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Mayor goes in to bat for Bourke

Bourke Mayor Barry Hollman. Photo TWH

Mayor of the Bourke Shire, Councillor Barry Hollman is battle ready, armed with a hefty ‘to do’ list when he attends meetings of the NSW Country Meeting, the Alliance of Western Councils Board Meeting, and the Western Division Councils’ annual conference over the next three weeks.

Councillor Hollman is determined to rally support from other councils facing similar challenges, including lack of water security and its impacts on the economy, rising crime rates, and the need for increased infrastructure funding.

At the most recent Bourke Shire Council meeting, several resolutions were unanimously passed to present to the Western Division Councils’ NSW Annual Conference, with the first the contentious issue of juvenile crime.

Councillor Hollman has been adamant in opposing changes to the age of criminality, a legislative change that will be put to the NSW parliament.

He said that he will be seeking support from other councils in opposing any change to the current age of responsibility, which is ten years of age.

“We’ve sent letters to the NSW Attorney General Michael Daley, opposing the age change, and have had a response, and I have responded to the Attorney General’s letter after discussions at the July Council meeting where we had a unanimous decision opposing any change.

“We also asked about the Maranguka Justice Re-Investment initiative, stating that the program has been operating in Bourke for ten years, but that school attendance is trending downwards while violent crime, where innocent people are threatened with weapons, is increasing.

Council argues that there should be no change to the age of criminal responsibility until the Justice Re-Investment initiative is proven to be effective.

“The recent crime rate in Bourke is intolerable, where people are living in fear, particularly at night when they are vulnerable and helpless and cannot protect themselves for fear of prosecution.

“These matters will be included in the letter of response to the Attorney General.” Mayor Hollman said.

The second battle Councillor Hollman will be waging will be for Bourke’s future water supply. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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