Join us as we celebrate the Australia Day Citizens Awards Ceremony from 8.00am to 12.00pm at Muswellbrook Indoor Sports Centre, Rutherford Road. The Muswellbrook & Denman Aquatic Centres will have Free Entry for the day. 11:00am-4:00pm the Muswellbrook Shire Council and Apex Australia will host a free BBQ lunch at the Muswellbrook Aquatic Centre with fun activities for the kids including a petting zoo, giant inflatables, face painting and jumping castle, come along and join in the fun.
PRIZES: Painting Prize $50,000 (Acquisitive); Works on Paper Prize $10,000 (Acquisitive); Ceramics Prize $10,000 (Acquisitive); People’s Choice Prize $1,000 (Non-Acquisitive).
DATES: Entries open ; Entries close Midnight 27 January 2019; Finalists and adjudicator announced from 1 February 2019; Finalists works delivered by 22 February 2019; Opening night and announcement of prize winners 9 March 2019; Exhibition 10 March to 5 May 2019.
ADJUDICATOR: Will be announced along with the finalists 1 February 2019.
ENTRY COSTS: Painting Prize $45 per entry; Works On Paper $25 per entry; Ceramics Prize $25 per entry.
For further information contact:
Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre
Corner of Bridge & William Streets │ PO Box 122 │ Muswellbrook NSW 2333
Submissions are invited on the Muswellbrook Shire Council Long Term Financial Plan 2019-29 which has recently been reviewed and is now on public exhibition until Thursday, 24 January 2018. All submissions will be considered by Council prior to the adoption of the reviewed Plan. Submissons should be addressed to:
Muswellbrook Shire Council
PO Box 122
Muswellbrook NSW 2333
Reviewed Long Term Financial Plan 2019-29 document is available at this link.
Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook shire councils are inviting local businesses – big and small - to participate in a free economic development initiative that is a joint collaboration between the two councils.
The ‘We LIVE Here’ cards will work like an EFTPOS gift card once loaded, and will only be able to be used in the two shires, ensuring local expenditure and economic development for the region.
The project is a drought relief initiative. Australians are contributing to help those impacted by the drought with deliveries of water, feed and essential supplies. The cash donations are now able to be funneled by charities to We LIVE Here gift cards and provided to those in need as a result of the drought.
The more participating businesses we have, the greater choice individuals will have in how to use the funds.
The cards can also be individually purchased as an option for Christmas gifts. The We LIVE Here card can been purchased by large companies as staff Christmas gifts, ensuring widespread use and a lack of stigma as a charitable aid.
The cards can be loaded with funds from $10 to $1000, can only be loaded once (no top ups) but can be used multiple times or spent all at once. They expire after three years. Purchasers can check card balances online or by phone, and registered cards can be replaced if lost.
The project will be rolling out in the week beginning 19 November 2018 and local businesses are encouraged to register to activate their EFTPOS machine to accept the cards. Council will provide participating businesses with promotional aids to advertise their acceptance of the investment cards.
Please download the business registration form here
Last year, Muswellbrook Shire Council applied for a permanent increase in rates across the Shire to fund a number of projects and programs identified as community priorities. The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approved Council’s application for one year and IPART has invited Council to apply for the continuation of the Special Rate Variation (SRV) and to include it permanently in the rate base.
Council is progressing with the program of works approved for funding by IPART. In order to see those projects through to completion, Council proposes to apply again to IPART to continue the SRV into the future.
Council is applying in line with the timetable set by the NSW Office of Local Government Guidelines. These Guidelines advise councils on how to seek a rate variation and require applications to be submitted to IPART by early February 2019.
Council is now seeking your feedbackon the continuation of the SRV. To better understand your thoughts on this matter, Council has commissioned Jetty Research to conduct a telephone survey of at least 500 residents to gauge the level of community awareness of the proposed continuation. Calls will commence from Thursday, 18 October 2018.
You will be asked to indicate a preference between the following:
Option 1: A continuation of the Special Rate Variation – continuing permanently in the rate base IPART’s approved one-off Special Rate Variation for 2018/19 of 14.73% (including 2.3% rate peg) and increasing the 2018/19 rate base for 2019/20 by IPART’s 2.7% rate peg.
In return you will get:
An additional allocation of $300,000 per year for stormwater drainage and $100,000 per year for roads and parks asset maintenance programs.
Development of the Olympic Park Sports Precinct and the Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre with a combined value of $26,010,000 made up of:
an SRV contribution of $11,800,000;
grants of $10,500,000;
voluntary planning agreements contributions of $3,710,000; and
annual operational maintenance and net yearly operational contributions of $700,000
Please note: if the above grants and voluntary planning agreements are not received or if the amounts received are less than the figures above, one or both projects may be suspended, reduced in size or cancelled and the Special Rate Variation will be revisited, and ratepayers informed of any material changes.
An additional $250,000 towards the Job Creation program and $62,000 to offset a shortfall in rating revenues arising from a change in NSW Government policy with respect to biodiversity offsets.
Option 2: Discontinuation of the Special Rate Variation – the Special Rate Variation of 12.43% (excluding 2.3% rate peg from 2018/19) will not be continued in 2019/20 and your rates will return to the pre-SRV rating amount, which will be adjusted only by IPART’s 2019/20 rate peg of 2.7%.
