Forbes Shire Council’s $23 million to-do list for 2018-19

Aaron Parker has been appointed Council’s Manager Major Project Civil.
Aaron Parker has been appointed Council’s Manager Major Project Civil.

Forbes Shire Council has a $23 million infrastructure spend to roll out this year, and has created a new role to oversee it.

Aaron Parker has been appointed Council’s Manager Major Project Civil, and he’s started in the role with a pretty solid to-do list.

Council’s General Manager Steve Loane said the need for the position had been born out of the extraordinary amount of funding Council has been able to secure for local projects. 

That list includes:

  • $3.6 million for the expansion of the Central West Livestock Exchange, with $3.4 million for the expansion of the cattle yards;
  • $1.8 million for the development, including roads, power, water infrastructure and drainage, of the next sites at the Homemaker Centre;
  • $625,000 for public toilets at the Botanical Gardens, South Circle, Lions Park, the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre and Rotaract Park (at the water park);
  • $3.1 million for parks, sports and recreation. This funding includes $850,000 for the redevelopment of the netball courts; and $565,000 for solar lighting on the Lake Forbes walkway. This also includes work at the Wirrinya ski dam, development of a multipurpose equestrian precinct and more; 
  • $4.9 million for roadworks including resealing and resheeting;
  • $4 million for water and sewer rehabilitation works; 
  • $873,000 to start rolling out Council’s masterplan for the central business district; 
  • $250,000 for a masterplan for subdivision of the Edward Street that was gifted to Council by the Jemalong Aged People’s Association;
  • $750,000 for the subdivision and roadworks at the Forbes aerodrome;
  • $2.37 million for a new waste management depot, this will be adjacent to the current site and designs are underway.

It’s a big list and would represent a record spend for Forbes Shire Council but Mr Parker, who started two weeks ago, is excited about the year ahead.

He started his career in building, as a carpenter / joiner, then went into architecture. He’s owned his own business.

Most recently, he has worked in project management with Warrumbungle and Gilgandra councils. 

Mr Loane said Council has staff who are excellent at gaining grant funding, and Mr Parker also has a wealth of experience with the acquittal process for government funding to ensure Forbes is positioned well for future applications. 

And the huge works program doesn’t just create the need for Mr Parker’s role, it’s also prompted Council to recruit a temporary workforce. 

Council seeks drought initiatives coordinator, projects workforce

Forbes Shire Council is advertising another new role: they’re looking to appoint someone to coordinate drought initiatives over the next six months.

The position will be a one-stop shop with Council: ensuring Council helps where it can and directing people to the right services when they cannot. 

While there is the possibility of some cross-over with services offered by other government agencies such as Local Land Services, Council isn’t trying to duplicate what is already available.

“We will try where possible not to be stealing anybody else’s thunder, we just want to make sure that if people feel more comfortable in dealing with Council at least we’re a starting point,” Mr Loane said.

One of the person’s roles, Mr Loane added, will be to oversee a flexible workforce Council is currently recruiting to carry out the huge infrastructure spend.

The jobs are designed to offer supplementary income to farmers, farmhands, contractors or anyone whose work has slumped due to the drought conditions.

Work arrangements are flexible and one of the drought coordinator’s roles will be to match up people’s availability and skills with what’s needed. 

They will create a roster of workers the new Manager Major Projects Aaron Parker can put on the ground. 

There’s no means testing for the employment program, Council is just looking for people who are willing and able, who need and want the work - whenever they’re available. 

“If they’re feeding stock in the mornings and want to come late morning, if they’re trying to fit around getting kids to school in between that, if they want to one week on, one off, or one day a week (we can work with that),” Mr Loane said.

“The main thing is we’ve got plenty of projects there which will fit their skill sets.”

The construction of the new cattle yards, which will be built off-site and need to be assembled, and the works around Lake Forbes are two of the key projects Council hopes to complete with the help of this temporary workforce.

The recruitment process is also different to usual local government requirements, you can start by making a phone call on 6850 2300 or emailing people@forbes.nsw.gov.au for more information.