditure under the current Section 44 declaration and the recovery reporting  requirements.

The Office of Local Government has been advised of this delay and a formal extension period is being applied for. 


Council endorsed the 2018-2019 Annual Report at the meeting of 21 November 2018. This endorsed annual report was lodged with the Office of Local Government by the due date, 30 November 2019 and subsequently placed on Council’s website.

The required lodgement date of the audited financial statements was eventually extended until 31 December 2018. A further extension was granted to 29 January 2020 however due to current resource redirections due to the bushfire event and recovery this has now not been achieved.





Council 29 January 2020

Item 12.2


12.2. Delayed adoption of strategic planning documents     

Given the current bushfire disaster declaration and the ongoing community recovery, it is recommended that the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) documents placed on an extended exhibition in December 2019, be suspended so that modifications can be made to accommodate Councils revised focus on rebuilding and recovery.

General Manager  

Officer’s Recommendation

1.            That the IP&R documents including the draft Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and   draft Operational Plan 2020-2021, including Council’s Budget and Revenue Policy, the              amended Financial Strategy and Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP), the Swimming Pools        Asset Management Plan, and the draft Fees and Charges 2020-2021 that were placed    on an extended public exhibition over December 2019 and January 2020 be suspended       so that modifications can be made to accommodate Councils revised focus on          rebuilding and recovery.

2.            That the modified IP&R documents be presented to the 29 April 2020 Council meeting   for consideration followed by a standard public exhibition period.

3.            That the current 2019-2020 Revised Delivery Program and Operational Plan be   reviewed with a report to the 19 February 2020 Council meeting outlining the progress    made in the first six months and a report be presented to the 8 April2020 Council              meeting outlining the activities and actions to be modified or reprioritised given the       bushfire recovery focus.

Executive Summary

Prior to the bushfire disaster declaration that began impacting the Bega Valley on 30 December 2019, Council was progressing an application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) to cover the capital and operating costs for the Shire’s existing six swimming pools.

Given the significant bushfire impact across the Bega Valley, and the need for Council to move forward in these difficult times with a real commitment to supporting our local community and being responsive to the challenges ahead, it is recommended that these IP&R documents not be adopted and be suspended for further modifications to be undertaken to allow Council to be best placed to support the community in the coming years.

Council is considering, in a separate report, its position in relation to the proposed Special Rate Variation with a view to postpone any further consideration. It is recommended that the modified IP&R documents be presented at the 29 April 2020 Council meeting for exhibition and adoption prior to the commencement of the 2020-2021 financial year.


As part of any SRV process Councils are required to exhibit, and adopt their delivery program, operational plan, budget and various other IP&R documents prior to submitting the formal application. 

At the Council meeting on 11 December Council resolved the following:

(1) That the draft, Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and draft Operational Plan2020-2021,              including Council’s Budget and Revenue Policy, and the amended Financial Strategy and              Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP), a Swimming Pools Asset Management Plan, draft Fees and    Charges 2020-2021 be placed on an extended public exhibition period from 13 December              2019to 24 January 2020 with feedback on the documents and Councils proposed Special              Rate Variation (SRV) to be considered at the Council meeting on 5 February 2020.

(2) That Council have a workshop on what ability we have to incentivise development within              the Shire to attempt to stimulate population and economic growth.

On the 13 December 2019, Council placed the above key planning documents on an extended exhibition to 24 January 2020 and copies of the documents were available both online and in hard-copy at Councils service counter and libraries.

Bushfire event and recovery

The Bega Valley Bushfire Emergency commenced on 30 December 2019, with Council joining a multitude of emergency services and other organisations in managing the situation from the Emergency Operations Centre.  Four fires (Werri Berri, Border, Myrtle Mountain and Badja Forest), that continue to burn across Shire, have collectively taken three lives, destroyed over 380 homes and businesses, hundreds more out buildings, killed large numbers of stock and other animals and scorched countless acres of farmland.

Quaama and Cobargo and the surrounding localities, along with Bemboka, Pericoe and the Towamba Valley and the area south of Eden to the border were among the hardest hit and a long and challenging recovery period is ahead.

A Recovery Centre is operating at the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre with both government and non-government agencies available to assist those impacted by the fires. Due to the breadth and extent of the disaster a mobile recovery team has also been established and is setting up in our smaller towns and localities on a rotating basis.

