All broken hill news articles

Council “top heavy”

Friday, 20th July, 2012

Bob Algate Bob Algate

Black may target management positions

 By Erica Visser

Management positions could be targeted under a complete City Council restructure, if mayoral candidate Peter Black regains power.

Mr Black, who is leading an independent ticket at the September 8 Local Government elections, has been vocal about Council’s need to reign in a decade-long deficit.

Having previously declared his six man ticket will include a “razor gang”, Mr Black stood by the statement yesterday, despite fellow member and current Deputy Mayor Bob Algate’s objection to the term.

“The finance committee will be a razor gang, that’s the only way it can work,” Mr Black said.

“We’ve got to get Council back on a financial footing.”

Mr Black said that a complete restructure of Council was necessary, as there were far too many managers and not enough staff employed in non-managerial roles.

He said that when he was mayor, Council had just four managers for community support, health, building and the town clerk.

“If you’ve gone from four managers to 16 and a lot of this is just a change in title,” Mr Black said.

“There’s too many staff - I went through a restructure and made it less top heavy and now we’re top heavy yet again.”

Mr Black said that he had restructured Council on two occasions during his 19 years as mayor.

“We did sack staff - we cut jobs and sacked the town clerk,” he said.

Mr Black did not guarantee that jobs would be safe under his guidance, but said that he would avoid sacking employees. 

“I would not wish to sack anyone...natural attrition will look after some of them,” he said.

Cr Algate, who would chair the finance committee, said that the committee’s role would be about getting Council out of debt, not targeting jobs.

He said that the term ‘razor gang’ was misleading.

“I’m uncomfortable with that term because it generally indicates that some people are targeted and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Cr Algate.

“The intent would be about retiring the $8 million debt, trying to be fiscally far more responsible and trying to involve Council in all matters of expenditure.”

He said that he disagreed with a comment by Mayor Wincen Cuy to the BDT that councillors could not physically vote on every financial matter as there were too many.

“Well I don’t agree with that and I think that’s a poor comment to make given that the Local Government Act makes councillors responsible for all expenditure,” Cr Algate said.

But he agreed with Mr Black that the number of managers was far too high.

“I think at one stage the number was up around the 30 mark and we have managers with so few people underneath them,” he said.

“Currently our employee cost is in excess of $3 million over rates and revenues with (thousands) added to the employee wage bill every year - you can only go so far.

“Somehow we have to try and build back, restore situation and get more outdoor employees - maybe at the expense of streamlining some of the internal processes.”

Read more

NAIDOC Week spirit continues

Friday, 20th July, 2012

Shalea Farquhar (11) reads an Indigenous story book to some of her peers. Shalea Farquhar (11) reads an Indigenous story book to some of her peers.

The spirit of NAIDOC Week was alive at one primary school yesterday in the form of Johnny Cakes, dreamtime stories and dot painting.

Railway Town Public School students split up into groups to take part in various cultural activities, with the help of some parents of Indigenous students.

The BDT joined in with students making the Johnny Cakes - a traditional damper that is cooked on hot coals and eaten with honey.

Read more

Colby’s work chosen for exhibition

Thursday, 19th July, 2012

Former Broken Hill High student, Colby Donohoe with his artwork that is featured in Dubbo. Former Broken Hill High student, Colby Donohoe with his artwork that is featured in Dubbo.

A past Broken Hill High School student’s artwork is among a select few to feature in a regional exhibition of student works.

Colby Donohoe’s work was one of 75 student artworks selected for the exhibition called iVisulaise, which also featured aa number of digital pieces.

The works were selected from over 200 entries from students across all schools years, from Kindergarten to Year 12, as well as some works from 2011 HSC students.

Colby finished Year 12 at Broken Hill High last year, which was when he completed the artwork.

Read more

Aged care delay

Thursday, 19th July, 2012

Nursing home proposal may no longer stand

By Erica Visser

A proposal by local aged care provider Southern Cross Care (SCC) to build a new nursing home may no longer stand due to City Council’s inaction.

SCC offered to buy Shorty O’Neil Village’s 40 bed licences over a year ago as part of the proposal, which was driven by local outrage at the prospect of elderly residents being sent out of the city due to lack of accommodation.

SCC, which is the city’s largest private aged care accommodation operator, said it would lobby for an additional 20 bed licences from the Federal Government and build a new facility at the old Alma Pool site.

Read more

Walking to positively change lives

Wednesday, 18th July, 2012

Rural and Remote Autism Network (RRAN) organiser Aimy Thorne with son William (7) and local Stacey Evers with son Dylan (8) who also has autism. Rural and Remote Autism Network (RRAN) organiser Aimy Thorne with son William (7) and local Stacey Evers with son Dylan (8) who also has autism.

Autism Walk organiser Aimy Thorne says the 800km walk she is about to embark on was all about bringing about positive change to other people’s lives.

Ms Thorne and the rest of the Rural and Remote Autism Network (RRAN) team, along with a number of other supporters, will leave Broken Hill this morning to walk to Wellington.

The group will leave from Hungry Jacks at 7.30am this morning.

Read more