Message from Official Manager

As many of you would be aware, Litchfield Council was placed under official management by Minister for Local Government and Community Services, the hon Bess Price, on 27 January 2015.

This decision was made following ongoing disagreements between elected members. As part of this decision, the Mayor and Councillors have been temporarily suspended pending the conclusion of an official Government investigation into the affairs of the council.

I would like to assure residents and community members that the day-to-day business of Litchfield Council will continue to operate as normal. Service delivery - including roads and infrastructure, works and maintenance, regulatory services, animal welfare, and waste - will not be affected. I have been appointed Official Manager, a role which entails looking after the interests of the council and the community, and I am working closely with the chief executive officer and senior staff to ensure the business processes of council continue to go forward in the best possible way.

Staff will also not be affected, and will undertake their duties as normal. Ordinary monthly council meetings will continue, and will be chaired by myself as official manager. The chief executive officer and senior staff will also attend the monthly council meetings as usual. A public forum for residents will continue to be held as part of the monthly council meetings.

This arrangement will continue until at least June, when I will report back to the Minister the findings of my investigation. The Mayor and Councillors will then have 21 days to provide written submissions to the Minister based on the findings of the investigation. From there, the Minister will either make the decision to reinstate the suspended members to office, or dismiss the suspended members from office and call fresh elections.

Once again, I’d like to reassure residents that council services are continuing as normal, and I am looking forward to working together with all to take Litchfield Council forward in a way that positively benefits the council and ratepayers.

Frank Crawley
Official Manager - Litchfield Council

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News

Congratulations to our Australia Day Award winners

A great day was had by all at the Litchfield Australia Day celebrations, held at Freds Pass Reserve. The day kicked off with a fun run and walk, followed by free breakfast thanks to Rotary Litchfield Palmerston.

We also welcomed our newest residents with the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony. This year, there was also a special focus on thanking and celebrating our volunteer fire brigades, who do so much for our community, especially during bushfire season.

Lots of people took part in the free fun and games, including thong throwing, sack racing, lure casting, fancy dress. Many also tried their hand at Polocrosse, and enjoyed free morning tea supplied by Lions.

Congratulations to our Australia Day and Litchfield Council Mayoral award winners:

Australia Day Citizen of the Year: Max Kennon

Recognising Max's outstanding service to the community, including being an active member of the Livingstone Volunteer Bushfire Brigade since the 1970s, his involvement in the formation of the community reserve at Livingstone, and assistance given to young adults seeking starter employment.

Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year: Lance Carew

Recognising 14-year-old Lance's outstanding contribution and achievements to the local sporting community. Lance is the Northern Territory speedway title holder for Darwin, Tennant Creek, and Alice Springs; and represents the NT nationally.

Australia Day Community Event of the Year: Skateboard and BMX Park

Recognising the outstanding effort and contribution of a group of dedicated local community members, organisations and businesses that have worked tirelessly over seven years to complete the Skateboard and BMX Park at Howard Park Reserve.

Litchfield Council Mayoral Award (Individual): Brian McWilliams

Recognising Brian's outstanding service as a dedicated volunteer of the McMinns Lagoon Reserve Committee for more than 34 years.

Litchfield Council Mayoral Award (Group): The Litchfield municipality Volunteer Bushfire Brigades

Recognising the outstanding contribution these dedicated volunteers make to our protecting our community from bushfires.

These brigades are: Bees Creek/Virginia Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Humpty Doo Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Acacia Hills Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Koolpinyah Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Howard Springs Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Berry Springs Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Livingstone Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Darwin River Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Lambells Lagoon Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; Labasheeda Park Volunteer Bushfire Brigade; and Manton Volunteer Bushfire Brigade.

Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year Lance Carew:

"I was excited and very proud to hear I won the 2015 Young Citizen of the Year Award while I was away racing, representing the NT.

"I am 14 years old and started speedway at the age of 10 after racing go karts for four years, and I love what I do - it's very fun and competitive. I am currently Title winner at Darwin, Tennant Creek, and Alice Springs.

"Due to the cost of fuel and accommodation, I have been fundraising at Woolworths Coolalinga and finding sponsorship to help me get to the Australian Junior Sedan Title in Mildura, and other state titles while I was down there.

"In the Australian Titled I qualified 17th out of 83 junior drivers that travel from around Australia to compete. I finished 10th in the South Australia titles, and I also competed at the Victorian Titles. Overall I'm rated one of the top 20 drivers in Australia.

I would like to thank TCE (Terry Carew Excavations); Ostojic Group; City Tyres; Brad from Superfinish; and a special thanks to Motorsports NT for their wonderful support in helping me get to Mildura for the Australian Titles; and all the support and encouragement I received from the locals when I was doing the BBQs. Also Dad and Mum for towing the car down there too and giving me their full support in everything I do.