The bushfire emergency has been a focus for both Council and the community throughout December and January which has reduced the opportunity for engagement in the public exhibition process for the IP&R documents. The fires are now determined campaign fires with the EOC ready to stand up at any time, it will be a focus for the Council and other agencies for many months unless significant rain falls.  It is also imperative, given the scale of the impact and the ongoing support that will be required by the community, that Councils’ IP&R documents, once modified, reflect business as usual activities along with the extensive work that will be required for rebuilding and recovery.


Council can resolve to:

1. As recommended, suspend the adoption of the IP&R documents until further modifications can be made by staff to better accommodate the bushfire recovery. This option will result in the IP&R documents not being adopted prior to the IPART deadline for SRV submissions, which was the intention of exhibiting during the December/January period.

2. Adopt the documents that were placed on exhibition in December. This option progresses the IP&R processes but does so without taking into consideration the impact of the bushfire emergency and the reduced community engagement throughout the exhibition period.

Community Engagement

Consultation undertaken

The following documents were made available on Councils website and a Have Your Say page was created to capture feedback on both the IP&R documents for 2020-2021 and the proposed SRV. The documents were also available in hardcopy at the service counter at Council and in Council libraries.

- Draft Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and draft Operational Plan 2020-2021 including Council’s Budget and Revenue Policy

- Amended Financial Strategy

- Amended Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP)

- Draft Swimming Pools Asset Management Plan

- Draft Fees and Charges 2020-2021

In the December edition of ‘Council News’ the front cover included content regarding the Have Your Say page which encouraged the community to provide their feedback on the strategic planning documents and proposed SRV. A media release was distributed on 19 December along with a Facebook post. Post and email submissions on the IP&R documents and proposed SRV were also invited.

Have Your Say drop-in information sessions were scheduled for mid-January, providing the community an opportunity to meet with staff and Councillors to discuss the key planning strategies and proposed SRV. Advertising was scheduled to promote these sessions and the online Have Your Say opportunity. These sessions and advertising were cancelled.

As part of the engagement process ratepayers were also mailed via Councils distribution house a flyer providing information on the proposed Special Rate Variation.

Council consideration of input

At the time of compiling the report there had been no submissions received regarding the IP&R documents specifically. Several submissions had been made regarding the Special Rate Variation, which form a key element of the IP&R documents. These submissions are included in a separate report to Council regarding the Special Rate Variation.


Financial and resource considerations

There are no financial impacts for suspending the adoption of the IP&R documents that were placed on public exhibition. Further work will be required by staff to modify the documents.

Several of the documents that were placed on public exhibition relate to Council’s financial management and planning. These documents will be subject to modification pending the decision by Council in relation to the SRV (subject of a separate report) along with a range of other impacts including financial support provided to Council by other levels of Government and donations along with prioritisation of Councils available funds to support recovery measures.

Legal /Policy

Under the Local Government Amendment Act 1993, Council is required to develop IP&R documents and publicly exhibit them for a minimum period of 28 days. The recommendation is that post modifications the IP&R documents are re-exhibited in April for a further 28 days.

Impacts on Strategic/Operational/Asset Management Plans

Strategic Alignment

The recommendation to suspend adoption of the draft IP&R documents placed on public exhibition connects to the Community Strategic Plan 2040 through:


Goal 12 - Strong, Consultative Leadership: Our Council is financially sustainable, and services

and facilities meet community need.

Environmental / Sustainability/ Economic/ Social/ Cultural

The Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and draft Operational Plan 2020-2021 once modified will take into consideration what is required from a ‘business as usual’ perspective as well as an overlay of bushfire recovery in addressing environmental and sustainability issues, business and economic impact and the community and social impacts for residents and visitors to the Shire. Frameworks for the management of the recovery aspects are currently being established. The modified documents will be presented to Council in April and will outline projects, programs and activities that Council will undertake.






Council 29 January 2020

Item 12.3


12.3. Special Rate Variation and draft Swimming Pool Strategy     

Council resolved, in November 2019, to notify the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal(IPART) of its intention to apply for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) and this report recommends that Council postpone any further consideration of an SRV along with deferring the adoption of the draft Swimming Pool Strategy and focus on community rebuilding and recovery.

General Manager  

Officer’s Recommendation

1.    That Council notify the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) that it will not be submitting an application for a Special Rate Variation for the 2020-2021 financial year          as a result of the bushfire disaster declaration and continued campaign fires.

