Council Elections Postponed Until December

The NSW Government announced a new date for the Local Government elections has been set for Saturday 4 December 2021.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the decision, after extensive consultation with and advice from the NSW Electoral Commission and NSW Health, has been made in response to the COVID-19 situation.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current Public Health Orders impacting Greater Sydney, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Local Government elections until later this year,” Mrs Hancock said.

“We have taken this step to postpone the election to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities, voters, polling staff and candidates.”

The NSW Government has worked with the Electoral Commission and NSW Health to implement a comprehensive plan to allow voters to cast their ballot safely in person, by post or online.

iVote (electronic voting) will also be available for the first time in the local council elections and the NSW Government has implemented changes to pre-poll to ensure that voters have 13 days to cast their ballot, reducing congestion on polling day.

The NSW Government has made available a total of $57 million for the elections in 2021, including $37 million to deliver them in a COVID safe way.

In this election, 5.2 million voters will cast their ballots as around 5,000 candidates vie for 1,200 councillor positions across 125 local councils.

Nominations will open on Monday 25 October 2021 and close on Wednesday 3 November 2021.

Prospective candidates can find more information at the Office of Local Government website at www.olg.nsw.gov.au.


What is important to you in the coming council elections?

By Rich Evans 

Candidates are starting to announce their teams and their platforms for election, and now is the time to find out exactly what the community feels is most important for the coming election.

The Central West Village Voice has received a number of press releases from candidates, but supplied content of this nature makes it hard for the community to compare Apples with Apples. Additionally, now that we cover two regions, we need to clearly identify who is in each respective race.

Major change coming in the regions and we need leadership that accepts that, understands it and is prepared to do something about it. 

The old days of Council being about rubbish and roads are gone. we need Councils that understand the need for whole of community strategy so the social, environmental and economic futures are as much a part of the planning as the infrastructure and resource management.

Both Lithgow Council and Bathurst Council have had their share of very public issues in the past, however, the work done by the respective Councils in recent times through drought, bushfires and COVID are testament to the fact that the executive and staff in these institutions are making the best of their situations.

Lithgow is seeing a resurgence in popularity with new stores and cafes opening, Portland has become a hub for the arts and culture and Bathurst continues to be a world class event superhero, even despite the most recent interruptions.

WIth elections just 6 weeks away, this latest COVID impact on our region could not come at a worse time. The usual door knocking and meeting the people may not be possible this election, so we ask the question of you our readers, what is important to you?

ASK YOUR QUESTION

Send us an email to editor@villagevoice.net.au or find us on Facebook and let us know what your question for your region is. We will collate these and then offer all candidates the opportunity to respond in a concise fashion starting in the next issue on 5 August.

Exciting Developments at Cooinda

Since taking over Cooinda Aged Care home (formerly Lithgow Aged Care) in April, Respect has conducted an extensive review into the operations of the home to unearth what the major factors causing the history of non-compliance at the home have been. Our number one priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of the residents. 

One of the major issues with the home is the current condition and standard of the Tanderra building, which is currently home to 21 residents. Tanderra was originally constructed in 1991, and the aged care standards have changed a lot from this time, so that now the building has reached a stage where significant works are required to bring it up to modern standards. Therefore we have made the decision to close this building, to ensure that we can provide residents with the best possible environment. 

The residents that are currently living in Tanderra will all be re-homed on-site at Cooinda aged care, either in a room in one of the existing buildings or the brand new building that is due to be opened in the coming weeks. New General Manager, Zeina Ormond, has been busily coordinating the resident moves and noted that the feedback from residents and families has been positive. 

“The families have been extremely supportive, it’s an exciting time. We have some residents moving into the new building, with the remainder having been allocated their own private room in Cooinda. The journey begins today for 2 residents moving to Gillard.” 

According to Beverley, the representative for the residents in Tanderra,  

“It’s sad to say goodbye to Tanderra, but we are really looking forward to a new beginning and journey at Cooinda.” Bev will be moving the week of the 21st June 2021. 

Respect Property and Sales Manager Michael Griffin said, 

“The new building was completed 12 months ago, but due to the accreditation issued faced by the previous operators, it is yet to be used for residents. We are excited to be able to start moving residents in the new building over the coming weeks, as it is in an extremely impressive building that represents an exciting design and fit out.  Once we have re-settled all of the current residents, we will be in a position to take new residents in the improved facility.”

“There was a great deal of development planning done by the previous operators, and we are currently working on a site masterplan to determine what is the most efficient and effective vision for the site. The decision as to what happens to the Tanderra building will form part of the masterplan, but we feel that there is certainly potential for it to be transformed and used in the future.”

A recent visit from the accreditation auditors revealed that a great deal of progress had been made in a short time at the home, and although there is still a lot of work to be done, the future looks bright for Cooinda. 

Supplied by Respect

Respect Aged Care is a not for profit organisation providing residential aged care services across New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.  Our homes are now in thirteen communities across Australia and we employ approximately 1000 employees.  To learn more visit www.respect.com.au 

EnergyAustralia excited about pumped hydro possibility near Mt Piper

EnergyAustralia has today announced its Lake Lyell dam, which supplies water to Mt Piper power station in Lithgow, New South Wales, could be home to a new pumped hydro energy storage facility. 

Energy Executive, Liz Westcott, said early estimates suggest a Lake Lyell pumped hydro energy storage facility would be capable of producing 350 megawatts of electricity with around eight hours of storage, enough to power over 150,0001 households during peak demand. 

“Initial studies show that a Lake Lyell pumped hydro energy storage facility has enormous potential to become a major piece of infrastructure for New South Wales in a transitioning energy system,” Ms Westcott said. 

“Pumped hydro will continue to play an important role in providing reliable, affordable and cleaner power for homes and businesses into the future. One of the benefits of Lake Lyell is that it’s already located near major transmission lines,” she said. 

“It’s a low-emission technology that can store large volumes of electricity for quick release, helping to provide cover at times when renewables aren’t available and fill a large gap that will be left by the retirement of coal power plants. The ability to operate in seconds will ensure the lights stay on and energy costs are kept down for customers.” 

Lake Lyell would be used as a lower reservoir, and the upper reservoir would be located on the south side of Mt Walker, all on land owned by EnergyAustralia. 

Head of Mt Piper, Greg McIntyre, said the facility would provide a welcome economic boost for the region and support Lithgow in becoming a future renewable energy hub. 

“A new pumped hydro facility at Lake Lyell would ensure Lithgow’s legacy in energy generation is preserved well into the future,” Mr McIntyre said. 

“If the project goes ahead, we anticipate hundreds of jobs would be created during construction, with roles also needed to oversee the facility’s ongoing operation,” he said. 

“Detailed assessments will follow, including environmental impacts and planning approvals, before any firm decisions can be made; however, the first step is consulting with our community.” 

EnergyAustralia has a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. Recent announcements include underpinning the 250-megawatt Kidston pumped hydro facility in Queensland, the commitment to a 350-megawatt battery in Victoria, and the 300+ megawatt Tallawarra B power station in New South Wales, which will be Australia’s first net zero emissions hydrogen and gas capable power plant.