WATER security and business opportunities have been identified as the top priorities for the Centroc group of councils, now under new leadership.
Gary Rush, who is also the mayor of Bathurst, was elected Centroc chairman during a meeting in Canberra last week.
He replaces outgoing chairman, Cowra mayor Bill West, as the head of an organisation that covers around 72,500 square kilometres.
The organisation also represents more than 240,000 residents.
Councillor Rush said Centroc had been working on a list of priorities across the vast region.
“We’ve identified a range of issues that will become priority projects for Centroc,” Cr Rush said,
“It is my role as the new chairman to clearly understand those projects,” he said.
“To that end I will be visiting each of the mayors and general managers to discuss with them why these projects are important to their local communities.”
Cr Rush is already well acquainted with one of the priority projects – the push to secure funding for a second circuit and motoring hub at Bathurst’s Mount Panorama.
However he said leading Centroc meant taking a broader regional view as well.
“Another project is in the health sphere where we are working to attract a second doctor to the Weddin Shire area,” he said.
“Currently that area has just one doctor for around 4000 people so it’s an incredible workload.
“Water security is another priority, particularly for the Upper Lachlan Shire.”
Cr Rush paid tribute to outgoing chairman Councillor West.
“I hope to continue the legacy left by Cr West as chair of Centroc,” he said.
“I am committed to advocating on behalf of the Centroc group to both levels of government so that the Central West member councils of Centroc, continue to prosper with investment and financial support.”
Centroc comprises 14 councils – Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Hilltops, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid Western, Oberon, Orange, Parkes, Upper Lachlan and Weddin – and Central Tablelands Water.
Centroc is a voluntary regional collaboration of councils in Central NSW which exists to advocate for and improve operational efficiencies of its member councils.
Centroc has been meeting in Canberra annually.