2.    That Council maintain the meeting scheduled for 5 February 2020 to consider the volume     of matters requiring attention in business as usual, which was originally scheduled for the     consideration of the SRV application.

3.    That Council defer consideration of a Special Rate Variation and adoption of the draft             Swimming Pool Strategy until a future date pending bushfire recovery efforts.

Executive Summary

Given the recent and ongoing bushfire events it is pertinent that Council consider its position in relation to a Special Rate Variation. Given the scale of damage across the Bega Shire Council Local Government Area and the recovery required for many residents directly impacted and those in the broader community indirectly affected by the bushfire, it is recommended that Council resolve to not apply for an increase in rates at this time and refocus the organisation on supporting the community to rebuild and recover.


Following the 2016 Otium review of the Shire’s pools and the 2017 adopted six-pool goal of Council, in November 2019 Council resolved to notify IPART of its intention to apply for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) to fund the ongoing operation and upgrade of Council’s existing six pools.

20 November Resolution

To achieve Council’s currently resolved position of having a fit for purpose, six-pool aquatic strategy it is recommended that:

1. Council resolves to notify the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) by 29 November of its intention to apply for a Special Rate Variation (SRV), under section 508(A) of the Local Government Act 1993, for a three (3) year SRV above the rate peg amount to be retained in the rate base permanently, which will by the third year achieve the annual amount required to deliver the Swimming Pool Strategy and meet the goal established in November 2017 of operating, maintaining and upgrading all six pools.

2. Council place the 2020/2021 Integrated Planning and Reporting documents with respect to proposed SRV on public exhibition for an extended period at its meeting on 11 December and include the final percentages and amounts modelled over the three-year program as required.

3. Council note that due to major renewal requirements for Bega and Cobargo pools within the first 10 years of the SRV, Council will not see any reduction in reliance on the General Fund for pools during the first two years of the SRV.

4. At the point in time where the demand on General Fund for pools is reduced due to the SRV, that any reduction in expenditure from the General Fund for pools is transferred to a reserve restricted for the purpose of funding existing infrastructure asset renewals for critical assets.

5. Council proceed to develop the SRV application as outlined above and commence a second phase of community engagement for consideration by Council; and

6. Council receive two reports at a Council meeting to be held on 5 February 2020 to consider formal lodgement of the SRV application with IPART prior to 10 February and adoption of the 2020/2021 Integrated Planning and Reporting documents.

Subsequently Council notified IPART of its intention to apply for a SRV and also placed on extended exhibition the 2020-2021 Integrated Planning and Reporting documents with respect to the proposed SRV. The recommendation to suspend adoption of these documents is the subject of a separate report to this Council meeting. Council staff had commenced a second phase of community engagement, which has been cancelled.

11 December Resolutions

At the 11 December Council meeting it was resolved to place a range of IP&R documents on exhibition along with the draft Swimming Pool Strategy.

That Council endorse the draft swimming pools strategy for public exhibition with the exhibition and submission period to close in line with Integrated Planning and Reporting documentation on 24 January 2020, with the following amendments to Page 18:

Action Item 1.2

- Establish a 6 pools reserve to fund asset upgrades and renewals and “ring-fence” SRV     income plus interest on the invested income

Action Item 1.3

- Apply the SRV annually to pools operations, maintenance, minor and major renewals and      transfer balance to reserve for future year renewals plus interest on the invested income

Subsequently the Draft Swimming Pool Strategy was placed on public exhibition on 13 December 2019. Despite the recommendation to defer the adoption of the draft Swimming Pool Strategy objectives outlined in the document will continue to be employed by Council staff including those relating to maximising the asset use and value for the community and visitors.



Council can resolve to:

1. As recommended, defer further consideration of a Special Rate Variation and adoption of the draft Swimming Pool Strategy until a future date pending bushfire recovery efforts. It is estimated the impact of this bushfire event is in the order of 8-9 times greater than that of the Tathra bushfire so it is anticipated that there will be a requirement for many years for Council to be focussed on working with the community to rebuild and recover.

2. Continue, as per the resolution of the 20 November 2019 Council meeting, and proceed with providing a report to the 5 February 2020 meeting of Council for consideration of the formal lodgement of the SRV application. This option is not recommended as given the bushfire event, staff resources have not been available to complete the application and an appropriate level of community engagement has not been undertaken and would jeopardise the quality of the application.