In return for this option:
There will be no additional funds available for stormwater drainage, roads or parks.
The development of the Olympic Park Sports Precinct and the Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre will not proceed.
No additional funds for the Job Creation program and no recovery of rates for mining biodiversity offsets.
Have your say on the proposed continuation of the Special Rate Variation
A telephone survey of residents will take place from 18 October to provide you with the opportunity to give your feedback on the continuation of the SRV and the proposed projects.
The General Manager
Muswellbrook Shire Council
PO Box 122
Muswellbrook NSW 2333
It is important that you have your say. Provide your feedback by 29 November 2018 to ensure it is included in Council’s application to IPART.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Special Rate Variation?
A council may apply to the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Variation (SRV) to their rates. Muswellbrook Shire Council did so last year and was granted a one-off increase and invited to apply for its continuation in 2019/20.
Didn’t Council apply for a Special Rate Variation last year?
Yes. Council made an application for a permanent increase in rates last year to fund:
improvements in stormwater management, particularly in Denman
upgrades to Muswellbrook’s Olympic Park precinct
a new Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre; and
additional support for job creation across the Shire.
IPART approved the application for one year and has invited Council to apply to continue the Special Rate Variation into the future, to ensure the full delivery of these key community projects and programs.
What is the SRV process?
The Office of Local Government establishes the guidelines, which are available at www.olg.nsw.gov.au.
The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) asses and determine each council’s application under powers delegated by the NSW Minister for Local Government.
In order to proceed with the projects and continue the SRV as approved by IPART, Council seeks feedback from the community on the proposed continuation and the projects and programs it will fund.
What am I providing feedback on?
Will financial hardship be considered in deciding to continue with the SRV?
Council has a long history of supporting residents who experience financial hardship, including those who may have a reduced capacity to pay their Council rates. This policy setting will continue and be extended to any approved change in the rating structure. While Council does not expect that the continuation of the SRV will result in a significant number of applications, those that are received will be considered against the criteria of the policy. Generally, the policy aims to provide assistance where possible, in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005, to those ratepayers who are experiencing genuine financial difficulties in paying their rates and charges. Council also has the power to approve assistance in exceptional circumstances beyond the standards set in the policy document on a case by case basis. Earlier this year, Council elected to not pass on the SRV to farmland ratepayers in view of the prolonged drought conditions and increased the Pensioner Rebate to eligible ratepayers to cover the impact of the SRV.
What are the projects proposed for funding and why do we need them?
Improved Stormwater Infrastructure
Council’s stormwater drainage network began life in 1950 and remains to this day not fully developed. Together with the network’s age, this has resulted in a decline in its overall condition, capacity, ability to manage pollutants and control erosion and sedimentation. The pipe network consists of concrete pipes and box culverts.
Council has undertaken a comprehensive audit of the system to identify areas of need. The results are out in the following plans:
Denman Drainage Strategy;
Merton Street Drainage Design
Denman Drainage Strategy Review and Upgrade Options
Industrial Estate Drainage Design
Possum Gully Drainage Study
Bell Street Catchment Study
Mill Street Catchment Study
St Heliers Street Drainage Study
Safety Review of Detention Basins
With the support of the community, Council will be able to provide funding for an ongoing program of works to improve stormwater management across the Shire.
Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre
After speaking with the community about the original concept, Council has incorporated your feedback into an updated plan and presented it to the community for comment as part of last year’s SRV application.
The new concept for this project includes a 500 seat theatre, stage, orchestra pit, back of house and associated car parking for Muswellbrook’s CBD. The facility will be capable of hosting travelling performances, local productions and regional conventions.
Council has held an architectural competition for the design of the Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre and entries are currently on public exhibition and you are encouraged to have your say on how the facility will look. It is proposed to be constructed at the site of the Brook Street Plaza and Council will work with existing tenants to facilitate relocation before any work commences.
A master plan was developed for this popular and well utilised precinct, in close consultation with user groups. The proposed upgrades include:
Improved, safe access
New car parking
Additional vehicle and bus connections
Better cycleway and pedestrian connections
Design work for a regional standard grandstand to attract larger sporting fixtures.
Has Council sought funding from the Government for these projects?
Yes. Council has applied for funding from the NSW Government to contribute to the upgrade of the Olympic Park Precinct and for the Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre, totaling around $10 million. Both funding proposals are dependent upon the continuation of the SRV being approved.
Voluntary Level 1 Water Restrictions Now in Place.
While Muswellbrook Shire Council does not have an imminent water shortage it is conscious of, and sensitive to, ongoing drought conditions and possibly an extended bushfire season and wishes to encourage the community to use water effectively and sustainably. In addition, neighbouring rural areas are facing potable water shortages and Council, in partnership with local Lions Clubs, is supplying free water to be carted to farming families to top up domestic water tanks. In order to support these measures Voluntary Level 1 Water Restrictions have been adopted. It is estimated that water use can be reduced by approximately 5 percent when Voluntary Level 1 Water Restrictions are in place.
Muswellbrook Shire Council adopted the Denman Town Centre Master Plan on 8 November 2016 following an extensive and extended consultation process including community consultation, meetings with key stakeholders and individual businesses. Key elements of the plan were to identify a main civic node, consider traffic flow, safety and improve connectivity. In the 2018-2019 budget Council allocated $2.5 million to begin the upgrade and dedicated $1.94 million to reconstruction of Memorial Hall.
