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.”
“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.”
Muswellbrook Shire Council gives notice of public exhibition of the Regional Entertainment And Conference Centre concept.
At the Extra Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday 25 October 2017 Council resolved to exhibit the proposed Regional Entertainment And Conference Centre concept for a minimum period of 28 days.
Muswellbrook Shire Council gives notice of public exhibition of the draft concept for Denman Memorial Hall restoration concept.
At the Extra Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday 25 October 2017 Council resolved to exhibit the proposed concept for Denman Memorial Hall restoration concept for a minimum period of 28 days.
Muswellbrook Shire Council gives notice of public exhibition of the concept for Stage 1 Muswellbrook Olympic Park masterplan.
At the Extra Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday 25 October 2017 Council resolved to exhibit the proposed concept for Stage 1 Muswellbrook Olympic Park masterplan for a minimum period of 28 days.
The below Draft Public Art Policy is on public exhibition until 4.30pm, 20 December 2017.
This policy may also be viewed at Muswellbrook and Denman libraries and the Council Administration Centre.
All interested parties are invited to inspect the exhibited documents and make a written submission:
Post: General Manager, PO Box 122, Muswellbrook NSW 2333
For further information on the Public Art Policy please contact Council’s Manager, Community Services on 6549 3796.
Olympic Park Oval 1, Highbrook Park Oval 1, VictoriaPark Oval 2, Weeraman Fields Oval 1 in Muswellbrook, and Denman Recreational Grounds Oval 1 will be closed during the period Monday 26 March to 20 April 2018 whilst Council completes an over sow program.
This benefits of over sowing of Ryegrass is that it provides an actively growing cool season grass cover that will help provide a safe, high quality playing surface whilst normal warm season grass types are dormant.
This will minimise the heavily worn playing surfaces normally encountered in this region with our warm season grass types.
There is only a 3 week period from the time of sowing the seed until the field is reopened, minimising the disruption to users.
Although the main fields will be closed you may use the alternate field or if an issue contact Council to discuss an alternative venue.
Muswellbrook Shire is changing and with change comes new opportunities and challenges.
To help prepare for the future, Council will instigate a Community Panel method of community engagement, called a community panel, from 04 November to 02 December, 2017.
The Customer Satisfaction Survey of 400 residents, completed by Jetty Consulting in August, asked each resident if they would like to be part of a Community Panel. Of the 400 surveyed, 150 residents have agreed to take part in the random selection process, based on demographics to ensure a balanced panel.
Of these, thirty-five people have been randomly selected to take part in three meetings with Council.
The Community Panel will be armed with information on the opportunities and challenges faced by Council after they first meet in early November for a day-long introduction to council through a series of presentations by senior staff.
An insidious disease has taken its toll on a local icon and plans for a replacement are already underway.
The Lone Pine in Simpson Park had suffered a significant decline in health and Council Parks staff, after constantly monitoring and providing additional water and other nurturing treatments to the historic tree, sought urgent advice from an expert.
On Friday morning arborist Hugh Taylor, from Australian Tree Consultants, confirmed what Parks staff feared – the tree is dying and beyond treatment. Mr Taylor believes the sudden demise is due to Pine Wilt Nematode (Bursaphelenchus Xylophilus).
The Muswellbrook Lone Pine will be removed and existing soil replaced and sterilised by sunlight for a period of three months. Drip line irrigation will also be installed at the site in preparation for replanting.
The Lone Pine species, Pinus halepensis, is known to be initially fragile and requires considerable care to ensure the tree survives and thrives. A replacement has been sourced by the Muswellbrook RSL Sub Branch from Yarralumla Nursery in Canberra, where the seedlings are propagated.
The original Lone Pine, also known as the Aleppo Pine, was a solitary tree on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey and marked the Battle of Lone Pine in 1915. The pine was the only survivor of a group of trees cut down by Turkish soldiers who used the timber and branches to cover their trenches during the battle.
Two pine cones were brought back to Australia, one by Keith McDonald of the 23rd Battalion and the other by Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith of the 3rd Battalion, who, grieving the loss of his brother in the battle, sent the pine cone home to his mother.
The cone and its seeds were kept in a drawer for around 13 years before an attempt was made to grow some trees, of which two survived.
