As Charlie Sheahan nears the end of his first term on the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council, he says it has been an honour to serve our communities.
“I have enjoyed the challenges as we worked to understand the new organisation, as well as finding solutions to better deliver for our citizens,” Mr Sheahan said.
“If elected, I will continue to work hard to build on what has been established. The council has delivered many major projects across the region, and others are still to be completed.”
Mr Sheahan’s main priority is to focus on the future and the opportunities that currently face the region.
“With city housing costs soaring, a move to the country is very attractive, especially in the wake of the recent bushfires, COVID pandemic, and the ability to work online or from home,” he said.
“We are already facing a housing crisis with a growing demand for houses to rent and buy becoming hard to find. Both Cootamundra and Gundagai have high housing saturation, with very limited residential accommodation.
“With the future opening of the Cootamundra abattoir and the inland rail development bringing jobs and workers, residential growth is essential. Planning to meet this is a major priority.”
Mr Sheahan said he hopes the new council will be more unified at an operational level, to better utilise its resources.
“This will improve service delivery and a better outcome for all,” he said.
In relation to a demerger, Mr Sheahan said this is now a ministerial decision.
“As a council we undertook an independent financial and operational review of the organisation. This should have been a priority of the government to review their reform of mergers to the local government sector,” he said.
“The report showed that the merger has failed financially and socially, further supported by other merged councils and the financial situations they are now finding themselves in.
“The current financial situation for CGRC is a direct result of the merger. This is clearly stated in Dr. Drew’s report. His report also gives us a way forward.
“If we use this guide, and continue to improve in house efficiencies, as well as being prepare to capitalise on the opportunities that the future presents, I am confident we can turn the situation around and build a very strong regional council.”