Combining council depots ‘will save money’

GOING: The Dossie St depot would also be sold , under the plan.UNITING all council depots in the one building is estimated to save $310,000 annually.
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Not only will it improve resource sharing and centralise equipment use, it will bring together all operations staff at the one location, senior staff say.

But the total project, slated for completion by October, will come at an upfront cost of $3,280,000 The council had allocated $1 million in the 2015/16 budget for the work.

“The scope of work has since been expanded and more clearly defined to capitalise on the potential benefits,” operations director Matt O’Rourke reported to Tuesday’s council meeting.

Plans have already been drawn up for the Hetherington St depot’s expansion.

The overall project involves relocating staff and plant from the Bourke and Dossie St depots to Hetherington St.

GOING: The Dossie St depot would also be sold , under the plan.

Those buildings and 4000 sqm of surplus land at the pipe yard in River St would be sold off, for an estimated $1.8m.

All operations staff currently at the Civic Centre would shift to Hetherington St.

Mr O’Rourke said this would improve communication, enhance productivity and reduce travel time between the two sites.

He estimated $20,000 in productivity gains annually as a result.

“This will also free up the top floor of the Civic Centre’s northwestern wing for other use,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Other benefits included: – Reduced operating costs through running one depot – estimated at $150,000 annually; – Improved staff resource sharing – across work sites and between supervisors located at the one site; – Skill development and greater mobility between teams, potentially saving $65,000 annually on traffic control; – Centralised management of large and small plant – estimated annual saving – $95,000; – A central store for work crews to pick up supplies; – Centralised and ‘contemporary’ records storage in a new warehouse at Hetherington St.

Redevelopment costs are expected to be $2.4m.

The council will also pay $480,000 for additional land at Hetherington St, partly to relocate the RFS shed, fork out $300,000 to shift the shed and $100,000 in subdivision expenses for the purchased block, bringing the total to $3,280,000. The project would be funded through $2.1m in land sales, comprising three lots sold off from the land purchase, and the ‘surplus’ depots; $700,000 from council land recently sold at Sowerby St; $150,000 already allocated; and $330,000 in uncommitted money from previous land sales.

The council will have to lodge a development application to move the RFS shed. The new depot also requires a DA.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors decided to establish an independent hearing and assessment panel to assess the application.

It will comprise a planning expert and a community representative with local government experience. The mayor and general manager have authority to appoint the members.

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Emergency department waiting times rising at Dubbo

A LARGER emergency department and better equipped staff will help reduce waiting and treatment times at Dubbo hospital, according to Dubbo Health Service acting general manager Graham Dyer.
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The latest quarterly report from the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) revealed waiting times at Dubbo’s emergency department (ED) from July to September increased compared with the same time last year.

Waiting times remained level for emergency patients, with half of them seen within nine minutes, while half of urgent patients were waiting four minutes longer compared with 2014 figures.

Half of semi-urgent patients were seen within 38 minutes, up from 27 minutes, while half of non-urgent patients started treatment within 31 minutes of presenting at the ED.

Mr Dyer said staff at Dubbo’s ED are faced with some unique challenges due to the large catchment area and distance between facilities.

“At times delays in logistics, such as patient transfers and distances have led to a greater length of stay in ED, which in turn reduces the availability of ED beds and increases waiting times,” Mr Dyer said.

“Increases in activity and acuity, i.e., the number of and level of presentations to the ED, have caused a very slight increase in wait times, which have affected the urgent and semi-urgent waiting times.

“Overall the wait times in Dubbo are better than the state average, and we are very proud of this.”

Stages three and four of the hospital redevelopment will help improve treatment times, Mr Dyer said, and the hospital is “aiming for patients to be treated sooner through some other strategies”.

“We are currently recruiting a more regular medical workforce and steering away from locum or agency doctors, allowing for more consistency,” Mr Dyer said.

“Increased education and training of the triage nursing staff in Dubbo ED, allowing them to order x-rays and initiate medications, will also assist in the reduction of waiting times.”

Patients themselves are being asked to help out, by asking themselves “is my urgency an emergency?”

“Patients should in a first instance see their GP if it’s not an emergency, therefore allowing the ED to treat emergency cases in a timely fashion,” Mr Dyer said.

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Licencing audits carried out in Dubbo this week

WESTERN NSW venues will be audited this week to make sure they are complying with their licence conditions and the state’s liquor and gaming laws in the lead-up to the Christmas period.
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Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) director of enforcement and compliance Anthony Keon said audits would focus on venue management and operating procedures.

