Members of Namoi Unlimited met in Gunnedah this week and agreed to call upon the Commonwealth Government to extend drought funding for Member Councils.
Chairperson of Namoi Unlimited and Mayor of Gunnedah Shire Council Councillor Jamie Chaffey said “as a group, Namoi Unlimited met with Special Drought Envoy Barnaby Joyce on a recent advocacy trip to Canberra.
“We were asked to provide feedback on what the Commonwealth can do to help drought- affected communities, and there’s a feeling within our organisation that additional round of funding to stimulate the economy is needed.”
The Commonwealth Government’s Drought Communities Program is providing $1 million to 81 Local Governments including the five Member Councils of Namoi Unlimited; Walcha, Liverpool Plains Shire, Tamworth Regional, Gwydir Shire and Gunnedah Shire.
Councillor Chaffey said “our Member Councils have responded positively to the program demonstrating that we are capable of acting quickly and efficiently to plan and deliver projects to stimulate our local economies.
“Community consultation across the region has helped us shape our request and any future decision making about what to apply for, we have a valuable insight into what our communities say will help them through this ongoing period of drought.
“It’s important to recognise that the Drought Communities Program is an excellent initiative. An additional round of funding of potentially up to $2 million for each of our Councils won’t make grass grow or put water in dams but, it will send money through local businesses, community groups and support employment during this time.
“What we hope is that by investing in local infrastructure, the money will provide another economic stimulus as we enter a New Year and the summer months.”
Councillor Chaffey the Chairperson of Namoi Unlimited also paid tribute to the hard work of council staff during the drought.
“Many staff are themselves struggling with drought, and they continue to work hard for their community, promoting drought services, assisting charities and supporting ratepayers.
“The upcoming festive season will be a difficult one for many farming families, and as a community we need to continue to show compassion and care,” said Councillor Chaffey.