Kevin Humphries

Full consultation promised for Tottenham water supply upgrade

There will be full Council and community consultation on the best way to secure the Tottenham town water supply, according to Lachlan Shire Mayor John Medcalf.

This reassurance, comes after an announcement of $2.3 million grant to expand the Tottenham Water Storage Facility by Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries.

The funding was made available through the NSW Government’s Regional Water and Waste Water Program.

“The project includes the construction of a 100 megalitre storage dam, evaporation covers for the Leg O Mutton Dam and new dam, a pump station, power supply augmentation and transfer pipeline between the two dams,” Mr Humphries said.

The total cost of the project would be $4.6 million, which means Lachlan Shire Council has to find the other $2.3 million from budgetary measures.

Questions were raised by members of the community last week, as to why such a project was not put before Council and more consultation not undertaken.

More questions were raised about Mayor Medcalf’s personal involvement in the making the grant application and influencing the overall decision making process.

Mayor Medcalf was adamant, these questions and concerns needed to be addressed quickly, to avoid unnecessary angst or bitterness in the Tottenham community.

“I did not have any input into the submission for the grant prior to it being lodged. A previous Director of Infrastructure made the application,” he explained.

“As for me having undue influence over the decision making process that is untrue and unfair. I would never use my position as Mayor to improperly affect the outcome for a Shire community.

“The Tottenham water supply has never been a “pet project” of mine. And as for Council being a “one man band” that is simply false. There are nine other Councillors who sit alongside me, and will be actively involved in making decisions for the entire Shire throughout their four year term.

“I am from Tottenham, but like all other councillors I have been elected to represent the Lachlan Shire, and the best interests of residents. And I will continue to do that.”

Mr Medcalf said he wanted to assure the community of Tottenham, no such major decisions on expanding the Water Storage Facility would be made without extensive consultation and expert advice.

“We are going to be looking at all options for securing the water storage and supply at Tottenham,” he said.

“This has been a long process and Council wants to make sure we get the best outcome for the residents of Tottenham.

“Tottenham is in the top five of most vulnerable water supplies in the State according to Kevin Humphries. Decisions will have to be made on the water supply, but that will come before Council and they will explore all options available.

“I want Tottenham residents to know that options will be carefully considered and whatever the final outcome, they can be assured there will be transparency of the process.”

Valmai rewarded for her excellent efforts

Top. Lachlan Shire Mayor John Medcalf, Valmai Coe, State Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries and Condobolin High School’s Matt Heffernan; BOTTOM LEFT: Valmai Coe (centre) with her grandmother Sandra Ritchie and her mother Isabel Coe; BOTTOM RIGHT: Valmai Coe with her tutor Amy Jacometti. MB

By Melissa Blewitt

 

Condobolin’s Valmai Coe has been announced as the inaugural 2016 Aboriginal Student of the Year for Barwon.

The Aboriginal Student of the Year is a new annual award recognising young people who demonstrate leadership within their school and local community.

Valmai’s mother, Isabel Coe, said her daughter was determined to lead by example at school and in the community.

“We are just so proud of her,” she said. “She has done so well and worked really hard for her success.”

State Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, presented the award to Valmai at a special presentation at Condobolin High School last Wednesday.

“I was pleased to nominate Valmai and thrilled when she received this award,” he said.

“Valmai is a wonderful representative for both indigenous and non-indigenous youth in the Barwon Electorate.

“By volunteering her time to those around her she quietly promotes cohesion and leads by example.

“Students like Valmai are the leaders of tomorrow and it makes me very happy to see such encouraging young adults coming through.”

As recognition of her achievements, Mr Humphries presented Valmai with a certificate and a gift voucher. He also invited her to attend the Emerging Leaders Forum in Sydney in August, where she will meet with Aboriginal, business and Government leaders.

Amalgamation an “insult” to Lachlan Shire

Forcing Lachlan Shire Council to amalgamate is an “insult” according to State Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries.

• State Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries told the Argus, a forced amalgamation would be an “insult” to Lachlan Shire Council. He is pictured here with LSC Deputy Mayor Des Manwaring on a visit to Condobolin earlier this year. More on the KEEP LACHLAN LOCAL campaign on page 7.

