We’ve had a busy week in the Far West attending the Western Division Conference co-hosted by Bourke Shire Council and visiting Warren, Bewarrina, Walgett, Coonamble and Gilgandra shire councils.
On Sunday, I was honoured to present the LGNSW Lifetime Achievement Award to former Warren mayor Rex Wilson OAM in recognition of his outstanding contribution to local government and his community, and for exceeding the expectations of the role, for more than 30 years.
WATER ADVOCACY WIN: Liberal/National commitment – NSW Minister for Regional Water Niall Blair’s pledge during the Western conference, that local water utilities will not be privatised if a Liberal National Government is re-elected in NSW, is a big win for regional NSW and matches a commitment by Labor at the 2018 LGNSW Water Conference in Armidale. See #8 of our 2019 NSW Election Priorities and our media release.
CAMPAIGN WIN: In a clear sign that the major parties are responding to our Renew Our Libraries campaign Labor has announced an additional $500,000 boost to the much-loved Outback Letterbox Library Service, which delivers library materials to isolated communities in the Far West. Both major parties have made significant commitments on libraries, but they need to be doubled. Keep campaigning! See 2019 Election Priority #2.
COST SHIFTING WIN: We also welcomed an announcement by Peter Primrose at the Western Division Conference that NSW Labor will cover the costs associated with compulsory webcasting of council meetings, as required under the new model code of meeting practice and reiterated a promise to hold an inquiry into cost shifting if elected to government.
COMMUNITY ADVOCACY WIN: Liberal/National commitment – The NSW Government’s announcement that it will appoint the state’s first-ever Minister for Regional Youth if re-elected is welcome news. In partnership with Youth Action NSW, and supported by a conference resolution, we have been advocating strongly for the re-establishment of a dedicated minister for young people aged 12-25.
FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY WIN: We’re delighted NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has responded to the concerns of those councils threatened with reduced access to low interest T-Corp loans if they hold deposits with unrated banks, by committing to raise the issue with T-Corp. Contact Shaun McBride, LGNSW Senior Strategy Manager to discuss your concerns.
ROAD FUNDING WIN: Liberals/Nationals election pledge of $1 billion of additional funding for local roads and country bridges is great news for regional and rural councils. See 2019 NSW Election Priority #3.
Photos: Warren Mayor Milton Quigley (left), Carrathool Mayor Peter Laird (far right) and LGNSW President Linda Scott thank Minister Niall Blair for ruling out privatisation of council-owned water utilities; visit to Bourke Shire Council; visit to Walgett Shire Council; visit to Coonamble Shire; LGNSW President Linda Scott with Mayor of Cobar Lilliane Brady; Rex Wilson, LGNSW President Linda Scott, LGNSW Board Director Rural/Regional Cr Darriea Turley and Robynne Wilson; visit to Gilgandra Shire Council; visit to Brewarrina Shire Council.