First and foremost, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who attended last Tuesday’s community meeting about our hospital services in Narrabri Shire. I was immensely proud of our community and our unity in the face of incredible determination by health bureaucrats to allegedly downgrade our pathology services. A special thank you goes to Sarah Gleeson for her outstanding efforts, as well as to Russell Stewart, Ian Schweitzer, Paul Gordon, Dr Ojah, Dr Rohana, Dr Andrew Gottke, Liz Murphy, Tricia Hadley, and Chris Cole. Moreover, we owe a great deal of gratitude to the brave nurses, ambos, doctors, pathology staff, and administrators of our hospitals who have stood up for our community. Many were present at the meeting but were told they could not speak publicly about this issue.

Tuesday’s meeting truly underscored the strength and unity of our community. The speakers conveyed passionately why our hospital services need upgrading, not downgrading, and how crucial it is for us to resist these proposed changes. Our voices are definitely being heard!

In a significant development, I received support from both the Gunnedah and Moree mayors to call for a full inquiry into Hunter New England Health. We are urging Health Minister Ryan Park to initiate an independent inquiry into Hunter New England Health’s support and consultation with rural and remote communities regarding their local hospitals. The Minister is listening, which is a positive step. We just hope that his bureaucrats are equally attentive. Moving on to other matters, the Renewable Energy Implementation Plan is currently on public exhibition. This consultation paper seeks community input on proposed actions for inclusion in the plan. The exhibition period runs until 5pm on Wednesday, June 26. Hard copies are available for public viewing at the council’s administration building. Your participation in this initiative will significantly contribute to our renewable energy goals.

Additionally, following recent rainfall, it is important to urge landowners to manage African Boxthorn while it is in a vulnerable state. Proper control of this invasive species is crucial to protect our priority assets. Detailed information on identification and control methods is available on the DPI website or through our Weed Officer.

It is disheartening to report that 25 newly planted trees have been stolen from the Dangar and Bridge Street area. These trees were intended to enhance our community space with shade, beauty, and privacy. If you have any information regarding the theft, please contact Crime Stoppers or council.

I would also like to provide a brief update on our infrastructure projects. Construction has begun on the Wee Waa Multi-Purpose Courts, with the old infrastructure removed and the concrete slab poured. Additionally, stabilising and sealing work has been completed on sections of Doreen Lane and Pilliga Road (although the recent rain might delay progress), and various maintenance activities are ongoing in our parks and open spaces.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our community.

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