By Melissa Blewitt

Forcing Lachlan Shire Council to amalgamate is an “insult” according to State Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries.

“Forcing Lachlan Shire Council based on this (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal‘s Fit for the Future) report is an absolute insult to them,” he said.

“Out of all the councils in my electorate, Lachlan is one of the best. Lachlan Shire Council is doing a good job, and they have the right to fight for their community.

“Lachlan Shire does not support amalgamation and neither do I. I will not be supporting any forced amalgamation within my electorate.

“Lachlan Shire Council wants to stand alone and I fully support that decision. I will fight for Lachlan’s right to stand alone.

“It’s a case of why bother, if no economic case has been made for amalgamations and certainly no advantages of the decision explained to communities.

“My position is that I support Lachlan Shire and I will not support any forced amalgamations, and I will be taking my concerns to the Minster for Local Government Paul Toole during the next two sitting weeks of Parliament.”

Mr Humphries said he understood Barwon had “interests that were too broad” and many councils in his electorate would not benefit from amalgamations.

“We need to keep local interests alive and councils working together can achieve great outcomes for their communities.”

Mr Humphries added he felt the emphasis should be more on supporting and empowering Joint Organisations (JO’s).

“I think this whole process has gone in the wrong direction. There should be more emphasis on creating a stronger Regional Organisation of Councils such as Central NSW Councils (CENTROC), which Lachlan is a part of,” he said.

“I think this [the IPART assessments] is the wrong path and we need to look at giving local councils a bigger role in a JO, so they can act as a direct conduit to the State Government.

“This is not to say that those who believe amalgamating will bring benefits, should not go ahead.

“All councils can look at strategic planning and working more efficiently, and I do support that.”

Mr Humphries said he will not be in Condobolin until December, but he has made his feelings clear to both Lachlan Shire Mayor John Medcalf and Deputy Mayor Des Manwaring.

“I spoke to John [Mayor Medcalf] two weeks ago and I made by position clear to him. I do not support forced amalgamations,” he said. “He knows how I feel and I will support Lachlan’s right to fight this decision.”

Yellow Mountain misses black spot funding

Federal Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has called the Government’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot program “a win for regional Australia”, but those living to the north and west of Condobolin are feeling left in the dark.

• Telstra’s map of their 3G mobile network coverage reveals a gapping hole north west of Condobolin – one of the largest black spots in NSW. A proposed tower on Yellow Mountain, which would have largely filled this, missed out on funding in Round One of the Mobile Black Spots Program. Source: Telstra

By Lara Pearce

Federal Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has called the Government’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot program “a win for regional Australia”, but those living to the north and west of Condobolin are feeling left in the dark.

“We were gutted on Thursday,” said farmer Roger Todd, who lives 60 kilometres north west of Condobolin.

Roger Todd and neighbour Fred Colless have been leading the charge for a mobile phone and data tower on Yellow Mountain, supported by the Lachlan Shire Council.

Yellow Mountain is 72 kilometres north west of Condobolin, in the middle of one of the state’s largest black spots.

“We were all surprised,” Roger said. “I thought we were in with a really good shot, given that we’ve not absolutely no mobile service. Given that we have got the power and the towers already [on Yellow Mountain], I thought it was a no brainer.”

The Mobile Black Spot program is jointly funded by the Federal Government, the state governments and the telecommunications providers, Telstra and Optus.

Last Thursday, they announced the location of almost 500 new or upgraded mobile base stations, covering around 3,000 mobile black spots across the nation.

New towers will be built to the south east of Condobolin at Ungarie, Waroo, Bedgerabong and Manna Mountain, but no funding was announced for any towers north west of Condobolin.

Before the NSW election in March, local member and then Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, said a mobile tower with data on Yellow Mountain was his “number one priority”.

Mark Coulton also lent his support, submitting the funding application on behalf of the community.

“It is extremely disappointing,” said Fred.

“However, we haven’t given up yet. There is another round of funding.”

The second round of applications is now open, with the Federal Government providing a further $60 million in funding. Locations of towers for round two will be announced in a year and a half.