Community Engagement

Consultation undertaken

Community engagement on the proposed Special Rate Variation and the Swimming Pool Strategy has been ongoing. The focus of the consultation was expanded further to the proposed SRV model adopted by Council in November.  The initial community engagement process in September and October 2019 for the SRV had focussed on a single year 11% increase inclusive of the rate peg. Councillors ultimately resolved to notify IPART of its intention to apply to introduce a special rate variation over three years, instead of one. The modelling for the 3-year SRV was included in Council’s IP&R documents recently placed on an extended exhibition. 

Council used a range of channels to share information regarding the proposed SRV including Council website, Council newsletter and Facebook, along with a SRV flyer that was mailed to ratepayers mailed via Councils distribution house. Have Your Say sessions were also scheduled for mid-January but were cancelled.

Council consideration of input

At the time of compiling this report there were 28 submissions regarding the proposed Special Rate Variation. The original submissions received are included as an attachment to this report.

Financial and resource considerations

Resolving to not proceed to apply for a SRV will have ongoing financial impacts. The intention of the SRV was to raise funds to cover the ongoing operating and capital upgrade costs associated with the existing six swimming pools across the Shire. The draft Swimming Pool Strategy outlined a range of objectives, one of which related to Strategy Resourcing with the first action focussing on securing a SRV.

Given the recommendation in this report that the SRV be postponed and the draft Swimming Pool Strategy be deferred for further consideration at a future date pending bushfire recovery efforts it would also be prudent that the Council give further consideration to the goal adopted of maintaining all six pools.

The current operating costs for the existing six pools will continue at this stage to be funded from Councils General Fund. The cost and timing of the capital upgrades for both Bega and Cobargo, scheduled to be completed in the next 10 years, will also require further consideration.

Legal /Policy

Council had notified IPART of its intention to apply for a Special Rate Variation under s508(A) of the Local Government Act 1993. The recommendation in this report seeks to postpone any further consideration of a SRV until a future date pending bushfire recovery efforts.

Impacts on Strategic/Operational/Asset Management Plan/Risk

Strategic Alignment

The draft Swimming Pools Strategy and proposed Special Rate Variation directly relate to the following goals from the Community Strategic Plan 2040:

Goal 2 -Active and Healthy Communities: We are an active, healthy community with access to good quality recreation and sporting facilities, and medical health care.

Goal 12 - Strong, Consultative Leadership: Our Council is financially sustainable, and services and facilities meet community need.

Given the recommendation to postpone the SRV and defer the Strategy as part of the modification of Councils existing (2019-2020) and future (2020-2021) IP&R documents, consideration will be given to how Council can continue to meet these goals whilst providing ‘business as usual’ services along with bushfire recovery support.


Should Council resolve, as per the recommendation in this report to notify IPART that it will not be submitting an application for a SRV, Council will need to revisit its IP&R documents and the draft Swimming Pool Strategy and its capacity to meet the six-pool goal.

As previously advised in reports to Council without secure funding for the pools they will be subject to competing with the many and varied other items funded from Councils General Rates. This may result in a reduction of service provision including reduced season length and operating hours. Reliance on the General Fund also presents a lack of capacity to meet ongoing asset renewals and upgrades resulting in asset failure or potential closure.

Social / Cultural

The six public pools across the Bega Valley Shire are highly valued by the community and provide a variety of health, lifestyle, and community benefits. Given the recommendation in this report there is no intention to immediately close or significantly alter the operation of any of the existing six pools.



1.          Special Rate Variation Submissions Recieved



29 January 2020

Item 12.3 - Attachment 1

Special Rate Variation Submissions Recieved


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Council 29 January 2020

Item 12.4


12.4. Council response to drive recovery and rebuilding     

Council is the key local agency in supporting the recovery and rebuilding of the Shire for thecommunity, the economy, infrastructure and the environment.

                                                                                                                                                                General Manager  

Officer’s Recommendation

1.    That Council note the report.

2.    That Council support the creation of a short term, up to two year, project team to focus on                 recovery and rebuilding and the engagement of a contract project team leader.That a               report be presented to Council, in March, outlining all available funding opportunities and                proposals for their allocation for resolution.

Executive Summary

The bushfires in Bega Valley Shire together with other coastal and alpine areas of the South East, have been catastrophic in terms of loss of life, property, business, tourism, infrastructure, catchments and biodiversity.