Ogilvie Street will be reconstructed providing for new road pavement and kerb and gutter; widening of footpaths; implementation of a one-way flow of traffic (Palace to Paxton Street). The project includes construction of a two way service road with carpark at the southern side of the town centre; improvement of stormwater drainage; replacement of old water mains; construction of parking bay for long vehicles in Paxton Street and the redevelopment of Memorial Park.
Redevelopment of Memorial Park will include an event lawn, paved plaza area, space for public art, enhancement of the existing memorial; new amenities and a new play area for children.
Reconstruction of the Memorial Hall, whilst maintaining the heritage value, will be built to a modern standard, be fully air-conditioned and include the addition of a bar, back of house, retractable tiered seating and cinema projection facilities.
The renewal of the streetscape and provision of off street parking will have a positive impact on the Community due to improved parking availability, accessibility and amenity of public spaces.
Reconstruction of the Memorial Hall will re-establish an important venue for community, social and entertainment events whilst enhancing the use of the building with modern design which do not detract from the heritage values. Involving the Community and Stakeholders Council will continue to keep the community informed.
Denman Town Centre Upgrade
Kellie Scholes Phone 6549 3756
Denman Memorial Hall
Dennis Fernandes Phone 6549 3743
December 2018 updates:
The following works commence December 17th
Completion of concrete footpath at Palace Street end of the new car park
Reinstatement of disturbed sections of road and temporary sealing and tidy up
Connection of water services to properties and removal of temporary water mains
Stormwater drainage construction at the eastern end of Ogilvie St (between Paxton and Palace St)
Works will recommence in the street in early February with the construction of the road.
November 2018 updates:
5 November drilling commenced under road
10-11 November under boring near the levee
12-13 November – Detailed Excavation
14 November – Detailed Excavation & Inground Services
15 November – Detailed Excavation & Mezzanine Construction
16 November – Mezzanine Construction
19 November – Preparation for Concreting & Inground Services
20 November – Concreting Works
21-23 November – Concreting Works & Timber Framing
October 2018 updates:
24-26 October carpark sealing
22-26 October continuation of demolition and propping of Denman Memorial Hall
22 October commencement of temporary water main installation and preparation works for new water main construction Ogilvie Street
8 October the demolition works start at the rear of the Denman Memorial Hall to enable reconstruction to commence as per publicly exhibited plans
8 October the demolition works start at the rear of the Denman Memorial Hall to enable reconstruction to commence as per publicly exhibited plans.
27/9 removal of trees in Ogilvie Street (between Paxton and Palace Streets) in preparation for future water main construction
Carpark earthworks for pavement construction
Project update information session – 9am Friday 21 September
NOTICE OF WORKS IN DENMAN – Wednesday 19th September – Carrying out investigation for underground pipes and drainage
Carpark construction underway with piped drainage and pits within adjoining properties
Project update information session – 9am Friday 14 September
Project update information session – 9am Friday 7 September
August 2018 update:
Project update information session - 9am Friday 31 August
Carpark drainage construction commenced
Denman Memorial Hall Design and Construct Tender has been awarded to contractor, project is progressing and works will be starting soon. Further communications will be published when program of works and commencement date is confirmed
Work is commencing 21 August on Stage 1 - Carpark
July 2018 update:
Commencing soon will be the construction of service road and carpark at southern end and upgrade the water mains.
Works have begun to remove the steel pergola from the front of the façade at the Memorial Hall. The structure will be relocated into storage before being reconstructed at a new location in Denman.
The Denman Town Centre Landscape Concept, Civil Concept and Long Vehicle Parking Paxton Street Concepts are available at the following links.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issues environment protection licences to the owners or operators of various industrial premises under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act). Licence conditions relate to pollution prevention and monitoring, and cleaner production through recycling and reuse and the implementation of best practice.
Muswellbrook Shire Council’s sewage treatment facilities, water treatment facilities and waste facility are subject to NSW government legislation that requires approval for their sustainable operation.
Below are quick links to the latest EPA Licences monitoring results.
Muswellbrook Shire Council has welcomed the announcement of $4.5 million for community projects for the Muswellbrook Shire in the second round of grants from the Ridgelands Community Fund.
Established last year as a condition of the 2013 mining exploration licence granted to Ridgelands Coal Resources, the $5 million fund aims to invest in the development of communities in which the company operates.
Last week, Ridgelands Coal Resources amended its deed poll establishing the Community Fund Investment Committee to remove the company’s right of veto of decisions of the Committee. Council commends Ridgelands on this decision, which has allowed the remaining funds to be released for 27 community projects.
Council, together with Ridgelands and the Community Fund Investment Committee community members met on Monday this week to allocate the remaining funds and Council is delighted with the funding outcomes.
Mayor of Muswellbrook Martin Rush said: “Some of the recipients have been fundraising for years and years to get their projects off the ground. To know that these allocations today will make it possible to progress those projects to completion is simply fantastic.
“This is a great range of social, cultural, economic and environmental projects, which will greatly improve the liveability of our Shire, particularly in the Wybong, Denman, Sandy Hollow, and Ridgelands areas.
“Council congratulates Ridgelands on resolving this matter and disbursing the remaining $4.5 million.”