Roger Todd says he hopes the State Government will match this funding, as they did with round one, and mobile and data for Yellow Mountain will be secured.

“If we don’t get this funded federally now, it is never going to happen privately with Telstra,” he said.

“If we don’t get it, we’ll have to look into putting our own towers up and pinching service off someone else, and all we are going to do is overload the system even more – that is what they are pushing us in to.”

Nationals member Kevin Humphries re-elected but primary vote slashed

By Lara Pearce

Incumbent State member, Kevin Humphries, has been re-elected for another term, but his primary vote has dropped by 23% since the last election.

On Saturday, Kevin Humphries polled 49% on first preferences. This follows the 2011 election, where Anti-Labor sentiment saw the Nationals pick up a massive 79% of the first preference votes in Barwon– or 72% once the re-distribution of electorates is taken into account.

Labor secured 24.5% of the vote with candidate Craig Ashby.

However, most of the swing went not to Labor but to first-time candidate and Independent, Rohan Boehm. He picked up 17% of the vote on first preferences.

The former farmer and agricultural consultant campaigned strongly against coal seam gas, which has been a particularly contentious issue in the Narrabri region, where a mine has been proposed in the Pilliga Forest.

“All the feedback that I am getting is that people are very pleased with how the campaign went,” Mr Boehm said. “In two months, we were able to make a major in-road into the margin that Kevin Humphries had.”

“We made a competitive space out of it, which is the most important thing – for voters to have a very clear opportunity for choice,” Independent Rohan Boehm said.

He attributes his success to the grassroots nature of his campaign, which listened to the community on key issues. “We established strong community groups and we created policies which were developed specifically for each particular place,” he said.

This result reflects a wider trend across regional New South Wales, where the Nationals have lost out to Independents and Greens Party candidates. The formerly safe Nationals seat of Ballina has gone to Greens candidate, Tamara Smith, while in Lismore, the results are still in doubt but the Greens candidate is currently in the lead. Sitting National Party member Thomas George has lost popularity over widespread opposition to coal seam gas in the region.

Kevin Humphries has downplayed the significance of the swing against the Nationals, attributing it to a natural correction of 2011’s inflated majorities.

“My primary vote at the last election shot up over 80%,” he said speaking to the ABC. “That was on the fact that there wasn’t really a serious contest from other candidates.”

“If you look at all the electorates around the state including Barwon there was going to be a significant adjustment – that had to happen.”

NSW Government backs Yellow Mountain mobile tower

A mobile phone and data tower for Yellow Mountain seems to be within reach, with the State Government pledging to match the Federal Government’s funding of $25 million for New South Wales.

• Minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphries met with local property owners Fred Colless and Roger Todd in Condobolin on Friday to confirm his support for a mobile phone and data tower at Yellow Mountain. LP

By Lara Pearce

A mobile phone and data tower for Yellow Mountain seems to be within reach, with the State Government pledging to match the Federal Government’s funding of $25 million for New South Wales.

A week out from the NSW election, Kevin Humphries met with the key drivers behind the tower, local property owners Roger Todd and Fred Colless, last Friday. He says Yellow Mountain is his top priority for the Mobile Black Spots programme.

“There are probably about three or four in my area but this has always been the main one here,” he said. “It is my number one priority and it is also [Federal Member for Parkes] Mark Coulton’s.”

Yellow Mountain, which is 70 kilometres directly north west of Condobolin, reaches 547m metres above sea level.

Nearby property owner Roger Todd says it is an ideal location for a tower, as there is already a tower there for landlines and power. “We have got the solid infrastructure there so we have already got the bones,” he said.

Roger and Fred believe that, due to Yellow Mountain’s height, the tower would provide mobile phone reception within about a 40 kilometre radius on hand held devices and further with car kits. “The fringes of the black spot will be shady but that’s when you go and put your repeaters up there,” Roger said.

With repeaters in place, they believe they will be able to link up Tottenham, Nyngan, Condobolin, Nymagee and Euabalong West, effectively filling one of the largest black spots in New South Wales.

Combined State and Federal Government funding pledges would provide $50 million for towers across New South Wales, with the Yellow Mountain tower expected to cost in the order of $500,000.