“The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing as well as NSW Police conduct targeted inspections of licensed venues across the state to ensure they are operating responsibly and in line with community expectations,” he said.

“This includes ensuring proper management and operating procedures are in place to support responsible service of alcohol and prevent intoxication of patrons, as well as other potential harms. This is particularly important with the upcoming busy festive season.”

Mr Keon said licenced venues in Dubbo, Narromine, Gilgandra, Trangie, Warren and Wellington would be among those that could be inspected.

OLGR inspectors would help licensees and venue managers review their business practices and procedures and recommend improvements where necessary.

Inspectors would focus on responsible service of alcohol, responsible conduct of gaming and ensuring venue staff had proper accreditation. It would also focus on what alcohol management practices were in place to prevent intoxication, management of patron behaviour, target irresponsible liquor promotions or activities and include what measures were in place to prevent the sale of alcohol to under 18s.

“These audits will ensure venues have suitable controls in place to ensure responsible trading and compliance, and will assist in the identification and targeting of any high risk activities that can contribute to alcohol-related harm, including violence,” Mr Keon said.

“The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing as well as NSW Police conduct targeted inspections of licensed venues across the state to ensure they are operating responsibly and in line with community expectations,”

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Extra security measures coming for Dubbo courts

Two extra Sheriff’s Officers and screening “as needed” are part of strengthened security measures at Dubbo Courthouse.
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NSW attorney-general Gabrielle Upton announced the appointment of 40 new Sheriff’s Officers across the state in September, saying it was part of the government’s counter-terrorism response.

In recent weeks airport-style screening has greeted people entering the precinct at Dubbo on various days.

NSW Justice on Tuesday confirmed the measure was part of a statewide investment in strengthening court security.

“Forty new Sheriff’s Officers have been recently been appointed to further strengthen security at key courthouses in NSW,” the spokesperson said.

“Two of the new Sheriff’s Officers are based at Dubbo Courthouse.”

The NSW Justice website advises that many courts have airport-style security at the entrance to prevent unauthorised items being taken into the court premises, while “temporary and random scanning operations are held from time-to-time in courts without permanent screening points”.

On Tuesday the Justice spokesperson said security scanning was “carried out as needed at the entrance to Dubbo Courthouse”.

“Most items confiscated aren’t illegal and can be returned to court users when they exit the building,” the spokesperson said.

“Any illegal items seized will be handed to police.”

The department also had advice for the community to make the process run as efficiently as possible.

“People attending court should leave sharp objects and any other unnecessary items at home,” the spokesperson said.

As well as performing screening and other security roles, Sheriff’s Officers are responsible for administering the jury system and enforcing a range of court orders.

During trials, Sheriff’s Officers provide support for jurors.

There was strong competition for the 40 new positions across NSW, with the Sheriff’s Office receiving more than 400 applications.

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Debutant a staying prospect

Godolphin trainer John O’Shea may have unearthed an autumn three-year-old fillies contender in Asinara after her debut victory at Kembla Grange on Sunday.
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PROMISING: Sam Clipperton was on hand to guide Goldolphin filly Asinara to victory at Kembla Grange on Sunday. Picture: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛

A daughter of Teofilo, Asinarasurged away from her rivals under the urgingsof jockey Sam Clipperton to claim theKathy O’Hara Fillies & Mares Maiden Plate (1400m).

“She travelled really well in the run and got to the front way too soon but he has got a lot of staying potential,” Clipperton said after the win.

“She went right to the line.

“She will take a great deal out of that today.”

Clipperton was midfield at the top of the straight but had light trouble rounding up the leaders.

He extended nicely over the final furlong to score by 1-½lengths over Peter and Paul Snowden trained four-year-oldAnthology.

James Cummings’Hot Streak was third.

It was an impressive display first-up over the 1400m.

Stable representative Darren Beadman said Asinara would be better suited over the ‘mile and a quarter or mile and a half’.

It makes races the ATC Oaks a desirable option if the filly can continue to improve off the debut victory.

“She has got a long way to go [to those big Autumn races] but what she showed today, she has got a lot of scope and room for improvement,” Beadmansaid.

“John usually lets the horses do the talking and we will take little steps at this stage, but she couldn’t have been more impressive.”

The Illawarra Turf Club’s Kembla Classic (1600m) in March is also an option for three-year-old fillies.

