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Bourke Puts Case For Remote Towns

Bourke Shire Council General Manager Mark Riley and Mayor Barry Hollman stopped by Percy Hobson water tower on arrival home from the Western Division Conference in Broken Hill last Thursday, to leave their mark on the mural. Photo TWH

The Western Division group of councils met in Broken Hill last week, with Bourke Mayor Barry Hollman and General Manager Mark Riley attending to put the case on several local issues.

Bourke hosted the last Western Division conference in 2019 during which major policies regarding drought funding and water security were announced.

This year, councils across the region are flush with cash from state and federal government programs to address the impacts of bushfire, drought and COVID.

Mr Riley said that Bourke Shire Council had succeeded in getting several motions passed on a range of issues, including incentives for workers to relocate to regional areas, health services and equity between country and city councils.

“It was also good to hear people still talking about the conference we hosted two years ago, which was also very successful,” Mr Riley said.

“Minister for Western Region NSW, Adam Marshall, spoke about the work the government is doing on wild dogs, which is relevant to successes we have had in the Bourke Shire.

“Federal Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton spoke on the demands of health in the region and how difficult it is to attract doctors.

“He spoke of his frustration at the ‘fly-in, fly out’ doctors who come into remote towns for a short time, and how much they are paid compared to doctors who commit to being here long term.

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