“These guys want to get into data, so that is much higher cost because it means you have got to entrench cable over a reasonable amount of distance,” Mr Humphries explained.

However, the local community are adamant that data is a must, both for on-farm safety and for the economic development of the region.

“There are not enough younger people coming home to the farm,” said Fred. “And why would they? They are just used to all those technological conveniences.”

Roger Todd is also keen to get data, noting that it would speed up service for the wider region by taking some of the load off the Condobolin tower.

“It is our time,” he said. “I just went from one end of Vietnam to the other and didn’t lose mobile service once. I saw a guy walking his bullock down the road on the phone.

“We’ve got all our machines steering themselves, but I can’t send a text message.”

Condo joins Barwon electorate this Election Day

By Lara Pearce

The redistribution of electoral boundaries from this Saturday’s election means that, for the first time, Condobolin, Lake Cargelligo and Tullibigeal will join with the northern part of the Lachlan Shire in voting in the Barwon electorate.

The largest electoral district in the state – encompassing 44% of the land mass of NSW – Barwon stretches from in Narrabri in the east to the South Australian border in the west and from Lake Cargelligo in the south to the Queensland border in the north.

The seat has been held by the Nationals (previously the Country Party) since 1950.

Previously, Condobolin was part of the Murrumbidgee electorate, held by the Education Minister and Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Adrian Piccoli. This electorate has been dissolved, while a new electorate called Newtown has been created in Sydney’s inner suburbs.

However, while the local candidates have changed, voters are being reassured that the voting process remains the same.

“We would suggest that people just turn up to the polling booths that they usually vote at,” said a spokesperson for the NSW Electoral Commission, Richard Carroll.

Polling booths will be open from 8am until 6pm on Saturday, 28 March. In Condobolin, the Condobolin Public School on Molong Street is the registered Polling Place.

In the wider region, the following buildings are the places to go to place your vote: Lake Cargelligo Memorial Hall, the Tullibigeal Community Hall, the Tottenham War Memorial Hall, the Murrin Bridge Preschool, the Fifield Public Hall and the Euabalong Community Centre.

There are more candidates running in the Barwon electorate than ever, with six candidates contesting the seat. This is due in part to the fact that micro party the No Land Tax Party is running a candidate in every seat, while the Christian Democrats are also running a candidate – Ian Hutchinson.

The current Minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphries will also be up against Labor Party candidate Craig Ashby, Cameron Jones for the Greens and Independent Rohan Boehm, who has been gaining a groundswell of support on the key local issue of Coal Seam Gas.

Kevin Humphries

The Nationals

Kevin Humphries is Barwon’s current member and is also the Minister for Western NSW and the Minister for Natural Resources, Land and Water. He has held the seat of Barwon since 2007.Kevin Humphries is Barwon’s current member and is also the Minister for Western NSW and the Minister for Natural Resources, Land and Water. He has held the seat of Barwon since 2007.

While traditionally considered a very safe National seat, the redistribution of electoral boundaries is expected to narrow the Nationals margin of 32% last election, due largely to the inclusion of Broken Hill for the first time.

Key issues for Mr Humphries in this election campaign have been roads, infrastructure and water security.

“Since we have been in Government, we have set up targeted funding programs for country roads, country hospitals, Resources for Regions – which the Lachlan Shire has been a beneficiary of – regional tourism infrastructure funds through to water security for the regions,” he said. “What we don’t want to do is lose these opportunities.”

When questioned on the staffing cuts and infrastructure shortfalls at Condobolin Hospital, however, he was reticent to commit.

“There are at least 70 regional hospitals that will be upgraded,” he said. “Condobolin potentially could be a part of that upgrade, depending on the discussions that we have.”

Mr Humphries also added his support to the Liberal/National Party’s plan to lease 49% of the electricity network, despite emphasizing that the Government is already in a strong financial position. “A lot of the projects could still be started [if it didn’t go ahead], but we would be missing out on a really serious injection of funding for the regions,” he said.

One of those projects is water security.

“We have reserved a lot of money in the next stage of Government to look at water storage so we can secure up people’s water supply and improve reliability,” Mr Humphries explained.

