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Media Releases

Moree CBD – Tree Replacement Program

In consultation with Moree Plains’ Urban Advisory Committee, Council has approved a tree replacement program for Balo Street commencing this financial year to replace the Ficus Hillii trees currently growing in the main street. (The membership of the Urban Advisory Committee includes Councillors, Council staff and members of the community and the Committee provides recommendations to Council in relation to, amongst other matters, the amenity of the Moree CBD.)

Over 20 years ago, the main street of Moree was significantly redeveloped. This was undertaken on the advice of specialists and included planting a number of Ficus Hillii on Balo Street. The trees recommended by the external advisers of the time, were chosen due to their quick growing nature, lush canopy (needed in our summers), limited foliage drop and general aesthetic appeal.

Whilst delivering on many of these fronts, these trees have, over time, created expensive maintenance responsibilities for Council as they have grown larger.

Major pavement works in recent years have identified that the root mass under the pavement and concrete has created damage to irrigation and stormwater lines, in addition to the popped tiles and broken concrete foundations. Over 300 tiles have been replaced in the main street as a direct result of the vigorous roots from these trees. Further, recent works at tenancies in the main street have revealed that the roots systems are encroaching under shop fronts.

With this species of tree, more than a third of a tree is usually hidden beneath the ground.

Although hidden, the roots are vitally important in a number of ways. Fine roots gather the water and nutrients the tree needs to grow and survive, and these are carried through coarse, woody roots to the stem. The coarse roots have the additional role of supporting the tree and resisting the overturning force of the wind on the crown. Lateral roots near the soil surface thicken over successive years, eventually becoming the large woody roots of the framework root system of a mature tree - there are usually between four and eleven such roots which may become 30cm or more in diameter close to the stem.

Mitigating actions such as tree guards have proven counter-productive elsewhere in the Shire. For large trees such as this species, the root system is engineered to support a massive structure above the ground so as the branches widen and gain weight, the roots below are growing and spreading to support the mass. Tree guards seek to encourage downward root growth, however, with the roots needing to support such branch weight, such guards are ineffective with the roots inevitably seeking outward growth to do their job.

Further, despite regular pruning to reduce the overall mass of these trees, each tree is genetically hardwired to continually thicken the branches closest to the trunk and to continually expand their root footprint to counter balance the expectant mass of branches above.

As such, the existing Ficus Hillii trees in the CBD area of Moree have resulted in increasing maintenance costs as their canopy and root system is ever enlarging.

Director of Engineering Services, Ian Dinham explained that Council has recognised the impost these trees are placing on Council’s main street maintenance budget.

“These trees, whilst serving many purposes, are stretching Council’s main street maintenance budget in an unsustainable manner. This burden is only going to increase over time.

“Recognising this, Council has taken advice and consulted with the Urban Advisory Committee and endorsed a tree replacement program will ensure that the dense cooling effect of the trees in the main street is retained whilst replacing this particular species of tree which has such an invasive root system and a tree canopy that becomes heavy and intrusive over time. While Council acknowledges the aesthetic appeal of these trees, it is very important for this to be balanced with practical considerations like the cost implications of such maintenance and the risks associated with retaining these trees.

This sentiment was echoed by Mayor Katrina Humphries, “In these times in particular, I am sure our ratepayers would expect Council to make prudent financial decisions to ensure that money expended by Council in the main street delivers real value. I am confident that our business houses and community members could dream up a heap of ways we could better spend that money rather than replacing tiles and undertaking other costly maintenance activities.”

The replacement of the Ficus Hillii trees is part of a tree replacement program endorsed by Council. Council has taken advice on the alternate options for shade in the main street (including planting other appropriate tree species) and will canvass these options with stakeholders. At the present time, the program has commenced with 4 trees to be replaced this financial year. Every 2-3 years thereafter, a further 4 trees will be similarly replaced until all trees have been so replaced. It is anticipated that the program will take approximately 16 years to carry out.

Policy Review

Procurement Policy

At its meeting of 27 June 2019, Council resolved to place the draft Procurement Policy on public exhibition for a period of 28 days.

A copy of this Policy can be found on Council’s website – About Us> Have your Say> Open for Public Comment.

Council's Procurement Policy is designed to ensure that all expenditure of public funds on the purchase of goods and services results in the best possible value for Moree Plains Shire Council and the community.

Council staff have carried out extensive reviews of the current Procurement and Local Supplier Preference policies following a request from Council. The policies have been extensively workshopped by Council where it was discussed at length regarding the options for the policies in the future. Recommendations from this workshop have been incorporated into the Draft Policy.

To enable a strong link between the Procurement guidelines and the Local Supplier Preference guidelines for Council staff, these two separate policies have been combined into one draft Procurement Policy.

A hard copy of the Policy is available from Council’s customer service centres in Moree and Mungindi and the Moree Community Library.

Your feedback and comments are welcomed by Sunday, 11 August 2019 and can be submitted to the General Manager, Moree Plains Shire Council, PO Box 420, Moree NSW 2400. Comments can also be submitted to Council by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further enquiries in relation to this Policy should be directed to Council’s Procurement Officer on (02) 6757 3222.

Ron Harborne Oval continuing to bat above the average with installation of field lights to provide greater flexibility of use

Moree Plains Shire Council will commence work at Ron Harborne Oval Cricket Field number four on Monday, 15 July 2019 to prepare for installation of new LED field lights as part of the fully grant funded lighting upgrade project at the Oval.

Moree Plains Shire Council was awarded funding for the project through the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund to deliver local infrastructure projects that improve the quality of life for regional communities.

Moree Plains Shire Council’s Project and Development Manager, Ms Lila Fisher noted that Ron Harborne Oval is a premier multi-code, four-oval sporting facility, home to junior and senior competitions for cricket, netball, hockey and soccer servicing the Moree Plains.

“The new LED lighting and electrical upgrade project to Australia Standards will provide for greater and safer night time use of the facilities,” said Ms Fisher.

“This is a great outcome for the sporting clubs which use Ron Harborne Oval and Moree generally. Not many towns of our size could lay claim to such an impressive and professional facility.”

The Ron Harborne Oval cricket field is scheduled to reopen for public access and use of the field at the end of August 2019, weather permitting.

Please direct all enquiries to the Moree Plains Shire Council Engineering Department on (02) 6752 3222.

Helping Out with Council Donations

At tonight’s Council meeting, Councillors considered the applications for financial assistance made by community groups for the July to September 2019 financial quarter.

The following applications were approved:

Moree Aboriginal Elders Incorporated;  Aboriginal Elders Olympics $1,000
Mungindi Show Society; Mungindi Show $2,000
Moree Motor Enthusiast Club; Moree Motor Trade Expo “Show and Shine” $2,000
Moree and District Netball Association; To purchase custom printed post pads $2,000
St Philomena’s Parents and Friends Association; To purchase and raise a new banner in preparation for the Spring Fair $1,000

The next round of funding will be open next month.

Applicants must complete and submit a Public Donations Application Form no later than 5pm, 13 September 2019 for Public Donations for the period from October to December 2019. In accordance with Council’s Public Donations Policy, applications received after the deadline will not be considered until Council’s first meeting in the next calendar quarter.

Applications will be presented to the Council at its meeting on 10 October 2019. Copies of the application form are available at the Moree Community Library and Council offices at Moree and Mungindi, by phoning Council’s Grants Officer on (02) 6757 3218 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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