If freely available working crystal balls existed then there is every chance that we would all be living happy, wealthy, healthy, wise lives – but perhaps be prone to caution and lack a sense of adventure.

As crystal balls are not available we tend to rely on the words of forecasters, professional analysts, psychics, astrologers and other gurus – especially at the beginning of a new year.

But the problem with forecasting the future and getting it right is that the weight of fact-based science and hindsight has shown again and again that predicted futures generally miss the mark.

There may be something though, in predicting that it would not be wise to rely on the predictions of forecasters.

What then can we say about the prospects for Narrabri Shire and its diverse community in the year ahead?

Some things will remain guesses until wished-for events actually occur.

The arrival of drought-breaking rain and a return to some degree of seasonal normality remains an earnest wish for everyone in NSW and Australia as a whole but it would seem that the reality of observed climatic changes may mean a continuation of extreme weather over the months ahead.

Does this mean that heavy rain – indeed, a flood event – could lie ahead? Time will tell.

Some things, such as natural events, may be beyond our control but there are a great many other influences and factors which may direct our lives in 2020.

How we as communities in the towns, districts and households of our shire manage our lives in the year ahead depends in a great many instances on the manner in which we conduct ourselves as individuals and citizens of wider communities.

Recent months have shown just how important how ordinary people are in keeping communities moving and improving.

The responses to drought, to economic hardship at many levels in this and other areas have been both inspirational and instructional when it comes to confronting those challenges.

Examples abound of how positive attitudes and responses can alter and improve lives.

For example, take the ‘Buy From The Bush’ campaign – and note the successes that has generated.

Look at the determination of people in clubs and societies to help others. Look at the fact that sport and cultural activities continue to provide interest, purpose and camaraderie for hundreds of people.

Look how well our schools have been coping in trying times.

If there is one example of how generational transfer of a sense of community service has been taking place look at the wonderful efforts of local youngsters setting out to become trained, fully-fledged bush fire brigade volunteer members.

For its part, Narrabri Shire Council continues to provide infrastructure that provides the Narrabri community, now and in the future, with the services that businesses and families need.

The multi-faceted and multi-layered assets of Narrabri Shire underpin its future; its agriculture, its energy resources, its innovative businesses, its research stations, its schools and medical facilities, and its locational advantages.

And, of course the pride and confidence of community members in the area they love and defend, provide reason enough not to doubt, that whatever 2020 may come to offer, this shire will continue to grow sustainably and prosper over the course of the years ahead.

The future may be difficult to predict but it is also true that the future we desire relies much on ourselves for its making.