One was planted at the Australian War Memorial and the other at Inverell, in northern NSW. Each year seeds are carefully collected from the Lone Pine growing at the memorial to produce much sort after offspring – one of which is making its way to Muswellbrook.
Over the last 18 months Muswellbrook Shire Council has helped local sport and community groups to realise their goals for equipment and facilities through its Small and Large Capital Grants Program.
And once again Council is pleased to announce a funding pool of $25,000 for Small Capital Grants and $100,000 for Large Capital Grants in a new round of grants.
The grants program, initiated in 2016, is in addition to Council’s General Recreation Program, which looks after fields, facilities and playground renewals and upgrades.
The Small and Large Capital Grants Program gives local groups an opportunity to apply for matched funding to improve or replace sport and recreational equipment and facilities. Grants are available on a matched funding (dollar for dollar) basis up to value of $2,000 per project for Small Grants and $50,000 per project for Large Grants.
To date, Small Grants have been used to provide new fridges, a PA system, scoreboards, a defibrillation unit and long jump pits. Large Grants have been used for mowers, sun shelters, seating and lighting.
The Capital Grants programs came about after a recommendation from Council’s Sport and Recreation committee to assist with improvements to community facilities. The concept aims to create tighter bonds between Council and user groups and community building within the user groups through group based fund raising meetings and events. It also anticipates a greater sense of pride and interest in the facilities.
Applications for the current round of funding ends 30 November 2017
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.
Spring is about to arrive - and alongside what is the favourite season for many - the magpies.
With their intense devotion to protecting their nests and young, magpies are often feared or perceived to be an annoyance at this time of year.
And sometimes we forget that magpies are a unique part of living in Australia and that their intricate and melodic song and busy social activities are a source of relaxation and entertainment.
In the intervening time, however, living in harmony with magpies in spring can be easily achieved by taking some simple precautions.
Nelson Burand-Hicks, Sustainability Officer at Muswellbrook Shire Council, explains:
“The magpie’s territorial behaviour relates to it sometimes seeing us as a threat to its nesting success. The best way to alleviate this threat is to keep the magpie at peace. Not disturbing or harassing the birds is key and taking a temporary alternate route when walking or riding causes less stress to people and the magpies alike.”
If residents are in areas of magpie activity, they are reminded to keep their safety a priority. Wearing a wide brim hat and sunglasses while walking, or wearing a helmet, sunglasses and fitting a bike flag to your bike while riding is advised.
“As with every year, this territorial period will pass, and we will be rewarded with watching new magpie families enjoying the urban and natural areas in our community. Keep clear of territorial magpies as much as possible and they will keep clear of you.”
Magpies are protected throughout NSW and it is illegal or harm or kill magpies or their young. Particularly territorial magpies should be reported to Muswellbrook Shire Council on 6549 3700.
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.
- Construction complete – 20 July 2017
- Signage installed – 24 July 2017
- Receptacles delivered – 04 August 2017
- Start accepting materials – mid August 2017
- Formal Opening – TBA 2017
You didn't get a brochure?
Please take our quick online survey
Please take this 5 minute survey about recycling attitudes within Muswellbrook Shire
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.
Image: Logan Hartmann meeting Working Dog for the first time
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.
Muswellbrook Shire Council is excited to share an artist’s impression of the soon to be renovated Loxton House. Loxton House is now the home of the Upper Hunter Innovation Hub.
Council’s Manager Property and Building Services, Matthew Lysaught said:
“This is the next stage of Council’s plans for the Upper Hunter Innovation Hub following the launch in December last year and an official opening planned for later this year once renovations are complete.”
Working in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, Loxton House will be one of the University’s I2N network of innovation hubs across the Hunter Valley.
The Hub will feature office pods, shared meeting facilities and the latest technology in audio-visual services to support innovative businesses in the Shire.
Current tenants include local business Final Form Regen and Conservation Volunteers Australia.
“Council is making every effort to foster economic diversity in the region and we’re keen to hear from local start-ups or existing businesses that are interested in occupying a space in the Hub”, said Mr Lysaught.
For further information, please contact Matthew Lysaught on 6549 3730.
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.
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.
Weather permitting, during late October, November and early December, resealing works will be carried out over a number of Muswellbrook Shire urban, rural and state road sites. Prior to the carrying out of the work, affected residents will be notified by letter drop advising of the date upon which the work will be carried out.
