Council’s future strategy was outlined recently in its ‘Fit for the Future’ submission to the State Government in which it stated that it would not be increasing rates by 45% like Newcastle Council, and would stay under the State cap.
• It would rely on income from its investments in The Cabbage Tree Sand Mine, the Newcastle Airport and its Holiday Parks to fund its future needs and address its $29 mill Infrastructure and maintenance backlog that grew by another $3 mill last year alone.
• Projected returns from the Newcastle Airport in the past have been optimistic to say the least and TRRA has serious doubts about the viability of the recent investments in the Holiday Parks and their projected returns. TRRA is also aware of some serious legal challenges that Council may be facing in the near future which may have major financial consequences.
• There may be serious environmental challenges ahead for the Cabbage Tree mine and the Council’s budget. The WSRA Group (Williamtown and Surrounds Residents Action Group) are concerned about the effect on the Tomago water supply, native wildlife, traffic and noise issues and the plan to mine the sand using a dry method of filtering/extraction which may pose a serious health risk. There are many questions to be asked about the tender of this mine which will be covered in a major investigative article HERE.
Geoff has authorized us to publish this Press Release covering these issues.