“Water generates not just life but also income and we need to grow that resource and look at how people can use it more wisely.”

Mr Humphries has recently announced plans for a $3.9 million funding boost for three new bores for Condobolin.

While supporting the agricultural sector, Mr Humphries says he wants to diversify the economy. “You’ve got a growing mining sector in the region. So long as that doesn’t negatively impact on agriculture, that should progress.

“The other one is tourism. More and more as people move into urban areas they want to actually see Australia – the potential to grow that diversity is important.”

“For farmers, the Native Vegetation Laws will go and there will be a lot more flexibilty for land use development in the Lachlan Valley. So it is just really about trying to open up communities.”

Rohan Boehm

Independent

Independent candidate Rohan Boehm lives in Narrabri with his family. Formerly a farmer, he worked as an agricultural consultant before running for Parliament.Independent candidate Rohan Boehm lives in Narrabri with his family. Formerly a farmer, he worked as an agricultural consultant before running for Parliament.

Mr Boehm says he decided to run as an Independent after becoming disillusioned with the National Party as a voice for the country.

His key priorities include strong opposition to Coal Seam Gas, supporting agriculture through a new Native Vegetation Act and tackling drug trafficking through both prevention and prosecution.

“Because the local police don’t have the resources or the capabilities provided to tackle this, I would be bringing in special forces to rural towns, one by one, that would be designed to target drug trafficking,” he said. “We need to re-instate mental health services in our towns.”

Mr Boehm travelled to Condobolin to attend the Western Division Conference in February, which he says has been key in informing his policies on the role of local government.

“I learnt that local government is very much not in favour of amalgamation and as a result, neither am I,” he said. “Both major parties have been gradually pulling back the opportunity for country people to have their voice and to take direct participation in their affairs in local government.”

“There needs to be local decision making across all parts of the electorate.”

“I believe that is the biggest change that I would make as an Independent.”

While Mr Boehm says he is not opposed to sustainable mining practices, he believes agriculture should be the priority. “I want no new coal on productive agricultural land or areas where catchments and biodiversity are going to be impacted,” he said.

He also wants to see more support for local industry and local workers. “Small towns can grow and they should be geared for growth. A growing town is an effective, confident community and that will attract successful business.”

“I want local people creating their own tiny businesses and that creates a business culture and once you have employers, you have employees. That is not how towns grow – by bringing in big new business.”

Craig Ashby

Labor

This election campaign, Labor has campaigned staunchly against the Liberal/National Party’s plans to lease off 49% of the state’s electricity network for 99 years.This election campaign, Labor has campaigned staunchly against the Liberal/National Party’s plans to lease off 49% of the state’s electricity network for 99 years.

Barwon candidate Craig Ashby has backed this position, stating that he wants to see the $1.7 billion that the networks generate each year used to fund health, education, infrastructure, transport and increased action on crime.

The 27-year-old Wilcannia school teacher was born in the remote Indigenous community of Walgett. He struggled with his education until he was sent away to school, where he learnt to read and write at the age of 15.

“Education is the great leveller in our society and that is why I am so passionate about learning and helping young people reach their maximum potential,” he said. “I want to see a first class education system in the bush so that children can stay in their communities rather than moving to major cities to pursue opportunities,” he said.

Working towards this, Mr Ashby has pledged to reverse the cuts to TAFE made by the current government.

He has also pledged 500 new paramedics and 840 new nurses for New South Wales, although it is unclear how many of those will be in Barwon.

Labor has joined with the Greens in opposing Coal Seam Gas, calling for a five year moratorium on the industry.

While the Labor Party opposes the creation of new dams and weirs, Mr Ashby has assured the Barwon electorate that he will work towards better water security for the region.

Cameron Jones

The Greens

The Greens candidate for Barwon, Cameron Jones, is a high school history teacher based in Broken Hill.

The Greens candidate for Barwon, Cameron Jones, is a high school history teacher based in Broken Hill.

He is advocating for the Greens’ regional renewal plan, which involves expanding the renewable energy sector in the region, protecting land and water, developing infrastructure and the creation of a Renew Regional NSW Fund. This fund would see an additional levy of 2% on coal royalties and 1% on minerals royalties, the money from which would be channelled into energy and water efficiency projects, renewable energy and agriculture.