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Unions question show costs

SHOW HOLIDAY: Hunter Workers says businesses complaining about the cost of a show holiday are forgetting other sacrifices made by employees. Picture: SIMONE DE PEAK.HUNTER employeeswere donating up to$3 billion a year inunpaid overtime and deserved a Newcastle Show holiday, Hunter Workers secretary Daniel Wallace said on Sunday.
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Mr Wallacewas responding to Newcastle Show Association’s decisionto backthe city’s business community and withdraw its request for a Friday public holiday for the 2016 show.

COSTS BOTH WAYS: Hunter Workers secretary Daniel Wallace.

He said a recentreport by the Australia Institute showed full-time workers typically doingsix hours overtimea week, with part-timers doing four hours.This meant the Hunter’s 300,000-strong workforce was losing about$3 billion a year.

“Business likes to highlightthe costs of the holiday but it’s a dark picture when it comes to the cost burden borne by workers,” Mr Wallace said.“It’s time for employers to look at the bigger picture if we are to get the work-life balance right.”

Hunter Workers is the new name for the region’s peak union body,Newcastle Trades Hall Council.

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Retailers must adapt to change

When I was studying at uni, I worked for a major electronics retailer. It gave me a first-hand look at how retail worked before the Internet changed everything.
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Back in 2001, eBay was yet to acquire PayPal, which would revolutionise the way online trading was done. We were sitting pretty, competing only with other major retailers and growing sales year on year.

However, the Internet has a way of democratising everything, as we soon found out. Toward the end of my retail career, we were seeing people asking for prices and comparing them with online stores. We were paying for real estate, utilities, staff and stock all so someone could come in, have a look, then buy it elsewhere.

It was a consumer behaviour which would come to be known as ‘showrooming’ and it had a devastating impact on businesses like footwear and small-goods electronics where products were made overseas and exported to multiple global markets.

Years later, I’m working in a completely different industry, but still one adapting to the way the Internet has changed the way people consume everything. It’s neither better nor worse, just different.

We need to embrace change, roll with the punches and find a way to be viable into the future. Paul Pierotti once told me it was about “bricks and clicks”. The world is in a constant state of change, we just need to try and hang on as best we can.

-STEPHEN MUDD

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Quirk helps Aussies to title

CHAMPIONS: The Australian Women’s Sevens team celebrate their grand final victory in Dubai. Picture: Getty ImagesTALENTED Wagga athlete Alicia Quirk has helped Australia to victory in the Dubai Sevens.
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The Australian Women’s Team enjoyed the perfect start to the season with a 31-12 victory over Russia in the final on Saturday.

The Aussies went through the two-day event undefeated.

They enjoyed wins over Spain (29-7), Japan (49-0) and England (24-7) on the opening day of the tournament.

Australiathen overcame New Zealand (15-12) in the quarter-final and France (26-0) in the semi to set up a showdown with Russia in the final.

Australian coach Tim Walsh paid tribute to his team.

“The entire Women’s program deserves this result,” Walsh said.

“We’ve trained hard over the past three years but particularly over the past three or four months.

“It was our day today but it was by no means a fluke. We showed composure and an ability to solve problems on our feet – just like we did in the Cup Final when we fell behind early in the second half.”

Australia were dealt a tough draw with a clash against New Zealand in the quarter final and Walsh believes that win was a decisive moment.

“The win over New Zealand set the tournament up for us,” he said.

“It’s always unbelievable to beat them. I say that out of respect as, in my eyes, New Zealand is the pinnacle of rugby union.”

Batlow’s Sharni Williams, the Aussie captain, missed the final with a knee injury.

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MAMA plaque request granted

NOTABLE OMISSION: Cr Darren Camerons’s name is missing from the Murray Art Museum Albury plaque.ALBURY councillor Darren Cameron has won his battle not to havehis name includedon theMurray Art Museum Albury plaque.
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The plaque has been erected in recent timesand lists all councillors except Cr Cameron, who has been a long time critic of the project going ahead without NSW Government funding.

MAMA was officially opened by member for Farrer Sussan Ley on October 2 and Cr Cameron also snubbed the ceremony.

The official plaque has been erected at the QEII Square entrance to MAMA nearly the recently opened restaurant.

Cr Cameron was incensed Albury ratepayers had to pick up the shortfall when the state government didn’t match the $3.5 million provided by council and the federal government.

“With the failure of the state government to deliver its portion of the funding I don’t believe it is something Albury should have invested in so heavily at this time,” he said.

