With less than two months until the state election, Namoi Unlimited has called on all candidates to pledge to increase support for Local Government, the community and Joint Organisations of Councils in NSW.
Chairperson of Namoi Unlimited and Mayor of Gunnedah Shire Council Jamie Chaffey says, “regional NSW should thrive in the next decade, the funding available through Regional Growth Funds and Snowy Hydro is literally billions of dollars, it is a once in a generation opportunity.
“Joint Organisations of Councils were established in NSW as a voluntary function, to enable councils to work together, collaborate, plan and drive ambitious projects for regional NSW.
“Our remit is to work together to identify and support each other to deliver on projects of regional significance to benefit people and industry across Gunnedah Shire, Gwydir Shire, Liverpool Plains Shire, Tamworth Regional Council and Walcha Council.
“We have a strong vision for growth and what we need now is a long-term commitment from the elected Government to funding to deliver the identified benefits.”
Namoi Unlimited is calling for the following commitments to its regional activities:
* Ongoing investments in water Infrastructure.
* Funding to establish a dedicated Export Hub to provide businesses in the region with the knowledge, the expertise and support to grow their businesses, into identified markets and support innovation in the agricultural sector.
* Funding for identified priorities in the Namoi Roads Network Strategy.
* Funding through Smart and Skilled for the continuation of the Local Government Skills Strategy.
Councillor Chaffey said “if as a region we identify the infrastructure to secure our water supply and the quality of the water for our future – the expectation of our member Councils is that the funds and programs available now – will be there post the end of March, and resources will be available for Councils to assist them directly with engineering, detailed designs and funding.
“The Namoi region is well positioned to build Australia’s exports in food, agriculture, education and agri-tourism – we as a region want resources to accelerate this opportunity and directly help businesses come out of this drought and a share in the new opportunities for what is an exciting future for agriculture and food production.
“The Namoi Roads Network Strategy is a wonderful example of council collaboration. Together we’ve identified and prioritised pinch points along our freight corridors, and member Councils have submitted funding for more than $90 million for strategic road funding, Councils are working on designs for a further $120million in works – let’s get these freight networks funded and open for business.
“Importantly these activities will create jobs in our communities.”
The role of Namoi Unlimited is to work closely with Government to plan and prioritise projects for the region, develop relationships with Government and advocate for the region.
Councils across the Namoi region have engaged with communities and have identified opportunities in their own Local Government Areas.
Councillor Chaffey said “this is an extraordinary opportunity and with potentially two elections this year, let’s spend our time talking about what will benefit the future growth and development of the region; such as a better and more connected road network, our access and security to water, business growth and attracting people to live and work in this region.”