Mayors and General Managers representing over 243,000 people across 14 Central NSW Councils met with Federal Ministers and representatives at Parliament House in Canberra last week to progress key regional priorities including NBN and mobile coverage, freight and transport infrastructure and regional health workforce.
Ministers showed particular interest in the pioneering work being done by Centroc and Regional Development Australia Central West, developing comprehensive Regional Priority Infrastructure Plans. Priority plans for water and transport have been completed and plans for communications, energy, health, education, sport and culture are underway.
Ministers and local representatives also expressed support for Centroc’s collaborative approach to working as a pilot Joint Organisation.
“These Centroc Board meetings, which Centroc now hold in both State and Federal Parliament annually, are absolutely critical to ensuring our regional voice is a significant part of the conversation at all levels of government,” said Lithgow City Council Mayor, Councillor Maree Statham.
“Nothing beats face to face interaction with our local elected representatives and Ministers. These meetings are about building relationships, maintaining our regional presence and advocating strongly on the issues that affect regional communities,” said Mayor Statham.
The Federal Member for Hume, Angus Taylor, was instrumental in co-ordinating last week’s meeting in Canberra, which brought together Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Mayors, General Managers and stakeholders including RDA Central West, the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Central Tablelands Water, to one table to progress issues of regional significance. Member for Calare, John Cobb, and Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, were also involved in the meeting.
“Centroc considers meaningful intergovernmental collaboration as key to ensuring government policy accurately reflects the needs of regional NSW,” said Mayor Statham. “It is our responsibility, as representatives of our communities, to ensure opportunities are not missed at State or Federal government level. Consistent, strong advocacy is essential if we want to see infrastructure such as the Bells Line of Road or if we want to have an influence in the development of good agricultural planning. We can’t work in silos on issues of regional importance – we must work together.”
Ministers who met with Centroc representatives in Canberra last week include the Minister for Health, Susan Ley, the Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash, the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment Bob Baldwin, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck.
Clr Maree Statham
Tel: 02 6354 9999
Fax: 02 6351 4259