The Ridgelands Community Fund Investment Committee approved the following projects:
Muswellbrook Aquatic Centre Learn to Swim Pool ($700,000);
Muswellbrook Black Box ($500,000);
Denman Childcare Centre ($470,000);
Denman Memorial Hall ($400,000);
Denman Main Street Masterplan ($400,000);
Wybong Community Hall ($350,000);
Denman Pony Club Canteen Complex ($341,000);
University of Newcastle Upper Hunter Campus – Stage II ($300,000);
Denman Hospital – staff accommodation ($216,000);
Sandy Hollow Hall ($158,000);
Denman and District Heritage Village – Expansion ($155,331);
Family Action Centre – Stage I Polyclinic ($120,000);
Upper Hunter Community Services Toy Box Mobile Outreach Service ($65,871);
Upper Hunter Riding for the Disabled – Arena completion ($50,000);
Denman District and Development Association – Denman News ($40,114);
Where There Is A Will – teacher training ($40,000);
Wybong Hall Committee – Community Workshops ($33,450);
Muswellbrook High School P&C – Canteen upgrade ($30,000);
Wyong Rural Fire Service – mobile telephone tower feasibility ($25,000);
Zone 7 Pony Club Incorporated – camp ($15,000);
Sandy Hollow Progress Association – Masterplan of Honey Lane block ($10,000);
Sandy Hollow Progress Association – Cattle Initiative ($10,000);
Hunter Region Landcare Network – Sandy Hollow outdoor classroom ($7,518);
Muswellbrook RSL Amateur Swimming Club – Dolphin Swimming System ($7,500);
Muswellbrook Girl Guides – Glenalla Revegetation Project Stage II ($5,000);
Transcare Hunter Limited – Muswellbrook Seniors Expo ($1,744); and
Muswellbrook Little Athletics – Discus cage ($1,100).
Today, Mr Michael Johnsen MP announced $24,420 for a new fence for Denman Memorial Park.
Mr Johnsen was approached to fund the project by Mr Paul Freeman, the former President of the Denman Business Chamber. Mr Johnsen further claimed that: “local government was not able to assist”.
Council spoke with Mr Freeman in October last year and wrote to the Denman Business Chamber in January this year noting that:
“Mr Freeman’s request for a white and maroon fence was unlikely to be approved as it was inconsistent with the Public Domain Manual Style Guide for Denman but that the fence would be replaced (consistently with the Style Guide), in any event, as part of the Denman Master Plan at some stage.”
The Denman Masterplan works will commence on 1 July 2018. The Denman Memorial Park works and wider Denman Masterplan will create a fantastic new streetscape in Denman and provide much desired improvements to the Town’s War Memorial.
Council has already committed $2.5M to the works and the State Government has shortlisted a further $2.5M of funding from Resources for Regions to the project.
Council was aware that Mr Freeman had contacted Mr Johnsen as the State Member but did not receive any correspondence from Mr Johnsen prior to him issuing his release.
Michael Johnsen is to be congratulated for finding $24,420 and Council will continue to work with the Community to realise the Denman Town Centre upgrades, including refurbishment of Memorial Park.
Muswellbrook Shire Council’s strategy for the future was under the microscope when the Community Panel met for the second time. The panel convened with councillors and senior staff members to discuss, in particular, Council’s application for a special rate variation.
Council canvassed panel members about their participation in the meeting
What have you learned by participating on the Community Panel?
“I’ve been learning about the vision that the Council has for the town. They’re working on the viability of our town.”
What have you enjoyed most about your experience so far?
“I enjoyed meeting the Councillors outside an election period. They were happy to answer questions and interact with the panel.”
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“People need to give the Council a bit more credit for what they’re doing and they’re vision. If people as a whole had the information that we have now, they’d have a more positive perception of the Council. I think the Community Panel is a really good concept.”
What would you like to tell people about your experience on the Community Panel so far?
“I’ve learned a lot about all of the work that Council’s doing. I didn’t know about it before.”
What have you enjoyed most about participating on the panel?
“It was good to meet the Councillors in person and have a say.”
What have you learned by participating on the Community Panel?
“Muswellbrook is in for an exciting time – an exciting future.”
What have you enjoyed most about participating on the panel?
“Learning about what’s going on behind the scenes. It will revamp the town.”
What did you think about meeting the Councillors?
“I worked with a couple of the Councillors at Mt Arthur and they share the same concerns for the town that I do. We need to ensure Muswellbrook continues to grow and prosper.”
How would you describe your experience on the Community Panel?
“I’m getting to know what our Council does, what they’re planning to do and about their vision for our Shire. I’m getting involved with our Council.”
What have you enjoyed about participating on the panel?
“I’m enjoying the information and the interaction with real people, who are our Council.”
What did you think about meeting the Councillors?
“I’ve enjoyed being able to ask questions and make suggestions. I think we have a really exciting Council, with exciting plans for our Shire.”
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“We didn’t plan to stay here [in Muswellbrook] forever, but it looks like we will now. It’s the people who make Muswellbrook.”
The NSW Police Force is currently undertaking a review of the State's regional policing command structure. Among the proposals under consideration is the splitting of the Hunter Valley command in two, with Scone and surrounds to be absorbed by the Tamworth-based Oxley command. The other half would be taken in by the Maitland-based Central Hunter.
Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook Shire Councils today called upon the NSW Government to retain the Hunter Valley Local Area Command (LAC) and its headquarters in Muswellbrook.
Mayor of Upper Hunter Wayne Bedggood said:
"The communities of the Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook shires are very closely connected. We share common natural boundaries and a well-integrated road network". "Splitting the command will fragment these commonalities and put at risk issues such as response time to emergencies and emergency management in general" he said
The two councils share resources in times of emergency and the NSW Police have an absolutely critical role in emergency management during those times.
Mayor of Muswellbrook Martin Rush said: "We have had a close and enormously beneficial working relationship with the Hunter Valley Local Area Command over a long period of time.We have been involved in joint initiatives to combat a range of anti-social behavior and crime."
Those initiatives have included a range of rural specific issues such as stock theft, search and rescue in National Parks, graffiti management and alcohol management – through an Upper Hunter Liquor Accord (across the whole Upper Hunter). The two councils coordinate, as an Upper Hunter Region, with the LAC and other Upper Hunter State agencies, issues around health, family violence and social inclusion – taking a whole-of-government approach to dealing with these issues in the Upper Hunter.
Mayor Wayne Beddgood said:
"I am reassured by the comments of the Police Minister who has indicated that it is "very highly unlikely that such a move will take place."
The Police Minister Troy Grant said on radio 2NM today with respect to the amalgamation of the Hunter Valley LAC with Central Hunter LAC that 'no decision has been made' and that he is yet to be presented with a formal proposal.
The Minister confirmed it was 'highly unlikely' that the Hunter Valley LAC would be merged with Central Hunter LAC based in Maitland:
CENATIEMPO: Can you categorically rule out that Hunter Valley will become part of Central Hunter?
GRANT: It's highly unlikely. I can't rule anything in or out as I haven't been presented with anything... until I get something presented to me with an argument for or against anything... I can't rule anything in or out cause I don't know what potential it will look like ... it's just very highly unlikely.
"Whilst the review of regional command structures for the NSW Police continues, it does not remove the fact that police numbers in the Hunter Valley command are still at least ten officers short", Mayor Bedggood said.
"Any review of policing in the Upper Hunter must reaffirm the need for additional police numbers to ensure that our communities meet the benchmark set for regional policing across New South Wales. For instance, the Hunter Valley LAC remains the only non-coastal regional command without a Rural Crime Investigator", Mayor Rush said.
Both councils urged their communities to report instances of criminal activity to ensure that crime statistics properly reflect the situation on the ground and which will support the need for additional police resources for the region.
Muswellbrook Shire’s new Community Recycling Centre for Household Problem Wastes is almost ready! Are you?
You may have received the Community Recycle Centre (CRC) information brochure in your most recent rates notice – this brochure gives you details of all the items you will soon be able to drop off for FREE at the CRC.
The facility will be operational and ready to accept your Household Problem Wastes within the next few weeks, however we have still some time before we are able to celebrate an official opening.
This project was supported by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.
Working dogs have long been an important part of the Muswellbrook Shire’s history – and the latest incarnation has found a permanent home at Campbell’s Corner.
The design was submitted as a possible successor to replace the Blue Heeler statue opposite Loxton House – the original landmark, a source of local pride and sometime shenanigans, was deemed to be at the end of its life and in need of replacing.
While Newcastle-based artist Tanya Bartlett’s design was not chosen to replace the ailing “Hunter’ it gained many admirers – and was subsequently acquired by Council.
General Manager Steve McDonald said that while it wasn’t the submission chosen as a replacement, the sculpture was so captivating that Council wanted to find a permanent home for it.
“Council feels it will make an excellent addition to that space” he said.
The Australian cattle dog, commonly called the Blue Heeler, was bred by Thomas Hall at Dartmoor, a large property about 12km north of Muswellbrook, in the 1840’s. Seeking a hardy dog capable of coping with the harsh conditions of the Australian bush he crossed a dingo with a Northumberland Blue Merle and was instrumental in the development of this iconic breed.
The original statue was erected in recognition of the cattle dog’s contribution to Australian rural life and the development of our Blue Heeler in the Hunter.
In its new home at Campbell’s Corner this latest “Bluey” continues the legend.
Muswellbrook Shire Council has exchanged contracts to purchase the Muswellbrook Marketplace.
Council’s acquisition of the Marketplace will provide a wide range of opportunities to improve the connection between the Marketplace and Muswellbrook’s Main Street, which has been a long standing community priority of the Town Centre Masterplan.
Councillor spokesperson for Finance, Scott Bailey said: “This significant purchase represents a game changer for Muswellbrook’s town centre.
Additionally, Council, in consultation with the Muswellbrook and Denman Business Chambers, will appoint an independent Future Fund Board to provide advice and strategic guidance about the Future Fund’s business and education holdings, including the Marketplace, and to ensure that key day to day commercial decision-making is rigorous, of high quality, and fully compliant with our obligations to competitive neutrality.
“Council expects the Marketplace to return around 6.7% of its capital value each year, and we will work on improvements to the building to attract new and diverse retail opportunities and customers to the town centre.
“Council is committed to being a best practice landlord and will immediately commence engaging with tenants with a view to undertaking a significant but staged renovation of the building.”
The acquisition of Muswellbrook Marketplace for a total purchase price of $34.25M aligns closely with the strategic objectives of the Muswellbrook Town Centre Strategy and Council’s Future Fund.
