Mayor of Gunnedah Shire to head Association of Country Mayors

Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey has been elected President of the Country Mayors Association of New South Wales, with a determination to champion fairness for regional, rural and remote residents.

Cr Chaffey said he was honored to be unanimously backed for the role in an organization that had a history of lobbying for local government and issues that affected regional communities, and working with all levels of government to get the best results.

“The Association of Country Mayors of NSW has a proven track record in standing up for our 76 member councils representing over three million people, or around 37% of the state’s population,” said Cr Chaffey.

“It is a daunting task, especially in a year like 2022 when local government is facing extreme financial pressure due to inflation, material shortages and rising prices, staff shortages and rising energy prices, among other challenges.

“Add to that the relentless natural disasters affecting 126 of the state’s 128 councils, and our communities clearly need strong representation at the highest level.”

“That’s our strength as an organization. We have agreed in principle on a list of state election priorities that will be approved in a few weeks and then presented to all political parties calling for action in the areas of skills and education, health, roads and transport, water security, housing, law and order, telecommunications black spot coverage and disaster preparedness and financing.

Cr Chaffey also congratulated his fellow country mayors elected to the Association of Country Mayors from the NSW Executive, including Deputy Mayor Rick Firman of the Temora Shire Council.

“I look forward to working with Rick Firman over the next two years as we deliver for the Association of Country Mayors,” he said.

“It was very encouraging to see 12 nominations for eight leadership positions, and for us in North West New England it was great to see two of those positions held by mayors in our area – Council’s Russell Webb Tamworth Regional Council and Sam Coupland of Armidale Regional Council.

Cr Chaffey has been vice-president of the Association of Country Mayors of NSW since 2020 and has been on the executive since 2018. He has represented Gunnedah Shire as a delegate since 2016.

Caption: Country Mayors Association of New South Wales, left to right, Past President Ken Keith (Parkes Shire Council), Cr Kylie Thomas (Kyogle Shire Council), Cr Sue Moore (Singleton Shire Council), Cr Russell Webb (Tamworth Regional Council ), Chairman Jamie Chaffey (Gunnedah County Council), Vice Chairman Rick Firman (Temora County Council), Cr Russell Fitzpatrick (Bega Valley County Council), Cr Craig Davies (Narromine County Council), Cr John Medcalf (Lachlan County Council) and Cr Sam Coupland (Armidale Regional Council). Absent: Phyllis Miller (Forbes Shire Council).

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Toya J. Bell