Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Hunter today welcomed the establishment of the Namoi Joint Organisation and the establishment of the Hunter Joint Organisation which will each strengthen collaboration between local councils and the NSW Government on regional initiatives in the Upper Hunter Electorate.
Mr Johnsen said the NSW Government has also provided $300,000 per organisation in seed funding to help establish both the new regional bodies in the Hunter and Namoi regions respectively.
“The Hunter Joint Organisation has been formally proclaimed with 10 member councils – Cessnock, Dungog, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Singleton, and Upper Hunter,” Mr Johnsen said.
“Further north, the Namoi Joint Organisation has been formally proclaimed with five member councils – Gunnedah, Gwydir, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth and Walcha.
“The NSW Government introduced an Australian first for regional communities when Parliament passed legislation late last year to establish a network of Joint Organisations across regional NSW.
“I strongly commend our local councils for recognising the many benefits the new regional bodies will offer our local communities.
“By coming together and joining forces as a region, our local councils put themselves in a stronger position to deliver bigger picture projects.
“The new regional bodies will look at the issues that matter most to local communities such as building strong economies, creating jobs, and improving regional infrastructure, services and facilities.
“Both of the joint organisations will now undertake a number of tasks to prepare to become operational by July 1 including electing a chairperson, employing an executive officer, adopting a code of conduct, and developing a charter.
Mr Johnsen continued, saying the Namoi and the Hunter Joint Organisation are 2 of 11 Joint Organisations comprising more than 70 councils in regional NSW.
“It is no surprise that more than 90 per cent of eligible councils in NSW have formally resolved to form a Joint Organisation,” Mr Johnsen said.
“The formal proclamation of 11 Joint Organisations is a landmark day for regional NSW including the Namoi and the Hunter regions and will change the way local councils and the State Government work together to deliver important projects, with the Government having allocated a total of $3.3 million in seed funding for the Joint Organisation network in regional NSW.
“The Office of Local Government is continuing to work with a small number of councils to finalise Joint Organisation membership. It is also providing a comprehensive range of support and guidance materials to assist Joint Organisations to become operational from July.
“I look forward to working with all the Upper Hunter Electorate Councils, and the new joint organisations, to continue to deliver for our local communities,” Mr Johnsen concluded.