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How much land clearing should people be able to do for fire safety? The Rural Boundary Clearing Code

Here's a thorny question: How much land-clearing should rural landholders be allowed to engage in to increase their fire safety? Here's how I think we should answer that question.


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Granny Flats: You deserve more choice | Hawkesbury City Council

The way Council treats granny flats and dual occupancies in our area is insane. Some types are allowed in built up areas, but not on rural acreages. Some kinds are forbidden for reasons that don't apply to those suburbs, or become permissible just because a small modification is made to attach the dwellings. This needs to change.


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Hawkesbury Council’s position concerning the new Hawkesbury River bridge

Last night Council considered the submission we would make to the consultation process on the route of the new Hawkesbury River crossing at North Richmond.
My position is guided by an awareness that this is not Council’s project. Like the Windsor Bridge project before, we neither decide nor craft its appearance, budget or timeline...


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Make no mistake – raising Warragamba Dam will make our community safer

This morning, the opponents of flood safety in the Hawkesbury were falling upon a 'leaked' State Government report that stated something so obvious it's banal – that in the event of a major flood, the water has to go somewhere.
Those confecting outrage even suggest that raising the dam would *worsen* the effects of flooding in the Hawkesbury – a staggeringly misleading and contemptible statement.


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When will the NSW Local Government Elections be?

Council elections were supposed to happen in NSW in September 2020.
Then COVID put them off to September 2021.
Recently, the Minister delayed them a second time to December 4th, 2021.
Now there's a rumour going round that they will be delayed to next year.
You should demand your right to vote.


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The Tragedy of Afghanistan

I rarely venture into geopolitics, but what’s happening in Afghanistan is simply a tragedy. The Taliban are resurgent, and will shortly repossess all the territory won from them after 2001. So much of our own blood and coin spilled for no gain after a twenty year war.
I feel deeply for the 26,000 men and women of our own defence forces who served there. What must they think? Ultimately, I believe our presence in Afghanistan was just.


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Further delays to the Grose River Bridge should make you cranky

The Redbank project, and associated wrangling over the promised Grose River Bridge crossing goes all the way back to 2008.
So if you're angry or confused about why it seems that this infrastructure keeps receding to the horizon, then I'm with you.
Why is it taking so long? And why, after this week’s Council meeting, is it going to be delayed even more?


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Why you should be angry about reckless election-season posturing

If there was any doubt that the election silly-season is upon us, this week's Council meeting should leave you in no doubt.
Two things in particular stand out – variations on the same theme, one might say.
I regard two motions that came to Council for us to abandon relationships with two regional bodies WSROC and HRCC (which we have been a member of for 73 years), to be lazy, reckless vandalism. 


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A Win For Colbee Park Users – A Masterplan… And $573K in Funding!

Overwhelmingly, the biggest problem Council has with developing masterplans for our parks is there is no money allocated to execute the plans once they're made. In this term I have lamented that community consultation and masterplanning processes raise community expectations, only to dash them with no follow-through...


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We should look after Jenolan Caves better

Jenolan Caves is a much loved tourist destination, not far from the Hawkesbury. When I visited in January, I found it in a shocking state. Here's what I did.


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What you need to know about COVID

Recently, at the Australian Local Government Conference in Canberra, I was briefed about some surprising COVID statistics. Here's what I learned.


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Raising awareness of the need for Hawkesbury-Nepean River Health

In 2004, the Hawkesbury River was choked with weeds. Hard work and co-operation between three tiers of government cleared the river up. Now, short-sighted policy is putting all that at risk. I'm fighting for a better deal.


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Our community has known we have to 'Live with the River' since the time of settlement. Our relationship with the river and the inevitability of floods mean we're forever torn between the blessings of rich soils and the river's deadlier moods. My own ancestor was killed in Windsor in the flood of 1809.

But human ingenuity has given us the ability to dam rivers, and we're now told that raising Warragamba Dam by 14 meters will reduce the frequency and severity of flooding here by 75%. That it would reduce the number of homes flooded by 5000. That the damage bill would reduce by $3,000,000,000. We need that. If only we had it in March – it would have spared 500 homes and reduced the flood height by 3.5m.

The new EIS is open for public comment until the end of November. Council would be completely negligent on behalf of our community, who endure the highest risk of flooding in Australia, if we didn't make a submission.