Muswellbrook Marketplace will be held as part of Council’s Future Fund and will be funded principally by debt with some equity. The contract includes a 90 day settlement period.
We encourage tenderers for the new Recycle Water Treatment Works (RWTW) to develop and promote business and industry within the Muswellbrook Local Government area. To enable this Council seeks to give consideration to the procurement of goods and services that may be supplied by local suppliers. Tenderers are required to demonstrate commitment to this goal by contracting part of the works to local subcontractors and procuring materials required for the contract from local suppliers.
Construction at the Muswellbrook Recycle Water Treatment Works (RWTW) continues to progress, with expectations for the commissioning of the new treatment facility in the second half of this year. Decommissioning and demolition of the old facility will continue into early 2019. Current construction is within budget - while meeting design, quality and safety expectations.
Following the construction of the walls of the process reactor (IDEA tanks) witnessed in the video above, water tightness testing is progressing, with much of the mechanical infrastructure beginning to be delivered to site. Assembly of the electrical switchgear and testing has occurred and testing of the control systems is underway. The 3 Megalitre final reuse water reservoir has been constructed with testing to be performed in the near future.
All attempts are being made to utilise local suppliers and contractors from the Shire to enhance local economic development. Construction is progressing well and in accordance with design approvals given by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Authority.
The Recycle Water Treatment Works is mainly funded by MSC, with a portion of funding provided by the NSW Government Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIFF).
03 November 2017:
Aerial footage of construction of the Recycle Water Treatment Works at Muswellbrook between August and October 2017.
Construction of Muswellbrook's RWTW between August and October 2017
04 October 2017 Update:
Muswellbrook Shire Council is progressing well with the Construction of the new RWTW. The project is on schedule and cost, whilst satisfying quality, safety and other expectations.
In September, the significant milestone of pouring the post tensioned single pour slab of the main process reactor (IDEA tanks) was undertaken. This innovative construction technique proceeded as planned and with all risks mitigated. Mark Tildsley – Downer’s Project Manager explained “The concrete base pour marks a significant project milestone in the construction of the Muswellbrook Recycle Water Treatment Works (RWTW), a world-leading recycled water treatment solution that will see long term economic and sustainable benefits for the local community. Local suppliers delivered more than 800 cubic meters of concrete and in close partnership with Muswellbrook Shire Council and the Downer team on the ground. The day ran smoothly with no incidents or injuries.”
Timelapse: Pouring 800 cubic metres of concrete for the new Muswellbrook Recycle Water Treatment Pl
The pouring of the slab was the largest single concrete slab pour ever performed for Council, utilising 116 deliveries of concrete from a fleet of 20 trucks, and 2 crews of over 40 workers. All adjacent residents were advised of the increased truck movements and the early start on 5 September 2017 at 03H00. Work continued through the day and was completed by 18h30.
This construction activity was a great success largely due to extensive planning and good communication with all Stakeholders i.e. concrete suppliers, Highway Patrol and RMS regarding other traffic movements on road for the day. Fatigue management of the crews was managed by ‘job rotation’, ensuring there were sufficient employees on the job at all times to keep the pour ‘live’, but still ensuring the crew got appropriate breaks.
The RWTW is mainly funded by MSC, with a portion of funding provided by the NSW Government Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIIF).
25 August 2017 update:
Good news; Muswellbrook Shire Council is progressing well with the Construction of the new RWTW.
Downer Utilities Australia was awarded the contract in May 2017 and has to date established on site and completed the majority of the bulk earthworks activities. Initial concrete pours commenced in early August and steel reinforcement has been placed for the Intermittent decanting extended aeration (IDEA) process tank structures.
The big single slab pour is planned for early September 2017, where the post tensioned slab will be constructed. To enable this continuous single concrete pour, which is envisaged to take 10hrs, planning has been performed including traffic routes for the delivery of concrete to the works site, at the corner of Skellatar Stock Route and Denman Rd.
Weather permitting, it is planned that Concrete trucks will be hauling concrete to site via Thomas Mitchel Drive and Denman Rd on 05 September 2017 between 3:00am and 12:30pm.
It is not expected that the delivery of concrete will cause challenged to motorists, nevertheless, motorists are advised to use caution when traveling in the vicinity of the Thomas Mitchel Drive, Denman Rd and Skellatar Stock route. Traffic control will be available and truck movements will be monitored on the day.
Muswellbrook Shire Council is pleased to present a concept design for the proposed restoration of the Denman Memorial Hall.
The historic Denman Memorial Hall suffered significant damage from a fire on 28 December 2015. The interior of the building was extensively damaged by the fire while the heritage exterior has been confirmed as being structurally sound. The design sees the restoration of the hall into a multi-purpose centre.
The building in Ogilvie Street, in the heart of Denman's central business district, commemorates those who died in service or were killed in action in World War One and is a heritage-listed feature of the town.
A large part of Council’s Sustainable Futures Program is The Sustainability Hub. The Hub, located on Wilkinson Ave, is set to be a hive of activity throughout 2018. A number of community groups are planning a variety of events at the Hub. Muswellbrook Shire Council’s Sustainability Unit manage the Hub but rely heavily on community support.