The efforts of the RFS and emergency response agencies with associated volunteer logistics have been extraordinary. Council staff, through the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), works areas, water teams, traffic control, logistics and other volunteer efforts has been outstanding. Management of staff support and critical incident debriefing, fatigue and stand down arrangements remain important to monitor.

While normally each Council area in the South East would be required to form a Local Recovery Committee, the scale of this natural disaster has prompted the formation of a Regional Recovery Committee by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). The region comprises the local government areas of  Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, Bega Valley, Snowy Monaro,  Snowy Valleys, Wingecarribee, Queanbeyan Palerang, Greater Hume and Wagga. A local recovery action committee has been established within the Bega Valley.

Council needs to act now to establish the initial phase of establishing a structure to support community recovery and rebuilding and focus Council resourcing to support this and to ensure business as usual priorities can be progressed and a focus on leveraging all support available and funding is in place.


The entire Bega Valley Shire area has been significantly impacted during the current fire disaster with sadly four fire related fatalities, significant homes lost nearing 400 and 103 damaged; 20 facilities destroyed and 15 impacted; 926 outbuildings destroyed and 243 impacted. Stock losses are estimated to be in the thousands with many of these breeding animals that had been nurtured through the preceding three years of drought and thousands of acres of land impacted farming, private land and national parks and forests.

Kilometres of road are damaged with the exact impacts unknown at this stage as rapid impact assessments are currently being done, bridge assets are also impacted with several historic timber bridges included. Damage to culverts and other drainage assets is also unknown. Several community assets including Kiah Hall, Wandella Hall and Quaama Showgrounds destroyed. Water assets have also been impacted. The economic impact across all sectors including agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, tourism and retail sector and small business and trades including accommodation, retail and food services Local farmers, workers and businesses are significantly impacted. In addition, it is estimated that 58% of Council’s staff have been directly or significantly impacted as a result of the fires.

There are five key areas that will require resourcing and focus as Council works to support all aspects of the local community through the recovery journey ahead and deliver Council business as usual and leverage funding and support.

Recovery and Rebuilding

Sadly, Bega Valley Shire Council has recent examples of the impacts of disasters on the community and Council operations. Floods in 2015, the East Coast Low of 2016 and the fires of 2018 have provided us with some clear understanding of the workload ahead. We have some understanding of what has worked and what has not. The current disaster declaration is at unprecedented with impacts beyond current resourcing and capacity.

Council’s role is in leading local recovery and rebuilding, working with a range of agencies and we are now operating in a totally changed local government environment. The recovery and rebuilding will occur and is happening across the entire Shire, it will cover people, businesses, industries, infrastructure, rebuilding of homes and businesses, and the environment. The focus must be on this as a key organisational priority.

Business as Usual

Whilst we recognise the impacts of the current disaster and their magnitude we also need to continue to deliver our business as usual activities to our best ability and ensure we do not miss out on opportunities that would have otherwise been available if not for the impacts of disaster. There needs to be a clear link between recovery and rebuilding and ensuring our “business as usual” areas can work together to deliver. We will be reviewing our current adopted operational plan and presenting to Council some revised plans so that staff resources can be appropriately directed.

Council also has a significant funded infrastructure program, with many projects of critical need to local communities impacted or threatened. We must ensure we have capacity and capability to deliver these projects in as timely manner and where possible ensure they are delivered to meet future needs in a new understanding of emergency response, community need and resilience. These projects include critical transport items such as Towamba Road, the Port connection from Imlay Street in Eden, regional sporting infrastructure projects, water treatment projects, the regional airport as well as a broad and diverse range of other community recreation projects. These projects are critical and we must ensure they are delivered. The NSW State Government also has a number of projects that they are progressing and need to be delivered including the Cruise Welcome Centre, and wave attenuator in Eden, the TAFE Centre in Bega, announced Police facilities and other planned works. These already progressing works for Council and the State are key drivers of local procurement opportunities and we must not lose sight of maintaining this focus to deliver them as a matter of priority.

Building Back Better

One of the clear priorities for all the rebuilding, including those listed above in public infrastructure, environmental works across burnt and impacted areas is to ensure that we build for the future. Many of the critical public infrastructure assets that have been destroyed or damaged can be claimed for rebuild under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and some Council insurances. There is now an element of enhancement funding to DRFA which we must be ready to apply to ensure we build improved infrastructure designed for future needs.

New infrastructure streams have also become available to assist build community, economic and infrastructure resilience. Ensuring that this is leveraged to assist here will be a priority.