I'm appalled that a majority of Councillors are so wedded to their ideology that, at last night's meeting, they voted even that down.
That's right - they voted down even putting forward our own community's concerns in a document to the State Government.

I know not everyone agrees on this issue, but this is reckless and treats the 600 families whose homes were flooded out in March with contempt.

This short video summarises this complex and critical issue. And yes, this absolutely should be an election issue.

(Written and authorised by Nathan Zamprogno, Oakville)
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1 day ago

Comment on Facebook 271171415016337

Unceaded lands and waterways. The construction of the original dam desecrated the landscape, took sacred sites and plunged many engravings, caves, shelters and gathering spaces from the traditional custodians. Aboriginal places are again under threat by Corporation Government and their interested parties. The cycle of wrong doing needs to stop. Let's not forget that the traditional custodians of the lands and waterways shared with the invaders the notions of stupidity in living and building on the great river systems that live in continuity with the Dreaming.

A flood pain is a flood pain, and not suitable for excessive development. It's time our Council stood up for your electorate not developers' interests.

And won't we have an almighty disaster if the proper research and building of the dam wall is not done across possible political changes. If any political party is willing to take FULL responsibility and can 100% prove to us all that the existing dam can "take" such changes... And that the idea is not spurred on by those who stand to make massive profits in land sales...then ..we may listen. But bear in mind that not all floods are a result of the dam being full...they come sometimes from flooding through the Grose ...and also...unless the heightened dam is going to be kept some % empty....once a dam is full ..it is full...and still has to let excess water go...so together with other local water...flooding is still possible. I have a horrible feeling this is a bit more greed driven than community caring.

Work with nature not against it. Retreat from flood plain and leave it for food production. Develop high ground.

The dam raising is being driven by developer interests on the Hawkesbury-Nepean floodplain. The NSW Government has stated in its principle document advocating the dam proposal that it plans to allow an additional 134,000 people to reside on western Sydney floodplains after the dam is raised

Thank you Councillor Nathan Zamprogno for standing by your community and supporting what should be a no brainer for our council, but obviously not. Just make it widely known who the non supporters are so we can send email and look forward to election time!

Floods aren't exclusively dam driven, we had major flooding from the Grose last year

good on you Mr Independent/Liberal supporting your developer mates! How about concentrating on stopping excessive development so we maintain our beautiful Hawkesbury and not become another Hills??

Has buying back 600 properties been investigated? Might be cheaper. Yes it will annoy 600 families but someone is going to be annoyed either way.

I helped build it,wished I could work on it to raise it, but I'm 87,

Oh yes

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I’ve been the Chairman of the Hawkesbury River County Council for the last two years. What they do is an unalloyed good. We look after weed control and waterway health across the Councils of Hawkesbury, Penrith, Hills and Blacktown.
We network with volunteer groups for bush care and we partner with individual landowners to be more weed-aware and better stewards of their land.
They’re hiring! Highly recommended. Not biased of course.
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2 days ago

For everyone heading back to school today, nephew and I just wanted to say “You’ve got this!”

For everyone heading back to school today, nephew and I just wanted to say “You’ve got this!” ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Do you know a person or group who deserves recognition for their service to the Hawkesbury community? 

Its still not too late to nominate a worthy Hawkesbury citizen or organisation for Hawkesbury City Councils Australia Day Awards.

Entries are open until the end of October. 
Please nominate! 

Details at:
https://www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/for-residents/community/citizenship-and-awards/australia-day-awards

Do you know a person or group who deserves recognition for their service to the Hawkesbury community?

It's still not too late to nominate a worthy Hawkesbury citizen or organisation for Hawkesbury City Council's Australia Day Awards.

Entries are open until the end of October.
Please nominate!

Details at:
www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/for-residents/community/citizenship-and-awards/australia-day-awards
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7 days ago

Video image

Corruption in public office is reprehensible.
It was all the way back in 2013 that I went to the city to sit in on the testimony before ICAC - just as an interested citizen mind you - and saw Eddie Obeid, Moses Obeid and Ian MacDonald grilled for their malfeasance.

I hear the sentencing hearing of the three is happening live at this link, now.

It’s taken over seven years, but justice has been done.

