JO advocacy trip to Canberra provided useful platform to bring region’s strategic priorities to Federal attention

Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) GM, Ron van Katwyk, and Deputy Mayor, Paul Moules, represented Council as part of the Namoi Unlimited Joint Organisations (JO) recent advocacy trip to Canberra to outline the organisations strategic priorities for the next three years and encourage further funding and support from the Government to assist meeting the objectives.

“JOs have become a key mechanism through which Government delivers funding and programs to regional NSW. A lot of time has been spent determining the strategic priorities and the visit provided a show of strength signifying the serious commitment member councils have made to work together on ambitious projects for the region,” he said.

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“Water was a major issue on the agenda and recognising its importance for the region, the JO is undertaking a project to establish the region’s urban and rural water needs into the future. JO Chair, Councillor Jamie Chaffey told Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, the organisation has been reassured that a regional approach to how we identify and address infrastructure such as water is critical. The JO is focused on the region increasing its potential as one of Australia’s most productive food bowls. The JO stated its case for funding towards a report that can enunciate what water is required and how we can use it to achieve the desired outcomes,” Mr Van Katwyk said.

“Roads, education, electricity, telecommunications, trade and investment were important issues on the agenda as were the business case for a university campus in the region and enabled and connecting infrastructure, including a plan to align road projects to drive efficiencies and deliver freight corridors and clustering priorities. Drought was also a priority item and discussions included a meeting with Special Drought Envoy and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce.

“The need for affordable energy and the extra pain high and rising prices are causing during the drought, along with reliable telecommunications and strategies to increase populations and growth with a focus on attracting and retaining skilled workers were highlighted,” he said.

“The case for funding and recognition of NSW Joint Organisation of Councils by the Federal Government was made to Minister for Local Government and Decentralisation, Bridget McKenzie.

“Speaking on behalf of the JO, Councillor Chaffey described the agenda as ‘ambitious, worthwhile and reassuring’. I think my JO colleagues and I, after 10 meetings, left Canberra feeling a regional approach to projects and planning was applauded, and organisations like Namoi Unlimited with a clear and strategic focus are very much welcomed in the National Capital,” Mr van Katwyk concluded.

GM Ron van Katwyk (back row right) and Deputy Mayor Paul Moules (back second from right) attended Namoi Unlimited Jo’s advocacy trip to Canberra representing LPSC and are pictured with Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation (front centre) and JO colleagues, the GMs and Mayors of Gunnedah Shire, Gwydir Shire, Walcha Shire and Tamworth Regional Councils .

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