Steph Cooke is seated and surrounded by Mayors from across the Cootamundra electorate, while others stand in the row behind them.
Steph Cooke MP with attendees at the Cootamundra electorate LGA summit.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has brought together representatives from all nine Councils in the Cootamundra electorate to discuss issues and connect them with the senior members of the NSW Government.

Steph Cooke held a summit in Harden at the new South West Slopes Fire Control Centre, attended by Mayors and General Managers from the Bland, Coolamon, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Cowra, Hilltops, Junee, Narrandera, Temora and Weddin Shire Councils along with Goldenfields Water and Central Tablelands Water.

This is the fourth local government summit held by Ms Cooke since she was elected to the seat of Cootamundra in 2017, and the first to be attended by senior Government Ministers.

Ms Cooke said the summit was vital in helping local governments have their voices heard.

“Today I facilitated discussions with the Deputy Premier, Minister Hancock, Minister Pavey, Minister Mitchell, Minister Hazzard and Minister Toole, with a message from the Premier,” Ms Cooke said.

“While fighting for the interests of my local governments is something I do on a daily basis, it is so important for me to bring my parliamentary colleagues together with my councils so they can have constructive discussions and hear issues straight from the horse’s mouth.”

“With the State Budget to be handed down on Tuesday this has been great timing to give Councils an insight in to what to expect next week. We have been able to focus on some of the big issues that are shared by multiple council areas including the Regional Growth Fund, fixing local roads and bridges and health infrastructure. I thank everyone for taking part.”

Mayor of Weddin Shire Mark Liebich said the summit had enabled cooperation between LGAs.

“It’s just great to come together with Mayors and General Managers from all across the Cootamundra electorate to share our problems and work out how we can move forward with our issues, and especially today it’s been able to great to talk to the Ministers and be able to highlight our issues with them and try and get our projects over the line,” Cr Liebich said.

“We do all have issues in our own individual shires, and while a lot of them have been funded we do have a long road to bring things up to spec to take our communities forward and encourage people to stay in our communities.”

“I really believe that these summits are important so we can move forward together.”

Mayor of Temora Shire Rick Firman said the summit was a great opportunity to share ideas with other councils and speak to Ministers.

“It is fantastic that our state member Steph Cooke holds these events for us to network and for her to arrange for us to speak with Ministers,” Cr Firman said.  

“The Ministerial visits were a highlight, from my perspective being able to speak with Minister Hazzard and Minister Toole was of particular interest. This is a brilliant initiative.”