To those who wish to comment that ICAC has taken down Liberals and Labor identities alike, my answer is to agree with you. I support ICAC. It's the Great White Corpuscle of society, and I'm glad its there.

The solution to not having your political career ended by an appearance before ICAC is not to do the wrong thing. Simples.
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7 days ago

Comment on Facebook Please note this ...

Bart Bassett Londerry MP - Mr Bassett denied the allegations, although the ICAC investigation, known as Operation Spicer, found that he knowingly asked for the donation. Mr Bassett repeatedly told the ICAC he kept himself at arm’s length from the donations made to his campaign, which was at odds to the testimony of Mr Regent and NSW Liberal Party finance director Simon McInnes. The ICAC report said it accepted the testimony of Mr Regent and Mr McInnes, not Mr Bassett. The report found Mr Regent and Mr McInnes to “generally reliable witnesses”. When giving testimoney to the ICAC in 2014, Mr Bassett mentioned that Kim Ford, who was Mr Bassett’s campaign manager, was one of the people who was involved with documenting political donations. The ICAC report into Operation Spicer did not mention Kim Ford, who is the Mayor of Hawkesbury. Chapter 32 of the report was dedicated to Mr Bassett’s dealings. The chapter concludes that: “The Commission finds that in 2010, for the purposes of his 2011 NSW state election campaign, Mr Bassett solicited a political donation from Buildev, a property developer. “This culminated in the drawing of a cheque, dated 13 December 2010, for $18,000 on the account of Boardwalk Resources, which was payable to the Free Enterprise Foundation. “The Free Enterprise Foundation subsequently sent money to the NSW Liberal Party, which included the $18,000. The $18,000 was used towards the purchase of a key seats package for Mr Bassett’s 2011 election campaign in the seat of Londonderry. “Although the cheque for $18,000 was drawn on the account of Boardwalk Resources, the donation was made for Buildev. Mr Bassett was aware at the time he solicited the political donation that Buildev was a property developer and knew it was not able to make a political donation and that he was not able to accept a political donation from a property developer.” 😀

I was concerned that powers given to the NSW Electoral Commissioner during COVID would result in a very unfair election where candidates would be unable to hand out material at polling places or even put posters up.

I wrote to the NSW Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock MP to express these concerns and ask her to provide urgent guidance now we have a roadmap out of lockdown in many other areas.

The Minister made these remarks recently that give the most encouraging sign that things will be 'back to normal' for the election, and I thank the Minister that my concerns have been addressed.

My letter to the Minister:
councillorzamprogno.info/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/ZAMPROGNO-to-Hancock-about-election-restricti...
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1 week ago

My family have been orchardists since forever. We've got a dozen citrus of various types (many no longer in favour). When I looked at them all in full bloom recently, I noticed something wonderful.
Two thirds of the bees were native bees.
How lovely!
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2 weeks ago

Comment on Facebook 263095859157226

Always good to see a #goodnewsstory mate.

Nathan did you ever consider setting your self up with a couple of native hives in your back yard?

We have them too Nathan !

At Hawkesbury Council last night we addressed a thorny question: How much should rural landowners be allowed to clear their land to reduce their bushfire risk?
There 's a lot to consider. There's already a mechanism for hazard reduction, called the 10-50 rule. But the government inquiry held after the terrible Gospers Mountain fire in 2019-2020 recommended that new rules be considered.
Balancing community safety with protecting the environment is challenging. It takes leadership, and nuancing the various issues and views, not ramming something through because you want to make an election issue out of it.
I am glad that my alternative motion gained support and was seen as a better way forward.
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2 weeks ago

Comment on Facebook 261461252654020

yes, it was very obvious Mrs Richards is in election mode, I am quite sure Mrs Richards will spin it another way,(only she knows what's good for her community...LOL) I think you should give some credit to Danielle Wheeler and Pete Reynolds who spoke in favour of your alternative motion😀

Councillor Nathan Zamprogno, you advance some sound issues that need to be in the public realm for proper consultation and an appropriate framework for fully informed Council management.

There has been illegal land clearing going on, eg Upper Colo - as seen on ACA - and this resulted in great outrage. Legalizing this will only see that same outrage, multiplied many times over. This needs to be debated, and not rushed through.