“I want to bring back responsibility and accountability to politics,” Mr Jones said. “I have passion and the drive to lead a sustainable future for our children. I am a parent, and I think that any politician that isn’t working towards creating a sustainable legacy for our children is going to fail us.”

Mr Jones opposes the building of bores, instead wanting to see more healthy river systems that are self-sustaining. “I know Australia […] does have drought problems. So why aren’t we drought-proofing?”

“The Nationals seem to see bores as the solution to all of our ills.”

He is also keen to see the number of health care professionals in rural areas grow. “It is not that the professionals aren’t out there – it is about getting them to come to this remote location,” he said. “You have got to make them feel welcome, perhaps offer local housing and work with the local communities.”

Ian Hutchinson

Christian Democratic Party

For the first time in New South Wales, the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) is fielding candidates in all 93 seats of the Lower House, including Barwon.For the first time in New South Wales, the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) is fielding candidates in all 93 seats of the Lower House, including Barwon.

In the Legislative Council, CDP senators Fred Nile and Paul Green currently hold the balance of power along with the Shooters and Fishers Party.

The candidate for Barwon, Ian Hutchinson, is a retired Special Education teacher from Broken Hill. He says he decided to stand as a candidate after 20 years acting as party leader Fred Nile’s coordinator in the Far West.

“I want to represent everyone, not just certain groups,” he said. “I want a fair go for all.”

Mr Hutchinson is keen to emphasise that he stands for the whole of Barwon, not just Broken Hill – although he is yet to travel as far afield as the Lachlan Shire.

“I certainly have a priority to be there,” he said. “I took a week off in the first week of March. I didn’t get down to Condobolin this time but I did a trip to Cobar, Wilcannia, Gilgandra, Narrabri and Bourke.”

This election has seen CDP Senator and party leader, Reverend Fred Nile, side with the Labor Party in calling for a five year moratorium on Coal Seam Gas and call for a public enquiry into the Liberal/National party’s plan to partially privatise the state’s electricity network.

Mr Hutchinson has offered his support for these policies, as well as backing the Gonski education reforms. “The Gonski scheme needs to be put into place so young people out here have equal opportunities as the young people closer to Sydney,” he said.

“We want to see the drought subsidies which finished at the end of the 2013-14 year be re-introduced.

“As far as law and order is concerned, with the issues of drug trafficking, domestic violence and child abuse, we want to see mandatory minimum sentencing.

“We maintain one law for all Australians, which means that we oppose the introduction of any Islamic laws.”

Nella Lepreiato

No Land Tax Party

The No Land Tax Party has been making headlines this election after it drew the coveted first spot on the Upper House ballot paper – where many so-called ‘donkey’ voters place their vote.

The micro party surprised commentators by running candidates in all 93 seats this election, although many candidates appear to be related, as they share family names and localities.

By creating a high profile campaign, the party will be hoping to secure one of the coveted Upper House seats.

Nella Lopreiato is the candidate for Barwon. She is based in Bringelly, on the outskirts of Sydney.

She did not respond to The Argus’ request for an interview, but the Sydney Morning Herald noted that there are three other candidates running with the name of Lopreiato, all located in Bringelly and the nearby Cecil Park.

The No Land Tax Party’s number one priority is simple: to abolish land tax paid by investors and holiday home owners in New South Wales.

The party argues that land tax is unfair because it is levied on the land value of the property you own, regardless of the income generated by the property. There are no deductions for mortgage repayments. In order to fund the abolition of land tax, the party advocates for a rise in the GST.

 

Humphries offers guarded support for standalone councils

By Lara Pearce

The ‘Fit for the Future’ program was a hot issue at last week’s Annual Western Division Conference, igniting lively debate in the Wiradjuri Centre conference room.

The NSW Government initiative aims to make local councils more economical, proposing that some amalgamate or become a rural council – a new form of council with fewer councillors and less red tape.

Western Division councillors were keen to seek the assurance of Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, that they would not be forced into amalgamating.

While Mr Humphries said that he did not support amalgamation for councils in Western NSW, he stopped short of promising the Government’s support.