"The next Australian titles will be held in January 2016 in Tasmania, so I will be fundraising again this year to keep my love of racing happening, and I hope to bring Australia 1 home to the NT. Any sponsorship would be greatly appreciated."

Lance Carew.

Next Council Meeting - Thursday 19 February

The next ordinary council meeting will be held on Thursday 19 February at 6.30pm, in the Council Chambers, at 7 Bees Creek Rd, Freds Pass.

The public are welcome to attend.

Farewell Marlene

Litchfield Council recently said farewell to our longest serving staff member - Marlene Watt. Marlene was one of the Council's original employees, and was Council Secretary for 29 years. Marlene has been a wealth of knowledge and support for all staff and councillors over the years.

Congratulations Marlene on a wonderful career, we will all miss you very much.

Thorak Regional Cemetery Community Survey

Members of the public are invited to have their say about the facilities and services offered at Thorak Regional Cemetery.

The Cemetery is currently undertaking a community survey, which aims to help Council better understand the needs of our visitors.

All comments and feedback is welcome. The survey can be filled out and submitted online by visiting the Litchfield Council website. Alternatively, you can download a hard copy of the survey, and return it to Council via email: [email protected] or by posting it to PO Box 446, Humpty Doo, 0836. Completed surveys can also be dropped into the cemetery office at Thorak, or to Council reception.

The survey is open until 30 April.

New uniforms for Litchfield staff

Litchfield Council recently adopted a new uniform policy for council employees.

Pictured here are some of our office staff and managers wearing some of the different styles of new uniforms.

Dog Micro-chipping dates for 2015

Having a much loved pet go missing can be a stressful and traumatic experience. Ensuring your dog is micro-chipped makes it easier to be found.

Litchfield Council requires all dogs owned by residents to be micro-chipped. Council offers a micro-chipping service to all residents. This service is available on the last Wednesday of each month at Council offices, 7 Bees Creek Rd, Freds Pass.

Microchipping costs $30. Bookings are essential and can be made by calling 8983 0600.

Micro-chipping dates for 2015 are:

  • 25 February
  • 25 March
  • 29 April
  • 27 May
  • 24 June
  • 29 July
  • 26 August
  • 30 September
  • 28 October
  • 25 November
  • 30 December

Community effort for new Skateboard & BMX Park

The Howard Park Reserve Skateboard and BMX Park was officially opened to the community on Australia Day.

A large team of community volunteers, businesses, and organisations have worked tirelessly over seven years to raise funds and complete works.

Litchfield Council was pleased to be able to contribute $50,000 to ensure safety measures were put in place before the park's completion - including soft fall, shading structures, fencing, and grassing.

Thank you to all who contributed time, labour, machinery, equipment, and monetary donations to get this project over the line. The park will be open during daylight hours.

Remember to observe wet season road closures

The wet season is well and truly underway, and we'd like to remind all road-users to observe our road closed and road flooded signs.

These signs are put up for your safety - flooded roads can be dangerous.

We'd also like to remind people not to damage these signs. Take care on our roads, especially during wet weather.

Roads within the Litchfield municipality that are subject to regular wet-season flooding include:

  • Girraween Road
  • East Colton Road
  • Brooking Road
  • Morgan Road
  • Mocatto Road
  • Marla Plains Road/Hardies Creek
  • Spencer Road
  • Cavalcade Road
  • Bundy Road
  • Old Bynoe/Darwin River
  • Fly Creek
  • Darwin River
  • Hopewell / Duddle Roads
  • Elizabeth Valley Road
  • Girraween Road
  • Horne Road
  • Bees Creek road
  • Virginia @ Wells Creek Roads
  • Kentish Road
  • Power Road

New chairs for Thorak chapel

The Thorak Regional Cemetery chapel received new chairs before Christmas (pictured).

The chapel can seat 220 people and accommodates all celebration of life services.

Free herbicide to combat Gamba grass

Litchfield residents can pick up free herbicide to help combat the spread of Gamba grass on their properties.

Spraying Gamba grass helps control its rapid growth, which contributes to bushfires.

Free herbicide can be picked up from Freds Pass Reserve or the Territory Wildlife Park.

And remember that the herbicide works best when sprayed during dry periods - any herbicide sprayed within two hours of rain will be washed away, so please spray carefully.

Visit www.nt.gov.au/gamba for more information about free herbicide and equipment loans.

New ATVs Prohibited signs at Water Lily Lagoon

Litchfield Council has recently installed new signs reminding people not to drive off-road vehicles at the Water Lily Lagoon, at Howard Park Reserve.

These vehicles cause extensive damage to this wonderful wildlife and nature reserve.

Have a good news story or community event?

If you have a good news story, or community event coming up that you would like council to know about, please email us at: [email protected] and we will include it in our newsletter or on our website where appropriate.

The next Council newsletter will be the March-April edition, out in early April.