FROM THE MAYOR’S DESK, CR JAMIE CHAFFEY:
There have been many developments in recent weeks, so I will take this opportunity to update our community.
Last week, I welcomed with caution an announcement the NSW government will proceed with the Rangari Road upgrade.
Transport for NSW and Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson announced last week that the NSW government would take over the upgrade and sealing of Rangari Road.
Ultimately, all we have wanted for many years is to have Rangari Road sealed, but the upgrade has been unable to proceed because full funding has never been allocated.
We have continually lobbied the NSW government to make this happen to ensure the safety of those who travel along this road daily, but despite the 2019 election promise, the full funding has never been available for this important project to start.
We are delighted to learn the NSW government will take on this project, but are unclear about whether the full scope of the project has been fully funded, and are yet to hear details about how it will proceed.
We are also deeply disappointed that the Member for Tamworth has seen fit to lay the blame for the delay at the door of local government. This is unfair and unwarranted when it would have been irresponsible for our councils to proceed with this project without the full funding.
Again and again we have gone back to the NSW government to fulfil this election promise, but the commitment has never been fully honoured. It is not the role of local government to fund the election promises of a local member.
On a more positive note, our new friends in Tonga are already preparing for a second visit to Gunnedah Shire.
Next week, Gunnedah will host two Cabinet ministers – Minister of Internal Affairs, the Honourable Sangster Saulala, and Minister of Labour, accompanied by the Honourable Dr Viliami Uasike, and the CEO of Internal Affairs, Dr Fotu Fisiiahi.
After formalising the Shire’s Sister City Relationship with Kolomotu’a, Tonga, a few weeks ago, this is a great step forward.
Our new visitors are members of the Cabinet that approved the Sister City Relationship and they will report back to the Cabinet when they return.
This visit is an ideal opportunity to introduce the delegation to our business community so they can see first-hand the many opportunities to be found in our shire.