Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor, Jamie Chaffey, has been elected Chair of the Country Mayors Association of NSW, with a determination to advocate for equity for regional, rural and remote residents.
Mayor Chaffey said he was honoured to be unanimously supported for the role in an organisation that had a history of lobbying for local government and issues that affected regional communities, and working with all levels of government to achieve the best outcomes.
“The Country Mayors Association of NSW has a proven record of speaking up for our 76 member councils representing more than three million residents – that’s about 37% of the state’s population,” Mayor Chaffey said.
“It’s a big task, particularly in a year like 2022 when local government is facing extreme financial pressure from inflation, material shortages and price increases, staff shortages and energy price increases, amongst other challenges.
“Add to this the unrelenting natural disasters impacting on 126 of the state’s 128 councils, and our communities are clearly in need of strong representation at the highest level.
“This is our strength as an organisation. We have agreed in principal on a list of State Election Priorities that will be endorsed in a matter of weeks and then presented to all political parties calling for action in the areas of skills and education, health, roads and transport, water security, housing, law and order, telecommunications blackspot coverage, and disaster preparedness and funding.”
Mayor Chaffey also congratulated his fellow country Mayors elected to the Association’s executive team, including Temora Shire Council Mayor, Rick Firman, who was elected to the position of Deputy Chair.
“I look forward to working with Rick Firman over the next two years as we deliver for Country Mayors Association,” Mayor Firman said.
“It was very encouraging to see 12 nominations for eight executive positions, and for us in New England North West, it was great to see two of those positions filled by mayors from within our region – Russell Webb from Tamworth Regional Council and Sam Coupland from Armidale Regional Council.”
Mayor Chaffey has been the Deputy Chair of the Country Mayors Association of NSW since 2020 and has served on the Executive since 2018. He has represented Gunnedah Shire as a delegate since 2016.
A general meeting was held after the AGM and agreed in principal on a list of State Election priorities including action in the areas of skills and education, health, roads and transport, water security, housing, law and order, telecommunications black spot coverage and disaster preparedness and funding.