Working within all our asset classes we will look to ensure that projects are developed with this approach. For example, when replacing a destroyed community hall we will look to make them centres for the future, make them safe places with capacity to become stand-alone local facilities. This will be scoped in consultation with local communities involved.

Supporting the community rebuild their homes and businesses will also include an opportunity to build back better, to look at new design opportunities and see how this can be supported and funded.

In business sectors across the board it is also critical that we look to the future. How do we ensure we are as resilient as possible into the future? We must work to ensure that critical transport links are in place – north, south, west and that power, telecommunications, new energy sources, water access and capacity and policy reflect a future where resilience and preparedness are built into planning and infrastructure works.

Ensuring agility and capacity to move quickly

One of the key learnings from our previous work in bushfire recovery is that we need to be agile; able to deal with an immediate, operational response; we need to look at streamlining, amending or removing procedures where they do not add value to the work before us. We have been advocating to State Government on this, particularly in the planning area. We have had good feedback and expect that there will be considerable amendments and new ways of working being approved.

A key initial focus for Council has been in ensuring that waste facilities are available to take waste from the soon to be commenced demolition works. Council staff, the EPA and other agencies have worked quickly and expediently to get this work progressed. It has been “all handson deck” with a regional plan covering all waste needs across the nine Councils has been presented up to the State for approval.

Council has been provided a one-off allocation from the Commonwealth Government to assist in having immediate capacity to operationally fund critical needs to assist in recovery. It is imperative that we utilise this appropriately and effectively without time delays. The Government has highlighted this in this announcement.

Our People

We have had a huge impact on the Council staff over the past month.  Council moved staffing into immediately supporting the emergency response and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). This involved significant rostering over 24 hours a day for the extended periods the EOC is operational, this is still ongoing in anticipation that the EOC may need to be stood up to be fully operational at any time. We have staff committed away from their usual roles and dedicated to key tasks, everything from clearing roads, supporting evacuation centres, working on coordinating ADF deployment priorities, managing donations, assisting the Recovery Centre, planning to have new waste capacity approved.

Council staff have also been heavily impacted personally by the disaster to date and many live in areas still under threat. Our priority has been, and remains, focussed on ensuring these people can look after themselves and their families. We have already mobilised critical incident stress debriefing and will continue to monitor all staff as they continue to work to support our community.

The Council’s leave procedure provides ‘an employee, other than a casual, who engages in a ‘voluntary emergency management activity’ leave provisions.

We have also provided discretionary special leave for staff protecting homes or returning to their residence from work, and access to EAP and support and the rolling program of critical incident staff debriefing sessions with external, specialist psychologists. Caring for and supporting our people is the highest staffing priority.

The Office of Local Government, LGNSW and the City of Sydney with all metropolitan Councils are assisting the coordination of professional, technical and operator resources from metropolitan councils to assist fire effected LGAs in regional NSW. LGNSW is also assisting with protocols to guide staff health, work activity and closure of facilities during hazardous air. Council already has staff from Lake Macquarie, Randwick and Wollongong working to assist us with trying to scope and work to address some of the workload faced by local government across the Shire is to deal with recovery, rebuilding and working with the community across a wide range of areas.

Following research, discussion with people experienced in bushfire recovery across Australia and our own experience in emergency events it is proposed that a temporary project focussed team be set up to oversee the bushfire recovery and rebuilding activities for up to two years but reviewed regularly. This is not an excuse to “grow staffing” it is a way to look at ensuring we focus on all currently being done and ahead of us in recovery and rebuilding as well as being able to focus on ensuring dedication to business as usual. There will be significant workload expectations in dealing with unprecedented issues.

The project team would be led by a Project Leader - Bushfire Recovery and Rebuilding. This position would report to the General Manager and oversee all activities in relation to bushfire recovery and rebuilding. This person would facilitate Bega Valley 2020 Bushfire Recovery Committee action plan implementation and through the General Manager liaise with regional initiatives and State activities being coordinated through the Regional Recovery Committee. Under this local Bega Valley committee there are five Sub Committees and several Working Groups.

We are also looking to establish a community reference group and to work with community groups which have already established and continue to evolve in affected communities. These will continue to be supported by the recovery centre and outreach programs through the support service. The Project Leader and team would play a significant role in ensuring a coordinated and collaborative approach to bushfire recovery and to building resilience into everything that we do. Coordination and collaboration between the many government departments, government agencies, community organisations, volunteer groups and community groups, and critically important the interface between bushfire recovery and rebuilding activities and the Council’s business as usual activities (whatever that might look like under a ‘new normal’) will be a key focus.