The ‘Active Over 50’ program is designed to help people aged 50 and over to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.
The activities at Muswellbrook and Denman Aquatic Centres that carry the Staying Active logo have been developed specially for people aged 50 and over and are low-cost exercise options provided by trained fitness instructors. The options at our centres include:
• Gentle exercise in our gym every Monday at 9:30am.
And lap swimming.
If you’re interested in learning more and staying fit, join others at the pool for sessions listed above.
Please complete our fitness survey before you start and let your doctor know that you are starting a new exercise routine.
Don’t forget that we offer discounts to pensioners!
Rate payers of Muswellbrook Shire are asked to provide their views on priority projects that will improve services to residents, stimulate the local economy, provide new entertainment opportunities for the community and attract visitors to the region.
Council has continued to pursue the ambitious set of priorities captured after extensive community consultation and reflected in the Muswellbrook Community Strategic Plan.
To fund the implementation of these projects, Councillors unanimously resolved to place two options before the community for feedback.
The first option includes a permanent, one-off increase of 12.5% (18.5% for mining rates, both including the 2.5% rate peg) from 2018/19 which will fund:
Improvements in stormwater management, particularly in Denman
Upgrades to Muswellbrook’s Olympic Park precinct [ exhibition notice ]
A new Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre [ exhibition notice ]
Additional support for job creation across the Shire.
The second option will increase rates by the anticipated 2.5% rate peg. Council’s present works program will continue within existing resources.
Martin Rush, Mayor of Muswellbrook, said:
“Council has carefully considered community priorities and now asks local residents to let us know their views on these options. Council has no preconceived views on the options. We will continue to deliver balanced budgets and the high standard of services and infrastructure our community expects of its Council.”
Cr Steven Reynolds, Councillor Spokesperson for Community Engagement said:
“The options Council is asking the community to consider will deliver significantly improved facilities to all the families that use the popular Olympic Park venue. It will increase car parking and enhance road safety. Council has worked closely with Olympic Park user groups and they solidly support the proposal.”
Cr Jason Foy, Councillor Spokesperson for the Arts said:
“Council has listened to the community over the last twelve months and refined the original concept for a regional performance space. We are eager to get feedback on the new Entertainment and Conference Centre proposal. It will add a new level of entertainment, performance and recreational opportunities for our Shire’s local families. As well as this, it will bring visitors from the wider region and new economic activity.”
Have Your Say:
Council is seeking your feedback on this proposal in a number of ways.
By participating in the random telephone survey if you are called by Jetty Research. They will ask you questions to see what your awareness of the projects is and your opinion.
Write to Council at PO Box 122, Muswellbrook NSW 2333
Leave a comment on Council’s Facebook page
Participate in a ‘Listening Post’ feedback session being conducted at the locations:
12:00pm - 2:00pm, 21 November 2017 Muswellbrook Fair
12:00pm - 2:00pm, 24 November 2017 Muswellbrook Marketplace
12:00pm - 2:00pm, 27 November 2017 Denman (Ogilvie Street)
The consultation has confirmed ongoing community support to cement Muswellbrook as the Regional Centre for the Upper Hunter – with the infrastructure to match – such as an Entertainment and Conference Centre and quality regional sporting facilities.
Whatever the outcome, Muswellbrook rate payers will continue to pay amongst the lowest rates in the Hunter region.
Do you know someone who deserves recognition in our community? It could be that they excelled in sport, art, agricultural science or environmental care? Perhaps you know someone who has done wonderful things for the Muswellbrook Shire community? If so, nominate them for an Australia Day Award.
Nominations close midnight 03 December 2017.
Nominate online from 18 September 2017, or pick up a nomination form from the Council Administration Centre.
How to make your nomination
- Complete your nominee's details and reasons why you think this person/team is deserving on an Australia Day Award. You may upload a picture or document to support your nomination (maximum 2mb).
- Provide referees who can support your nomination.
- We then ask for your details, this is so we may contact you if we have questions about your nomination. We will let you know when your nomination has been successful too.
- After nominations have closed a judging panel will assess all nominations to determine the most deserving awardee for the year.
- If your nominee is successful they will hold the title for the rest of the year, and may be invited as a special guest in relevant community events throughout the year.
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.”