Nathan, nothing will happen as you have just made it a political issue what a shame . I lived on Bowen Mountain for 24 years and moved in December of 2019 and in that time the mountain was threatened by a number of fires and this subject came up after every fire , I think that if I was still residing on the mountain I would definitely be in favour of having a clear buffer zone , people, homes and property should be the first consideration . There are millions of acres of National Parks in the Blue Mountains all protected and also neglected due lack of management and so much was destroyed by the recent fires and residents the live in fire prone areas need protection from those intense fires .

Councillor Nathan Zamprogno I think you have a lot of good ideas and have and some very valid points . Is there any chance you could have a look at the amount of time it takes for development approvals and construction certificates to be approved ? I realise the nsw planning portal and covid may have contributed to extending approval times . Or maybe you need more staff

That would be great Nathan as a builder it’s hard enough juggling material shortages especially timber and then trying to program works for all trades but we can’t get started because the paper work is waiting on a desk it’s restricting our local economy I’m sure you can fix it 👍

Councillor Nathan Zamprogno I'm really surprised that Hawkesbury Council doesn't have access to a scrolling time satellite imagery database suitable for monitoring vegetation coverage. This is a huge issue in itself given it's my understanding this technology is readily available and widely used by councils and surveyors. Any chance you could look into this to reconfirm and if necessary challenge?

I disagree, Hawkesbury should have opted in straight up

It doesn't mean compulsory ckearing: only the option to do some or all or nothing. Does need more nuancing though. Significant land clearing has happened in Maraylya without any obvious DA approval.

Hi Nathan, I think your a good councilor. I

Mark Israel what I was talking about.

25 metres pfft go and look at Bilpin

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Several residents have raised their concern about rubbish in Macquarie Park in Windsor (the park just over the Windsor Bridge). I referred it to Council staff and got this response this morning:

Dear Councillor Zamprogno

I refer to your Councillor Request below regarding waste left in Macquarie Park, Windsor.

Council Park’s staff attend Macquarie Park each day to empty the bins and clean the toilets. Staff spotted the rubbish and damage caused and have cleaned it up. Staff have also reported the plastic bollards being damaged by people driving through to the beach area, with the bollards also being dumped on the beach area. The undesirable behaviour will be reported to the Police and we will seek to have patrols, particularly on weekends, to assist in addressing this behaviour. In the meantime, other forms of stopping vehicle access other than the plastic bollards are being looked into. 

Should any further reports be received from residents on these matters it is suggested that residents are encouraged to contact Council’s Customer Service staff on telephone (02) 4560 4444 or via our online reporting options (link: https://www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/Online-and-Reporting-Services). This will enable our Customer Service team to obtain specific information on the matter and be able to follow up with the customer if further information is required.

Several residents have raised their concern about rubbish in Macquarie Park in Windsor (the park just over the Windsor Bridge). I referred it to Council staff and got this response this morning:

"Dear Councillor Zamprogno

I refer to your Councillor Request below regarding waste left in Macquarie Park, Windsor.

Council Park’s staff attend Macquarie Park each day to empty the bins and clean the toilets. Staff spotted the rubbish and damage caused and have cleaned it up. Staff have also reported the plastic bollards being damaged by people driving through to the beach area, with the bollards also being dumped on the beach area. The undesirable behaviour will be reported to the Police and we will seek to have patrols, particularly on weekends, to assist in addressing this behaviour. In the meantime, other forms of stopping vehicle access other than the plastic bollards are being looked into.

Should any further reports be received from residents on these matters it is suggested that residents are encouraged to contact Council’s Customer Service staff on telephone (02) 4560 4444 or via our online reporting options (link: www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/Online-and-Reporting-Services). This will enable our Customer Service team to obtain specific information on the matter and be able to follow up with the customer if further information is required. "
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2 weeks ago

Comment on Facebook Several residents ...

Definitely need more bins in the area of the cafe and park, great to see so many people in the park etc but the Cafe probably should take more responsibility on ensuring the bins are not overflowing with rubbish from their take away food - they have great food and get popular

The rubbish left on the beach on the weekend was disgraceful.

Council workers do a top job on the facilities provided by Council. May have to start charging for parking or permits like other Councils.

Just a portion of rubbish that can be picked up on a given day.

Nice to know you get a reply from Council. You must be special. The rest of us get a standard "we will respond within 10 business days" email

Darryl Willcox

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