By Cr Rob Hooke

This Sunday is the first day of National Road Safety Week 2024.

Sadly, we have seen some truly tragic incidents on our roads over the past year, every one of which leaves a legacy of grief and trauma. One death on our roads, or on any road across New South Wales, is one too many, and the state government’s goal is zero fatalities on NSW’s roads by 2050.

Road safety is always challenging and, in Gunnedah, the floods have left us with road damage any local government budget could not hope to cover. Alongside many other councils throughout the state, we have been lobbying the state and federal governments for funding to repair our road network and make it more resilient to extreme weather events.

Our shire has approximately 480km of sealed roads and 840km of unsealed roads – more than 1300km – and council teams are continually working to keep this network as safe as possible with the funds available.

One thing community members can control, however, is their own commitment to safe driving. The theme for National Road Safety Week 2024 is ‘All Road Safety is Local’ and the NSW Government is putting the emphasis on the change we can all make at a personal level.

Now – and every day – is a good day to take a pledge of safe driving. If we all stay aware, stay patient and stay focussed, we can only make a difference for the better on our roads.

I’d also like to remind people to seize the opportunity for Gunnedah shire’s issues with crime to be heard at the highest level as part of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Community Safety in Regional and Rural Communities.

The state government agreed to this inquiry after they could not ignore the call from regional NSW any longer. We really need our people to submit their own experiences of crime and their ideas for a safer community – it is a rare chance to have the truth of what is happening included in decision making.

We are also advocating for one of the hearings of the inquiry to be held in Gunnedah shire.

To find out more about the inquiry and how to include a submission, visit

Finally, we are heading into May which is traditionally the month of the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal.

This appeal is now in its 60th year, which means it has been helping people in need in our community for six decades. Ninety per cent of what is raised locally through the Red Shield Appeal comes back to Gunnedah in the shape of very real and practical help for our needy and vulnerable.

This is a great time to get your workmates or friends together and challenge yourselves to hold an activity or find a fun and innovative way to raise money, whether it is barefoot bowls, a morning tea or even a fun run.

You can find out more by visiting:

Every little bit makes a difference.

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