By Cr Jamie Chaffey

This month, Gunnedah Shire Council adopted the 2024/25 Operational Plan and Fees and Charges.

This is a document that is critical to practical forward planning for any council. It details the works and services council intends to undertake during the next financial year.

This is a process that is becoming increasingly difficult due to high inflation, legislative “cost-shifting” by the NSW and Australian governments and natural disasters. Councils are facing steeply rising costs armed with fewer and fewer dollars to meet the needs of their communities.

In the 2024/25 financial year, Gunnedah Shire Council will have $56 million total operating expenditure and a capital works program of $25 million. It sounds like a lot. But when you take into account the many and diverse services a council provides, and the infrastructure it builds and maintains, that amount does not go far enough.

The current situation is not financially sustainable and council is

looking at ways it can grow its revenue to meet the expectations of our community. Options under consideration include:

· Undertaking efficiency reviews

· Reviewing project prioritisation to maximise council’s resources and funding opportunities; and

· Investigating options for a possible Special Rate Variation application.

Council will start a conversation with the community about how we might address the need for an increase in revenue to meet Gunnedah shire’s needs.

The Gunnedah Hospital Redevelopment is a clear example of our disappointment in support from the state and federal governments. There is a stark difference between what was promised to our community and what is actually being built.

Again and again, we have raised concerns about the hospital redevelopment. In February this year, council unanimously supported a call to the NSW government to recognise the critical need for further funding for regional, rural and remote areas in the State Budget, including delivery of the shortfall in funding for our hospital.

Again, we have been disappointed.

We have also been unable to address some of the road damage sustained in the floods – in some cases going back nearly three years. The promised disaster relief is still to come. The recent NSW Budget announcement included an additional $3.3 billion for repairing roads damaged by major floods. We wait with concern to see how and where this money will be spent.

Local government across Australia is facing a time of challenge, and we need good people to step up and nominate as candidates for the September 14, NSW Local Government Election. Nominations open on Monday, August 5 and close on Wednesday, August 14.

Gunnedah shire residents can learn more about becoming a candidate at a Getting Women Elected session on July 20, or an Online Locale Learning session on July 25. To find out more about these sessions and how to become a candidate, visit

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