Throughout the year The Muswellbrook Penguin Garden Club, Muscle Creek Landcare, Goodstart Learning Centre, Warrior Disability Services, Endeavour Group Australia (EGA) and Muswellbrook Girl Guides will be involved in activities based around sustainability. Muswellbrook Shire Council will also host a variety of workshops on practical sustainable living.
The Muswellbrook Penguin Garden Club, meet monthly, and are planning workshops and working bees on pallet wall gardens, worm farms, composting, healthy food gardens, healthy eating and lots more. The Penguin Garden Club, auspiced by Council, grows local food for local charities and has a composting and worm farm system. The group is featured on the cover of the local 2018 Yellow Pages in recognition of the work they do and received Council’s environmental award at the 2018 Australia Day Awards. The group has established 15 garden beds and has successfully gained grants and other donations to support daily operations. In partnership with Red Door Kitchen, Warrior Disability Services collect food scraps for composting and the food grown in the garden is donated back to the kitchen. Another local disability services group EGA runs the worm farm for the garden club.
Muscle Creek Landcare, meet the first Saturday of each month and will continue to plant and maintain native plants along the creek, collect litter and hold nursery activities. Goodstart Early Learning Centre and Muswellbrook Girl Guides will help by sowing seeds and growing and looking after plants.
Other groups involved in the Sustainable Futures Program at the Sustainability Hub are:
Hunter Valley Aboriginal Corporation (HVAC)
“Its where people with interest in gardening get together and learn from each other, we all have differing knowledge and skills and we all share a similar passion. We all care about our community and giving back in some small way, too. We run workshops on various subjects to learn and teach each other and to share knowledge, it’s a great experience”. Ross Pahuru, General Manager, Hunter Valley Aboriginal Corporation.
Penguin Garden Club
“Teaming up with the Sustainability Hub has provided the Girl Guides with easily accessible, hands-on experience to explore sustainability in their day to day lives. Assisting in our aim to “empower girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting and responsible community members” Sally Jackson Unit Leader – 2A Muswellbrook Guides. - Muswellbrook Girl Guides
“Having moved from North Queensland, for me, spending time at the gardens has enabled me to learn about composting, saving and planting seeds and growing plants in a cold climate. Working with others in the community has enabled me to meet some great people and make new friends”. Muriel Green, Penguin Garden Club member.
Goodstart Learning Centre
"As the need for greater sustainability becomes more apparent globally, so does the importance of embedding sustainability in our children's programs. Through these hands-on experiences, we are able to involve our children in opportunities such as this to explore and learn about their local environments. Practicing sustainability empowers children to construct knowledge, explore values and develop an appreciation of the environment and its relationship to their worlds. This lays the foundations for an environmentally responsible adulthood." Stacey Goodall, Preschool Teacher, Goodstart Early Learning Centre.
Muswellbrook Out of School Hours Care
Muswellbrook Pre School
Warrior Disability Services
Brookside Christian School
To celebrate Water Week 2017, Council's Sustainability team have released their version of snakes and ladders. The game is actually 'Hoses and Ladders' and illustrates water saving habits in a fun and interactive way!
Print the file in A3 and use a dice, and tokens of your choice. And don't forget, be waterwise! :-)
Muswellbrook residents may have noticed some colourful characters appearing on their wheelie bins.
They are the “Waste Wranglers” introduced as part of Muswellbrook Shire Council’s waste education program.
Max the Minimiser, Reece the Recycler and Gene the Gardener are delivering important messages a reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill.
All recyclable material collected from households in Muswellbrook is taken to the Material Recovery Facility at Gateshead. Here, the recyclables are sorted and separated and then sold to a variety of markets.
The State Government imposes a waste levy on Council, so any material put into landfill attracts a cost and avoiding landfill is a high priority.
There are also many other benefits of recycling. Putting recyclable material into landfill also means using more raw materials which wastes a lot of natural resources such as energy and water.
“The Council puts a lot of effort into recycling because it makes economic and environmental sense. We want to give honest feedback to the community that recycling is important and help them make the right choices” Mick Brady, council’s sustainability officer for waste, said.
Council will continue to use the Waste Wranglers as part of their ongoing War on Waste education program.
Keep a look out for the Waste Wranglers! They are here to help you get your rubbish SORTED.
These characters will be appearing, as stickers, on random wheelie bins throughout Muswellbrook in coming weeks and have an important story to tell.
The characters will be launched during Keep Australia Beautiful week (21-27 August) and have been created to help educate the community about what rubbish goes into what bin.
“Max the Minimiser” “Reece the Recycler” and “Gene the Gardener” will be used to deliver important messages about reducing the waste that goes to landfill.
Mick Brady, Council’s Sustainability Officer – Waste said
“We hope the Waste Wranglers will be a popular way of getting the message across about sorting waste and the benefits to the community of not sending waste to landfill. To kick off our War on Waste campaign we will be putting Max, Reece or Gene on bins along with a message about what goes in the different bins”.
Council will use the Waste Wranglers as part of their ongoing War on Waste program.
Ask us about the free tailored activities the SUSTAINABLE SCHOOLS SUPPORT PROGRAM offers to your school. The program can include presentations, workshops, demonstrations, audits, special events, tours and more!
Muswellbrook Shire Council’s 40% renewable energy target is another step closer with the implementation of a carbon neutral pilot project at the Muswellbrook Indoor Sports Centre.
