Three new faces join the council

Janine Lea-Barrett, Julie Payne and Christopher Lehmann are Cobar Shire Council’s newest councillors after Local Government election counting was finalised by the NSW Electoral Commission last Wednesday.

The trio will join re-elected councillors Lilliane Brady, Peter Abbott, Peter Yench, Peter Maxwell, Harley Toomey, Greg Martin, Tracey Kings, Jarrod Marsden and Bob Sinclair to make up the new council of 12 to lead Cobar over the next four years.

Janine Lea-Barrett said she was surprised and glad that the energy she put into her campaign was recognised by the community.

“I am eager to commence and I want to ensure the community that the faith they have placed in me has not been in vain,” she said.

She said she is looking forward to working with council to develop the Cobar region into a tourist destination and an industry base.

Julie Payne is very excited to get started in her new role as a councillor for Cobar.

“I was overwhelmed and pleased with the results in view that I am a new candidate,” Mrs Payne said. She said she will work hard to live up to the community’s expectations of her as a councillor.

“I am not a boastful person and I don’t like to take the limelight from other people but I am truly happy to be here,” Mrs Payne said.

Christopher Lehmann said he was honoured by the support that he received in this election given that it was the first time he had run for council.

“I believe the elected members make up a great mix of individuals, and that we can do great work together for the community.

“Within the coming term Cobar has some big exciting decisions to make and I’m excited to be part of these,” Mr Lehmann said.

The first meeting of the newly elected Cobar Shire Council will be held tomorrow afternoon with the first item on the agenda the election of the mayor and deputy mayor.

Councillor Peter Yench, who has been a councillor for 34 years and a former mayor, has made no secret of the fact that he would once again like the mayor’s job.

“I believe our current council has become a bit stale and needs a shake up.

“Currently there are 100-150 houses for sale, banks are reducing opening hours and a lot of businesses are closing. If something is not done to improve the sustainability of Cobar, we are facing a bleak future,” he said.

He cited potential opportunities with the Biohub, the Emissions Reduction Fund, tourism, and a regional health centre.

Immediate past mayor Cr Lilliane Brady has declared she will stand again for the position of mayor and immediate past deputy mayor Cr Peter Abbott said he will support Cr Brady for mayor and was willing to stand for election as her deputy mayor.

No other councillors have declared an interest for the mayor or deputy mayor positions.