It was good to see so many people participating in the Australia Day activities across the shire.

I extend my thanks to all volunteers and council staff who supported the events.

Wee Waa hosted a wonderful breakfast, with special thanks to Julie Dowleans OAM for being MC, to the Wee Waa Lions Club and the Wee Waa Historical Museum for their hospitality.

The Boggabri Australia Day festivities were also impressive, with Malcolm Donaldson MCing the event.

Several students from Boggabri schools shared their perspectives on the significance of Australia Day.

The Boggabri Lions Club provided a splendid barbecue for everyone.

It was equally wonderful to swear in eight new citizens in Narrabri last Saturday, along with presenting the Australia Day awards.

Thanks to the Narrabri Scouts for their great work, Jesse Weekes for being MC at our Narrabri events, and Kodey Stanford for providing musical support.

I encourage you to start thinking about potential nominees for next year’s awards.

Our Australia Day ambassador, Clyde Campbell AM, was particularly inspiring with his efforts in fundraising for Parkinson’s disease research and awareness.

Earlier last week, I visited the Walgett PCYC along with some other community members and staff to understand its role in the local community.

We met the PCYC state operations manager and the local site manager.

The facility is impressive and well-utilised by the community.

The local manager reported that 80 per cent of the community are PCYC members, with membership fees at $15 for children and $30 for adults.

On another matter, the state government announced a review into NSW Local Government financial sustainability across the entire state.

A significant number of councils (not Narrabri Shire) across NSW have had to apply for special rate variations last year to increase rates above the standard 2.4 per cent rate increase.

With inflation running at around 6.3 per cent, it has left many NSW councils with huge gaps in their budgets.

I urge the review to come up with a proposal so that local councils receive fair, consistent, predictable, and sustainable funding from NSW and federal government sources.

It is important that smaller regional councils receive their fair share of the considerable taxes and royalties that governments extract from our areas.

It is also important that all councils continue to drive efficiencies within their own operations as well.

I had the pleasure of attending and presenting awards at the Country Education Foundation of the Namoi event last Monday at The Crossing Theatre.

Hearing from past recipients and seeing the new group of worthy awardees receive their support was truly inspiring.

Housekeeping matters:

*Reminder about the Senior of the Year Award! Nominees must be residents of Narrabri Shire and aged over 60 (or over 50 for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders, or people with a lifelong disability). Nominations close on Friday, February 2, 2024. The nomination form is available on our website

* Please note that Cr Brett Dickinson will serve as acting mayor from Thursday, February 1 until Monday, February 12.

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