THE region’s councils will have its pockets lined with $300,000 from the state government to join forces and work together.
The NSW government officially proclaimed 11 joint organisations of councils around the state and handed-out a tranche funding to get the ball rolling.
Namoi Unlimited chair Jamie Chaffey identified roads and wooing international investment as potential joint priorities for the next three years.
The group, which takes in Gwydir, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth and Walcha council areas, had a head start on most of NSW, operated as a pilot joint organisation since 2015.
Cr Chaffey said it was a chance for the region to be bold and yield its own opportunities.
“This gives us the surety, the confidence to back ourselves,” Cr Chaffey said.
“It enables us to be bold in looking the big opportunities and to take advantage of those clear types of project that are visionary.”
He said it included “opportunities for trade and investment” internationally, which meant “not sitting back and waiting” for them to come to us
Cr Chaffey said there had already been a great response from the group’s trip to China earlier this year.
While he said the group would now establish a strategic plan for the next three years, it would come back to pursuing the basics, the joint organisation chair said.
“It’s about the financial stability of region, job creation and for the livability of the region,” he said.
“We’re committed to this functioning well.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the NSW government will give each new joint organisation $300,000 in seed funding to help establish the new regional bodies, and in turn drive better planning, economic development and service delivery across regional and remote NSW.
“The huge response shows councils can see the benefits that will stem from joining forces, namely putting themselves in a stronger position to deliver for people in their region,” he said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said the legislation passed to officially form the council groups was the first of its kind in Australia.
“I commend our local councils for recognising the many benefits the new regional body will offer our local communities and deciding to join the Namoi Joint Organisation,” he said.
Narrabri Shire Council claims it was left in the dark about the proclamation and found the lack of correspondence from the NSW government disappointing.
“What I find disappointing on behalf of Narrabri is the fact we’ve had no correspondence from any government agency in regard to this, even in regard to the proclamations,” Narrabri mayor Cathy Redding said.
“I find that extraordinary that nobody has bothered to contact us and discuss why we wanted to join the New England JO, or the courtesy to tell us it’s been proclaimed.”