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Gunnedah spirits recognised during time of adversity

October 22, 2020

A unique program developed by the Gunnedah Shire Council that received funding from all three tiers of government and whole-of-community support has been held up as an example of strength in adversity.

Gunnedah Shire Council has been named as the winner of the Local Government category in the NSW Resilient Australia Awards.

Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey said while the award was recognition of how our community could rally together, the program had been undertaken to meet the needs of the community.

“The NSW Resilient Australia Awards is a national program that recognises initiatives that strengthen community disaster resilience,” Cr Chaffey said.

“During the drought in late 2018, we put the call out to the community to tell us their ideas for resilience-focused projects. Eight major projects from 10 community groups became a reality.

“Council also installed bores and standpipes in Gunnedah and in Curlewis, Mullalley and Tambar Springs.

“In 2020, the challenges of the drought were closely followed by the challenges of a global pandemic. Council took the bold step of committing $1.2 million that was the catalyst for the program, and this was supported with contributions from the state and federal governments, bringing the total to $3.2 million. It was a leap of faith, but it has paid of for our community.

“Through close communication with the community, a wide variety of ideas came forward that would strengthen not only their own groups, but the resilience of the whole Shire. Twenty projects across 16 groups were approved, with some wonderful initiatives including improved facilities at the Gunnedah Motorcycle Club, the Gunnedah Rural Museum, Gunnedah Rural Fire Service and new projects such as a Dorothea Mackellar mural.

“We also began the Farmer Army, which has provided practical employment for people whose income has been hit hard by drought or Coronavirus.

“We’re proud of what we have achieved in partnership with both the community and the state and federal governments. Gunnedah Shire is not only surviving, but is thriving in times of adversity. We thank and congratulate our people and our community groups. It shows how much we can achieve together.”

Cr Chaffey also congratulated Gunnedah’s Sister City Northern Beaches and Snowy Valleys Council who were highly commended in the Local Government category.

The Community Resilience projects have supported the community to build resilience through disasters and emergencies by:

  • Promoting mental health initiatives and networks
  • Upgrading amenities at six outlying local halls, central gathering and marshalling points at times of crisis
  • Providing ten new water sources, tanks and standpipes, equipped for rural fire service brigade access
  • Protecting and promoting our heritage, through art, music and cultural initiatives to support recovery
  • Improving engagement and communication between Council, responsible for coordinating disaster and emergency responses, and a broader community base
  • Recognising and supporting vital volunteer groups and associations and
  • Increasing our economic diversity by directly targeting growth in our visitor economy sector and reducing reliance on traditional sectors most likely to be impacted.


Caption: Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey announces funding for new toilet facilities at Ooranga Childcare in Curlewis with Ooranga’s Rebecca Dridan.


Media contact: Eliza Gallen (02) 6740 2100.