After assessing the centre as suitable for a “Carbon Neutral” pilot project, Council’s Sustainability Unit began looking at ways to reduce the energy consumption. As a result the Centre has had a major technology upgrade.
This upgrade included the installation of new LED lighting to replace high energy use fixtures in the centre resulting in cutting electricity usage in half.
Council is also installing a 10 KW solar and battery storage system at the centre to generate and store its own energy, to potentially take the facility completely off the grid and not be reliant on external power.
Mark Scandrett (Councils Sustainability Coordinator said
“As the centre is used mostly at night, three Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries are being installed to store solar power generated during the day so that the centre can run during the night without drawing any power from the grid.”
Council will run a twelve month trial of the system to be sure that the solar and battery system provide enough power before disconnecting the facility from electricity grid which save Council hundreds of dollars each year in network charges.
As extra environmental benefits and to make the building completely Carbon Neutral, underground rain water storage tanks have been installed to supply water to the bathrooms and landscaping undertaken using low water use plants.
The Sustainability Unit hopes to roll out further carbon neutral projects on other Council owned properties in the near future.
After a period of dormancy Muscle Creek Landcare group is again up and running, fighting against weed infestation and helping native ecosystems in the heart of Muswellbrook.
Muscle Creek Landcare was first formed in the mid 90’s by long-time member Stephen Thatcher, who has confirmed he will be on hand to work with the group. The Landcare group have, historically, secured funding and worked on a wide range of projects, including weed removal, native plantings and bank stabilisation works.
Council’s Sustainability Officer for Landcare Nicholas Alexander said: “It’s great to get this group active again. They did so much for the creek, and continued involvement by the community will ensure it has a healthy future”.
Denman local Rebecca Sowter is the new group supervisor and has high hopes for a restored Landcare group. “I am really excited to be part of the group and show the community what Landcare has to offer”.
The Muswellbrook Shire Council has been instrumental in the revitalisation of the group and has supplied equipment for their activities.
Muscle Creek Landcare meet at Fitzgerald Park at 10:00am on the first Saturday of every month.
For more information or to be involved in future Landcare projects contact Nicholas Alexander, Councils Sustainability Officer for Conservation and Landcare on 6549 3708.
Monday 5 June is World Environment Day aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of the environment to society and the economy. Muswellbrook Shire Council is taking the opportunity to urge the local community to be aware of the actions they can take that will not only help their local environment but will also help their hip pocket. The council is also working on reducing the environmental impact of council’s operations.
Some of council’s initiatives include increasing the amount of solar power council uses, implementing water efficiency programs, completing large scale revegetation of Muscle Creek and launching a renewed war on waste program.
Muswellbrook Shire Council Sustainability Coordinator Mark Scandrett said “We are hoping the community will support our programs as they will help reduce costs in the long term and make this a better place to live”.
On 16 May ABC TV will air a three part series on the enormous and increasing problem of waste in Australia. At the same time Muswellbrook Shire Council Sustainability Unit will launch its own War on Waste with a renewed focus on tackling a range of waste issues.
A new Sustainability Officer has been employed at Council to focus on a range of waste reduction projects. Muswellbrook Shire Council Sustainability Officer – Waste, Mick Brady said:
“Waste is an increasing problem in Australia. By reducing our waste we can save a lot of money. The average Australian household throws out over $3000 per year of food products. On average up to 40% of a household bin is food.”
Council’s War on Waste program will investigate all aspects of the waste stream from all sections of the community. This involved looking at where our waste comes from and what can be done to reduce it.
Council is interested in undertake a range of local projects as part of the war on waste, such as; Introducing public area recycling in town, implementing and supporting community gardens, conducting a waste education program for schools and undertaking a food waste reduction program”.
If you are interested in any of these programs please contact Muswellbrook Shire Council’s Sustainability Officer for Waste, Mick Brady team on 02 6549 3794.
Singleton Council and Muswellbrook Shire Council have received joint funding of $84,000 from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to undertake a 2017 wood smoke reduction campaign commencing this month.
The announcement comes after the councils conducted a successful joint program last year.
The funding will enable both councils to provide further education to the community about the health impacts of wood smoke and correct operation of wood heaters, and to encourage the replacement of older wood heaters not compliant with today’s standards.
The EPA recognises that wood smoke is a major contributor to poor air quality in the region during the winter months.
Muswellbrook Shire Council Sustainability Coordinator Mark Scandrett said:
“The EPA recognises that wood smoke is a major contributor to poor air quality in the region during the winter months.
“Fine particulates in wood smoke are a concern because they pass through the throat and nose and into the lungs where they can cause respiratory and circulatory problems, especially for the young and elderly, or people with existing medical conditions such as asthma.”
To improve air quality in the upcoming winter months, Singleton and Muswellbrook councils have rebate programs in place for both flue cleaning and wood heater replacement.
Singleton Council Director Planning & Infrastructure Mark Ihlein said:
“Now is the time to take action to reduce the amount of smoke generated by your wood heater.
“For a limited time, Singleton and Muswellbrook councils are offering a $50 rebate when you get your flue cleaned professionally, as a clean flue allows your wood heater to burn more efficiently, producing more heat with less smoke.
“Both councils are also offering a $1500 rebate to replace your wood heater with a less smoky form of heating, such as air conditioning.”