This time last week, I was attending a General Meeting of the NSW Country Mayor’s Association at Parliament House in Sydney, along with General Manager Gareth Curtis.
These events provide an opportunity to meet up with counterparts from other rural and regional councils and discuss the issues that matter most to our respective communities, as well as providing a collective voice to advocate on these issues.
With the effects of drought, flooding, bushfires, mouse plagues and the COVID-19 pandemic all being felt so acutely in communities like ours across the state, these forums are more important than ever to allow us to join forces and work through these challenges together.
Some important issues on the agenda included:
- The lack of medical and health services including General Practitioners and mental health services in rural and remote communities.
- Calls for a National Water Quality Management Strategy, cohesive water security approaches and infrastructure investment.
- Growing costs of cemeteries.
- Housing affordability and availability of social housing.
- Disaster recovery in regional and remote communities.
Commissioner of Resilience NSW, Shane Fitzsimmons, was a standout keynote speaker who was clear in his focus about the betterment of damaged infrastructure and how important this is to build resilience in communities such as ours.
One example is the replacement of our shire’s timber bridges with concrete bridges, as they are less likely to be washed away in future flood events or burnt in a bush fire.
We are currently undergoing the process of replacing 23 of our 24 timber bridges, having received $16M in funding under the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Bridges program earlier this year.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing, The Hon. Melinda Pavey MP, also presented on the NSW Housing Strategy 2021, outlining new ways of proving affordable housing, as well as actions being taken by the government to address water security for towns across the state following our most recent drought.
I will continue to lend my voice and support to the collective agenda of the NSW Country Mayor’s Association, as we look to overcome the obstacles present in rural and regional living and create robust, productive and sustainable communities for the future.
For any other activities, events or happenings around our shire, you can contact me by phone on 4995 7777 or by email on email@example.com
I look forward to hearing from you.