It is proposed in the first instance that this position be recruited immediately from people who know local government, emergency management and have good community engagement skills. Whilst someone with local knowledge would be preferable, the skill set is more important.

The Project Leader Bushfire Recovery and Rebuilding would be supported by three Recovery teams focussed on driving the local recovery initiatives through direction from the Council, the General Manager and the Bushfire Recovery and Rebuilding Project Leader, the Bega Valley Shire 2020 Local Recovery Committee, sub committees and Working Groups involving Council staff, external agencies and community and business representatives. The proposal is to second current Council staff to lead these project teams and in the short term the full economic development team will move to work in this group. The focus on ensuring local employment opportunities and utilisation of local contractors and businesses will be critical.

Reiterating the sheer size of this bushfire disaster will require dedicated resources to manage recovery of different aspects. The economic impact will be immense to the farming, forestry, tourism retail, and trade and business sectors. The social and human impact will need specialist support and coordination. Finally, the public infrastructure losses, particularly road, bridge, community halls and facilities, water and associated assets will require assessment and renewal in a timely manner. It will be critical to build these back better and to build resilience into everything we do. Private infrastructure losses will be significant and trigger the need to work on supporting this area with adequate staffing to deliver timely turn around in approvals. As outlined above it will be critical that funding available is used to build back these assets and to ensure that they are built back to not just replace the asset but to ensure it is improved and looks to the future.

Given the unique circumstances in several areas of the Shire, (isolation, level of impact, and distance from other service) the Recovery Service is already operating on an outreach model. This provides heavily impacted communities a regular presence by local Council and other agency staff to facilitate a range of activities and functions, also coordinating with Council’s operations and customer service staff in the community. Current Council staff have been moved into roles in this service however additional resourcing will be needed.

There will be resourcing needs in the other directorates to support and deliver on increased need in areas such as building officers, planners, engineers and there will be considerable collaboration between the Bushfire Recovery and Rebuilding Project Team and the other directorates to deliver what will be the ‘new normal’.

This model has been discussed with Councillors, it is a priority to ensure that the Council can respond appropriately to community needs, assist people clean up their sites, rebuild their homes and businesses and for Council to utilise funding reimbursements and grants which are being announced daily from the State and Federal Governments quickly and appropriately.

Financial and resource considerations

The Commonwealth Government announced a $2 billion package comprising:

-      20 Service Australia pop-ups to help with accessing payments and resources.

-      Debt recovery to be suspended for two months in fire zones. 

-      Producer grants for restocking and fences.

-      Small business grants

-      Mental health support.

-      Direct branch of government to aid with rebuilding works

-      Tourism funding

-      Direct support to businesses; and

-      Additional announcements currently being made daily.

The Government also announced an immediate $1m to fire affected local government areas to be expended on employing staff for recovery, fixing damaged facilities, public events, and future resilience including upgrades to evacuation centre etc. This allocation has come from the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) fund with a final program of allocation required to be presented in three months.  Local government areas significantly impacted will have access to additional funding under this program and with the losses in the Shire it could be reasonably expected that Bega Valley will qualify under this aspect as well. It is assumed that the natural disaster declarations will provide funding to replace/repair lost or damaged infrastructure.

As it stands, we are currently faced with the conundrum that we do not have full details on funding streams available to assist in resourcing the recovery and rebuilding needs albeit there is clear broad support in principle from both State and Federal Governments to support communities to recover and rebuild. Council could take the approach of waiting to see what further funding streams State and Federal Government provides or take an alternative pro-active approach and identify and secure the resources needed and then advocate for their financing, recognising that our community needs this support and resourcing regardless of how it is funded. It is anticipated that there may be grant streams that role out as the recovery phase progresses and it is preferential that Council proactively drives what these programs should be to meet on the ground needs.

Some early suggestions and expenditure for the untied $1m include:

-      Allocation to immediate needs to support communities here and now such as covering the Council contribution towards establishment of a Blaze Aid camp; a public toilet facility in Cobargo; commitment to assist expanding a local mobile laundry service; support to assist with an immediate tourism marketing campaign; support for environmental works in the Brogo catchment and the Wonboyn Lake works; cover for the gap between funding for the Recovery Centre provided and exact cost of the provision of the service– there must be a capacity to respond almost immediately to these requests and the Recovery Committee framework allows for a system of identifying priorities and using small funding amounts to leverage positive, critical and immediate community outcomes. Requests are currently needing to be considered daily.