“You’re not going to get a response out of the Government until everybody has really had their say,” he said.

“In some parts of the state you will see people combining.”

“It is about giving local communities and Councils the option to participate. They want the capacity to expand and to set up infrastructure as well.”

Both Lachlan Shire Council’s Mayor, Des Manwaring, and the Acting General Manager, Alan McCormack, have previously voiced their support for remaining a standalone council in spite of the Fit for the Future panel’s recommendation to amalgamate with Parkes.

“Our position is clear,” the Mayor stated. “We want the boundaries of Lachlan Shire Council to stay as they are.”

All local councils in New South Wales will have to submit a Fit for the Future report to the NSW Government outlining their plans for long-term economic sustainability by 30 June.

NSW Govt to shore up Condo’s water supply

The NSW State Government has pledged almost $4 million in funding for Condobolin’s town water supply.

• Lachlan Shire Mayor Des Manwaring accepting a cheque for $3,900,000 from Minister for Water, Kevin Humphries. LP

By Lara Pearce

The NSW State Government has pledged almost $4 million in funding for Condobolin’s town water supply.

Minister for Water, Kevin Humphries, was in Condobolin on Monday, where he presented Lachlan Shire Mayor, Des Manwaring, with a cheque for $3,900,000. The money will be used to build three new bores to ensure Condobolin’s water supply during future dry periods.

The Mayor gratefully accepted the cheque. “We have a bore close to town but it only produces about a [megalitre] a day,” Clr Manwaring explained. “A few years ago, the river actually stopped running and that created a lot of problems.”

This is the first stage of a $12.2 million water supply project for the town.

“This project will help to improve economic growth and productivity in the region,” Mr Humphries said.

“Condobolin has had a long history of water restrictions. The new bores […] will complement the existing water supply from Goobang Creek.”

“Water is the lifeblood of our regional communities.”

The long-term goal is to extend the pipeline to link up with the regional network supplying towns in the Lachlan river system, if a sufficient amount of water is discovered.

The money is part of the NSW Government’s $366 million Water Security for Regions fund.

Local Government Areas of Walgett, Cobar and Brewarrina also received State Government funding boosts on Monday.

The Mayor of Cobar Lilliane Brady received just over $1 million. The Mayor of Brewarrina, Angelo Pippos, accepted a cheque for $320,000 for emergency water backup, and the Mayor of Walgett, David Lane, received just under $2 million for regional roads.

Mr Humphries noted that the road developments would also have flow-on benefits for the Lachlan Shire in facilitating the more efficient transport of goods.

Condo to join new ‘monster electorate’

As of next month’s State election, Condobolin will be part of the Barwon electorate, encompassing 45% of New South Wales – or an area roughly the size of Germany.

• The new Barwon electorate stretches from the Queensland and South Australian borders south to Condobolin and east to Narrabri. Source: NSW Electoral Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of next month’s State election, Condobolin will be part of the Barwon electorate, encompassing 45% of New South Wales – or an area roughly the size of Germany.

• The Minister for Western NSW and for Natural Resources, Lands and Water, Kevin Humphries, will officially take over from Adrian Piccoli as the local State representative for Condobolin if re-elected on 28 March. LP

By Lara Pearce

As of next month’s State election, Condobolin will be part of the Barwon electorate, encompassing 45% of New South Wales – or an area roughly the size of Germany.

The electorate has been dubbed by State Director of the Nationals party Ben Franklin the “monster electorate”. It covers 356,000 square kilometres and takes an estimated ten hours to traverse by car.

If re-elected, Nationals MP Kevin Humphries will be the local representative.

He says he is not worried about being able to cover his newly expanded electorate.

“I like the red country,” he said. “The issues that we deal with across the west are all reasonably similar – access to services, the push for infrastructure, water security.”

“It just becomes a logistical issue, but my wife and I are used to travelling a lot.”

“I wanted to stay in the western part of the state – that is my catchment and where I feel comfortable. As a minister, the areas that I have got are all quite relevant.”

Mr Humphries is the Minister for Western NSW and the Minister for Land, Water and Natural Resources. He says that issues around water security and roads will be front and centre for him this election campaign.

