Committees divide councillors

PROOF that being on Orange City Council involves more than just attending two meetings a month was shown on Tuesday night when the 12 councillors divvied up the portfolios of 30 committees between themselves.

Everything from the airport to Australia Day celebrations has its own council committee with regular meetings, and the public also has the opportunity to be involved.

A Bicycling Community Reference Group will be added to the mix for this term of council.

Cr Reg Kidd put his hand up for 12 committees - the most of any councillor - and will call for yet another committee to be established to cover street trees, waterways and parks in Orange’s green areas.

He said the groups were an ideal way to get a better understanding of what the public wanted.

“The main council meeting is like sitting parliament... the rest is serving your constituents,” he said.

“We get so much valuable input from community members.”

Cr Kidd said the Botanic Gardens was just one area to benefit from community input over the years and would be 20 years behind without it.

In coming weeks the council is expected to call for expressions of interest from the community wanting to join the committees - well over 100 spaces will be open.

Cr Kidd said at times committee members can get worn out or move on seeing input drop-off.

“I’m hoping a huge influx comes forward and volunteers,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean you have to bust and arm and leg to be at every meeting.

“Here’s the opportunity, it’s a completely new start with a new council.”

Cr Neil Jones said the council had trouble in the past attracting the public to the committees.

He has asked for the existing Ageing and Disability Committee to be rejigged to cover broader issues in line with Orange’s ageing population.

Previously the committee covered the work of the HACC (Home and Community Care) centre but Cr Jones said there was a need to expand as Orange struggles with services for the elderly.

“We still don’t have a seniors living village and other aspects of aged care,” he said.

“The recent census highlighted our ageing population. Orange is attractive to older people because of the medical facilities.

“We spend a lot of time looking after our young people but we mustn’t forgets we’re an ageing population.”


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