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‘Ocker’ O’Connor retires

Mayor of Brewarrina Phil ‘Ocker’ O’Connor. PHOTO TWH

Long standing Mayor of Brewarrina Phil ‘Ocker’ O’Connor has decided not to stand for council at the upcoming local elections and is stepping down as Mayor.

Councillor O’Connor said he was hanging up the mayoral robes for personal reasons but was proud of the legacy he leaves after nine years in the job.

During his tenure, Councillor O’Connor has seen more employment in the Brewarrina Shire for local people, enormous infrastructure funding, and a renewed community spirit.

“It’s been a massive decision,” Councillor O’Connor said. “I’ve been very passionate, and I won’t lose my love for Bre and the people here, but there are some important things I have neglected over the last nine years and the time has come to stand down.

“The ship is sailing pretty well and that’s one of the reasons I made the decision not to stand, so I will finish on December 4, and we’ll see how things pan out.

“If I leave it too much longer, I won’t be able to attend to family matters. I have some things I must deal with and if I don’t do it now, it might be too late.

“There are a lot of people who have supported me, and that has been magnificent.

“Of course, there are some people out there who hate your guts – but I have big guts!” he said.

The Brewarrina Shire has received federal and state grants in the tens of millions over the past few years, though the Drought Communities Fund, Stronger Communities funding, road, and heritage funding and more.

Councillor O’Connor has seen the sealing of some of the Brewarrina Shire’s major roads, the installation of a water desalination plant, upgrades to the fish trap area, improved amenities at the Geoff New Oval, new grandstands and sporting facilities, redevelopment of the Bre swimming pool, new bore baths at Goodooga and improved tourism and visitor facilities.

Councillor O’Connor was also staunch in keeping Brewarrina Shire independent, and with community support, he rejected an offer to join the Far West Organisation of Councils with Cobar, Walgett and Bourke.

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