-      Economic stimulus support particularly focussed at assisting local contractors and trades and others ensure they are well placed to take advantage of works that will need to be undertaken in the Shire.

-      An initial contribution to ensuring Council has the staff to deliver the planning, design and streamlining of the recovery and rebuilding process.

The NSW Government has also announced $1 billion to rebuild bushfires impacted communities. The funds will be directed toward repairing and rebuilding damaged infrastructure such as roads, 130 rail lines, bridges, schools, health clinics and community facilities. It is being advocated to the Office of Local Government for adequate resourcing being provided through local Councils to support this and all recovery and rebuilding activities.

The $1 billion is additional to the $200 million already committed by the NSW Government. Again additional funding streams and programs and details are being announced daily.

Council staff have attended workshops facilitated by the Office of Emergency Management to assist us to ensure we capture the funding committed to the fire emergency and State/Federal supported recovery initiatives. There will be a significant reimbursement for employee and plant costs; financial contributions for the replacement and betterment of critical Council infrastructure and capacity to apply for a range of grants.

The establishment of the Recovery Service across the Shire is funded, in part, by the NSW State Government and final clarification on all aspects of this are being finalised. Staff and other resources have been mobilised using the model from Tathra and Districts and with experienced staff.


Funding source



Initially any additional costs for recovery will be attributed to grants programs still being determined

A final breakdown of the $1 million will be presented in March 2020

The level of funding, reimbursements and all other aspects will be reported to Council


$1m initial operational, discretionary allocation to respond to urgent needs and ensure Council responsiveness

Impacts on Strategic/Operational/Asset Management Plan/Risk

Strategic Alignment

Council will be considering a review of the currently adopted 2019/20 operational plan to refocus priorities and the draft 2020/21 plans will be refocussed and readvertised in April 2020.




Council 29 January 2020

Item 12.5


12.5. 2019/20 Bega Valley Bushfire Council rates,charges, fees update     

Council is currently working through finalising the application of various rates, fees and charges relief for individuals and businesses impacted by the 2020 Bega Valley Bushfires.

                                                                                                                                                                General Manager  

Officer’s Recommendation

That Council formally extend its support to the members of our community who have been impacted by the 2019/29 Bega Valley Bushfire disaster and acknowledge the financial hardships faced by many.That Council note that a full report outlining all proposed relief and waivers for rates, fees and charges will be presented at the meeting on 5 February 2020.That Council provide appropriate communications to ensure the community is aware of the commitment of the Council to supporting the community through support by way of rates, fees and charges relief with details to be finalised in early February.

Executive Summary

Council recognises the devastating impact of fire on our community, economy, environment and individual people arising out of current and ongoing fires. In recognising that there is a financial impact on individual people who have been affected, more detailed work is being done to align proposed relief measures provided in 2018. 

To minimise any financial strain from Council on those impacted by this fire as much as is possible, Council is developing a framework for minimising and waiving application fees for: development applications; complying development certificates, waste management, sewer and water fees; and General Rates interest charges. A report for Council’s consideration will be presented on 5 February.

The intent of all fee and charge waivers is to assist residents to maximise the rebuild funds available through their personal insurance policies and Commonwealth and NSW Government support.

The fire was declared a natural disaster by the Department of Justice which triggers a range of support and funding mechanisms for community members and Council.


In 2018 Council provided a range of rate, fees and charges relief to those impacted by bushfires. For this current event, due to its extended impact across the Shire and covering a range of areas and impacts, Council staff are developing a detailed framework relating to areas of Council rating, fees and charging for damaged and destroyed properties.

This will cover consideration of:

·    General rates

·    Waste management charges and gate fees

·    Water and Sewerage Charges

Bill shock and firefighting allowances

Water Fill Stations

·    Development, planning and building

·    Leases and licences for use of Council land/facilities

·    Onsite sewerage Management Charges

·    Interest charges

·    Pension concessions

The Office of Local Government and NSW Department of Planning are also considering rates and charges and fees. These will also be included in the report to 5 February if available in time or added as amendments to Council’s information fact sheets when advised.

Council will undertake media and communications to ensure that residents and ratepayers contact Council with any concerns and that full details will be available next week.