Cobar leads the way as western JO meets for first time

Bourke acting general manager Leonie Brown, Walgett general manager Don Ramsland, Bourke mayor Barry Hollman, Cobar mayor Lilliane Brady, Walgett acting mayor Michael Taylor and Cobar Shire general manager Peter Vlatko at last week’s inaugural meeting of the Far North West Joint Organisation. Photo contributed

Cobar Shire Council mayor Lilliane Brady was elected the chair of the Far North West Joint Organisation (JO) at the group’s inaugural meeting in Bourke last Wednesday.

Cr Brady said the meeting was very positive and she was pleased to take on the role.

Cobar Shire’s general manager Peter Vlatko was appointed as the interim executive officer.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the three member councils of the Far North West JO, Cobar, Bourke and Walgett along with two officers from the Office of Local Government who acted as advisors to the meeting.

Mr Vlatko said the first order of business conducted at the meeting was looking at the policies and procedures of the JO and identifying the priorities of the organisation.

“Air services are a priority and we’ve asked the government to provide us with a copy of the scope of the tender for councils to look at before it goes out to airlines.

“That’s as a matter of urgency,” Mr Vlatko said.

He said also at the meeting they looked at the guidelines as to how they can allocate the $5million in funding that the JO is to receive for tourism and culture projects so they can go to each council and find out what their priorities are.

Mr Vlatko said the JO will be working with councils to look at issues concerning drought, health, infrastructure, water and power.

“We have identified that we need to work with each other to work out how to tackle issues with the government,” he said.

Mr Vlatko said joining the JO was a positive move and will be an opportunity for councils to make inroads with the State Government on regional matters.

“We hope it will now be an easier process as government agencies will be represented at out JO meetings,” Mr Vlatko said.

He said Cr Brady and he were both happy to take on their JO roles.

“From my point of view, we need to make sure the board starts off positive.

“It will mean a bit of extra workload but if it achieves the sorts of things we want to achieve it will be very worthwhile,” he said.

“The other councils will support us; that’s the way the Western Division works.”