Albury mayorHenk van de Ven said he accepted Cr Cameron’s position.

“It was his choice,” he said.

“It is one of those democratic things where you had a 5-4 decision and everyone needs to support that decision.

“But he was entitled to request his name not be on the plaque and that is what has happened.

“Who knows if he regrets it down the track andI think Darren has moved on.

“But I am proud of the project and wanted it delivered for Albury, so I amhappy to have my name on it.”

The MAMA redevelopmentblew out by $700,000, but the result was cushioned by the federal government chipping in another $300,000.

More than $1 million was raised in philanthropic funding.

The councildid receive $134,000 from Arts NSW for the MAMAdesign and a further $83,500 last year.

But the council and federal government logos are the only ones inscribed onthe plaque.

General manager Frank Zaknich and directors Michael Keys, Brad Ferris, James Jenkins and Tracey Squire are also included on the plaque.

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Land sale out of order: Saville to GM

DOUBTS: Goulburn Mulwaree Council is buying more land to consolidate its Hetherington St depot. Cr Robin Saville has raised concerns about the process. Cr ROBIN Saville has accused the council’s general manager of exceeding his authority in making a land purchase offer.
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The matter came to a head at Tuesday’s meeting at which councillors discussed consolidation of three council depots into one.

The logistics involved purchase of a 10,420 sqm property in Hetherington St, near where the single depot would be located.

The land, just over the road to the depot’s north, would be specifically used to relocate the RFS shed, and the surplus sold off. This is turn would allow the depot’s expansion.

Operations director Matt O’Rourke reported to the meeting that a council offer of $480,000 for the parcel had been accepted, subject to councillors’ agreement and a 14-day settlement on or before December 3.

It had been placed on the market for $565,000 but the council offered a lesser amount after obtaining a valuation.

It all came as news to Cr Saville, at least. He asked Mayor Geoff Kettle whether he knew about the offer either before it was made or afterwards. “No, not before I read it in the (council meeting) report,” Cr Kettle replied.

Cr Saville said he was concerned with the process and asked general manager WarwickBennett under what authority he had acted.

Mr Bennett said it was one of the options discussed at an earlier councillor workshop.

“I understand it is normal practice for a general manager to be able to make such offers, but I don’t have the authority, and don’t pretend to have authority to purchase land without council consent,” Mr Bennett said.

“…I made it very clear (to the vendor) that this was subject to a council resolution.”

Mr Bennett argued this was not unlike the draft annual budget in which numerous line items proposed by staff were brought to councillors for a final decision. Moreover, he maintained the price would have increased if council had waited.

Cr Kettle, too, declared that in his other council activities, including on the SCA and Southern NSW Local Health District boards, purchases were regularly put forward for final sign-off.

But Cr Saville didn’t agree the workshop gave Mr Bennett the authority:

“The process was wrong. It was back to front,” he told the meeting.

“The GM should not have made an offer on land, leaving council in ignorance. I am very concerned about the probity of this and have expressed this to the Mayor.”

He said he’d considered the potential advantages of one depot, following on from the workshop. But he believed the “significant” costs outweighed the benefits, especially when “so much was unknown over the next 12 months, with council reform.”

“Further, this is the old story of government: centralisation followed by decentralisation and then the circle turns and we are back to centralisation. And the poor old ratepayer pays for it all,” Cr Saville said.

He told the meeting that the council was starting from the premise that the Hetherington St depot was not big enough.

“Thus, the recommendation is that we buy more land to fit everyone in,” Cr Saville said.

“So we sell land we own (the Bourke St depot) and then buy a larger block and then sell part of that land to offset costs. Why sell land in Bourke St that could well be used in future? It is valuable and central land and should be retained.”

Mr O’Rourke had proposed that three lots of the Hetherington St block could be sold off for an estimated $300,000 to offset the depot’s cost because the council didn’t need the entire parcel.

But Cr Saville said the council hadn’t even decided what to do with its Clinton St building, currently leased to Corrective Services.

“Let’s not jump the gun,” he said. “The next council can decide if rationalisation and consolidation are necessary. I will finish by saying that this council has sold a lot of property since 2012. The rationalisation has now reached council depots and I believe we should pause for breath.”

The entire project is expected to cost $3,280,000.

Councillors approved the depots’ consolidation, with Cr Saville the only dissenting vote. Cr Margaret O’Neill was an apology for the meeting

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