In a submission to the NSW Country Mayors’ Association, Gunnedah Shire Council has identified its top five areas of concern.
Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey told Councillors at the April Ordinary Council meeting that the Executive of the NSW Country Mayors’ Association, of which he is the Deputy Chair, were encouraging member councils to submit motions on priority issues.
The association’s survey of councils in December 2020 found the top three single issues for councils were water security, access to health services and financial assistance grants, but the association acknowledged it was time to review the findings.
Cr Chaffey said like any other region, Gunnedah faced a number of issues.
“While we recognise there are many challenges within the Shire, our community knows where we need help, and the most important challenge we continue to face is access to health services,” he said.
“We have had a doctor to resident ratio of 1:3000 and a local hospital where the facilities are not up to the standard we need. While we have seen a recent improvement in doctor numbers, we continue to work with health professionals to come up with practical and sustainable solutions and to keep the pressure on the state and federal governments for improvement in this area.
“Our other priorities are housing, skills and education, crime levels and cost shifting.
“We have a lack of residential housing, a lack of vocational education and training courses, a dramatic increase in crime, and determinations by the state government in recent years that have put a financial burden on Council without financial reward.
“We intend to keep the focus on these areas of need and help find solutions for our community.”
Cr Chaffey said the information would be gathered and assessed for top concerns across regional and rural New South Wales to inform the position and priorities of the NSW Country Mayor’s Association for the next 12 months.
The submission was presented in a Mayoral Minute to Gunnedah Shire Council that was adopted this week.
Caption: Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey says the most important challenge the Shire continues to face is access to health services.