New and existing community and business representatives have been endorsed for Gunnedah Shire Council’s working groups.
Gunnedah Shire Council director planning and environmental services Andrew Johns said the nominated members bring invaluable experience to their roles and will work with elected council representatives to help Gunnedah shire’s economy to grow while maintaining the lifestyle balance for residents.
Arts and cultural grants
Councillor Juliana McArthur, Cr Robert Hoddle and Cr Murray O’Keefe will join the Section 356 Arts and Cultural Small Grants Working Group.
This funding program has been in place since 2018 and aims to enhance local cultural opportunities and experiences and focuses on building the capacity of arts and cultural community organisations. Council anticipated the next round of grants would be advertised this month before the applications close in June. The advisory panel will then convene to consider all grant applicants.
Reconciliation working group
Council has endorsed Helen Lickorish as the fourth community representative in the Gunnedah Shire Council Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.
Ms Lickorish is a board member of the Buritja Traditional Custodians Aboriginal Corporation Breeza, is widely respected in the community, has strong cultural ties to the shire and will bring an extensive array of skills, knowledge and experience to council working group.
Cr Juliana McArthur said the group will benefit greatly from its newest member. “I thank Helen for coming forward, we will all learn a lot from her,” she said.
Council resolved in March to allocate four Aboriginal community representative positions to the Gunnedah Shire Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.
Ms Lickorish’s appointment follows the resignation of a previous member due to “emerging family and work commitments”.
Remaining community members involved with the working group include Jack Conlan, James Hogbin and Tracy Towns. Council representatives include mayor Jamie Chaffey and councillor Kate McGrath.
Sports and community grants
Cr Kate McGrath, Cr Robert Hooke and Cr David Moses will join the Section 356 Community and Sports Small Grants Working Group.
This funding program has been in place for 18 years and aims to support the work of local not-for-profit, charitable community and sporting groups and organisations.
Almost $500,000 in funding has been allocated to community and sporting organisations across the shire since the program’s inception.
Grant applications were recently extended for this program. Council’s advisory panel is then expected to convene before preparing a report with grant nominations for consideration at the June ordinary meeting.
Business and Access panels
Gunnedah’s Business Partner Program Advisory Group received limited nominations from local business.
As of the April ordinary meeting, council had endorsed Lindsay Sheedy, Bruce Hockings, Simon Gainsford and Treena Daniells as community representatives for the advisory group.
Council had earlier advised that advertising would continue throughout the year to increase the community representatives, however, to start the work of the program, the group would meet without the full number of community members. But by Tuesday, a council spokesperson said council now did not require any additional representatives for this advisory group.
The first round of the Business Partner Program applications close on June 30.
Council representatives for the business program include Cr Fuller, Cr Hooke, Cr Luke and Cr Hoddle.
Meanwhile, two community positions remain vacant on the Access Working Group which was also forecast to meet without a full panel.
“Ongoing efforts will be made to fill those positions [but] the convening of the Access Working Group is imperative given the Disability Inclusion Action Plan is currently under review and the Working Group’s input into that document is critical,” council’s April business paper stated.
The working group’s role is to identify and prioritise options for improvement to access in public areas of Gunnedah owned and managed by council, provide input on access matters associated with council infrastructure projects and support the implementation of the Gunnedah Shire Disability Inclusion Action Plan.
Community members endorsed for this group so far include Peter Jones (Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Ingrid Allen-Thomas (GoCo Community Care), Bec Maybury (GS Kidd Memorial School), Corenna Doolan, Lyndal Riordan and Amanda Cooper. Council’s representative to the access group is Cr Fuller.
Working groups on hold
Two further advisory panels, the Economic Development Working Group (EDWG) and Skills and Training Working Group, will remain in hiatus due to staffing constraints at Gunnedah Shire Council.
Council did however endorse the following community members to the EDWG: Initra Larsen (Gunnedah District Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative) and community representatives Kate Gunn, Tracey Reid, Scott Ford, Glenn Many, and Richard Patriquin.
The Chamber is expected to reassign one remaining vacant position and advise council. The working group is in hiatus until council’s position of economic development manager, is filled.
Previous economic development working groups have helped to determine new infrastructure to support growth and issues restricting development in the community.
Meanwhile, council also recently endorsed several members to its Skills and Training Working Group.
Members include Paul O’Donnell and Susan Frater-Sims (Gunnedah District Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Michael Broekman (medium size business representative) and educational and training based representatives Alison Heagney (Gunnedah Community College), Emily McInerney (acting principal Gunnedah High School) and David Carter (Carinya Christian School).
Positions for large business representative, small size business representative and two TAFE representatives remain vacant, however, this working group is also in hiatus due to staffing. Despite the group’s shortfall, it was anticipated that meetings for the Skills and Training Working Group will convene in the near future.
Council membership for this group was increased to four representatives and includes Cr O’Keefe, Cr McArthur, Cr Hooke and Cr McGrath.