Previously, Condobolin was part of the Murrumbidgee electorate, held by the Education Minister Adrian Piccoli. This electorate, which encompassed Lake Cargelligo, West Wyalong, Temora and Griffith, will be dissolved, while a new electorate will be created in Sydney’s inner suburbs.

Spokesperson for the NSW Electoral Commission, Richard Carroll, said that electoral boundaries are redistributed after every second election – or every eight years – according to changes in populations.

“For each vote to have the same value, electoral districts must have the same number of electors, plus or minus 10%,” he said. “Because population growth is greater in coastal districts than in inland districts, some which are actually decreasing, what ended up happening is the district of Murrumbidgee was abolished and a new district was created in Sydney.”

The Murrumbidgee electorate will now be divided up between Barwon, Murray and Cootamundra (previously Burrinjuck).

With the election less than six weeks away, candidates for Barwon will be looking to expand their reach into the new areas of the electorate. Wilcannia-based Craig Ashby is standing for Labor, Broken Hill school teacher Cameron Jones is running for The Greens and agribusiness owner Rohan Boehm is running as an Independent candidate.

Condo celebrates outstanding local Aussies

Nature put on quite a show for Condobolin residents and visiting guests this Australia Day.

• Australia Day award recipients (L-R) Ray Peasley standing in for Michael Timmins, John Dopper, Liz Goodsell standing in for Lewis Goodsell, Vickie Tyson representing the Condobolin Picnic Race Club and Leonie Parker with Dawn Johnson, Australia Day Ambassador Andrew Heslop and (back) Mayor Des Manwaring and Kevin Humphries MP. KP

By Lara Pearce

Nature put on quite a show for Condobolin residents and visiting guests this Australia Day.

With the sun shining, the grass lush and green from recent rain and the sound of birds in the trees, the community gathered early in Memorial Park for that classic Australian tradition – a barbeque.

The Men of League Club served up quite a spread for breakfast, including sausages, eggs, bacon and fried tomatoes, while Rotary Club members handed out hot tea and coffee and cold drinks.

After breakfast, the official presentation ceremony commenced with Councillor Graham Scott leading the proceedings.

In a break with tradition, there were two Citizens of the Year this year – local Women’s Nurse and multi-award recipient Leonie Parker and community volunteer and President of the Condobolin Sports Club, John Dopper.

The Community Service Awards went to long-serving pharmacist and activist for community health, Michael Timmins, and Pipe Band Major of forty years, John Costello.

Lewis Goodsell was recognised as a young role model and all-round achiever, winning Young Citizen of the Year, while the Condobolin Picnic Race Club was named the Community Event of the Year.

Australia Day Ambassador for the Lachlan and award-winning keynote speaker, Andrew Heslop, presented the award recipients with their framed certificates and prizes. He also spoke on the importance of strong communities and how regional Australians define the national identity of strength, resilience and community spirit.

“Don’t wait until there is some kind of disaster or emergency threatening your community to recognise that you have one,” he urged the crowd. “Don’t wait for your community to come to you. Don’t forget that the other women and men, the other boys and girls, standing next to you today are your community.”

Mr Heslop created Neighbour Day in 2003 – a day designed to develop stronger communities and encourage people to be good neighbours. He concluded his address with a similar message: “Our communities are only as strong as the people who live in them.”

As a part of the Australia Day presentation, young local singer Tessa Noll led the crowd in the Australian anthem and Dawn Johnson presented the Welcome to Country, recognising the traditional custodians of the land, the Wiradjuri people.

Special guest Kevin Humphries, who is the Minister for Western NSW and the Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water, also spoke on the importance of the Australian identity. “If we don’t celebrate our identity, we tend to lose it,” he said. “Freedom is very hard won but easily lost – it is very important that we celebrate this.”

Mayor Des Manwaring also spoke, thanking the special guests and the community. “I think it is very appropriate that our Australia Day Ambassador was NSW Volunteer of the Year because communities – especially regional communities – live on volunteers,” he said.

Andrew Heslop was then presented with a framed photograph of a cockatoo taken by local bird photographer Warren Chad.

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