Message from the Mayor December 2022

The past month was challenging, to say the least, with the weather continuing to test us unreasonably, with impacts on our whole Council area - from the Murrumbidgee River in the north to the Billabong and Wangamong Creeks in the south, and everywhere in between. The rivers and creeks are full and the vast agricultural landscape is sodden, with parts still immersed in water.

Some residents have experienced inundation and suffered damage to their homes, businesses and properties. Understanding the various assistance programs can seem overwhelming, especially when stress levels are high. This week, on 7 December we have the Flood Recovery Hub in Darlington Point, where a range of organisations and agencies will be available with advice on assistance programs. Agencies include: Rural Financial Counselling Service, Service NSW, Resilience NSW, Legal Aid, NEMA and Murrumbidgee Local Health District (Aboriginal Health, Mental Health, Health Disaster Management). Murrumbidgee Local Health District is also running a Japanese Encephalitis vaccination clinic at the Community Health Centre.

Thank you to all involved for your support and thank you, also, to our staff for pulling this event together at short notice. We are hoping for another excellent response, similar to the turnout for the community meeting on 10 November, which was hosted by the SES in collaboration with us at Council.

Our road network is being truly tested, and what is clearly apparent is that the recovery and remediation process across all facets of our business is going to be a long haul, not a short sprint. With $2.5 billion damage to our roads across the state, our Council has joined the growing band of local councils and peak advocacy groups, calling for an immediate funding boost by the Federal and State Governments. We will write to the Prime Minister and NSW Premier calling for an increase in our funding for roads maintenance, as well as new funding for plant machinery and skilled workers to expedite road repairs.

Just as the past month has been challenging for our community, it has also been for our staff. I would like to acknowledge and thank all staff, both on the front line and behind the scenes, for their commitment and for always having our community’s best interests at heart.

Thank you also to many organisations and community members involved in the flood response. As the lead organisation, the SES are on the frontline informing those at risk and assisting those that experience impacts during any natural disaster. We appreciate your dedication to keeping our community safe.

If you would like to recognise a local’s efforts in protecting our community or any other achievements throughout 2022, you have until 6 January to nominate a Coleambally or Darlington Point resident. Jerilderie nominations are now closed.

The General Manager and I attended the LGNSW Conference in Cessnock. Many of our counterparts were missing due to the widespread and unrelenting weather event we are all experiencing with varying degrees of impact, some for the second and third time. There many common themes among Council areas, some of which are RFS Red Fleet, affordable social housing, road funding, health access, renewable energy, planning pathways and bureaucracy, connectivity and the tyranny of isolation, and much more.

Recently, Council was delighted to recognise six of our long serving and hard-working staff. Congratulations to Sue Mitchell for 20 years’ of service and Julie Conn, Kerrie Weymouth and Shawn Gras for 10 years’ service. Brian Wilson and Terri Connor were honoured on their retirements.

I would like to congratulate the Taste Coleambally Food & Farm Festival on the success of their three day event. We have more great events to look forward to next year. Visit the What’s On page on our website to find out more.

The Remembrance Day commemoration ceremonies on 11 November in each of our towns was a very visible reminder of the sacrifice of our forebears and the very real need to value peace - never has it been more important with the volatile and high risk global dynamics at play.

At the ceremony in Jerilderie, it was my pleasure to award the Sir John Monash Bursary to James Clarke from Coleambally. His insightful and informed essay was wise beyond his years. This bursary will be a great investment in a young man who will make a difference.

Local Charles Sturt University students are currently able to apply the Murrumbidgee Council Foundation Scholarship, valued at $4,000. More details are available on our website.

In closing, on behalf of the Councillors and staff, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Stay safe if you are travelling and enjoy the time to recharge and revitalise in readiness for what will no doubt be a busy year next year.

Kind regards, Ruth McRae

Useful links:
  1. Flood Recovery Hub:
  2. Make a booking for the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine:
  3. Murrumbidgee Council Foundation Scholarship:


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Message from the Mayor 12 August 2020

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Message from the Mayor September 2020

We’re already in September and are certainly getting on with things. Needless to say, we’re still very much in a state of uncertainty. The everyday need to conduct business is challenging and frustrating. Our geographical location quite clearly demonstrates strong pathways and linkages both to the east and south. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, a considered rationale will enable our region to move again. At Council, we, like other businesses, are continuing to deliver our essential services. We’re also continuing to advocate for movement with every other aspect.

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Message from the Mayor December 2020

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Message from the Mayor Christmas 2020

On behalf of Murrumbidgee Council, we offer our best wishes for a very merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year to all in our Council and greater region. It is hard to believe that we have reached the end of 2020. It’s been a roller coaster and the ride is one we don’t wish to revisit any time soon.

Message from the Mayor March 2021

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Message from the Mayor - May 2021

The seasons are progressing quickly and 2021 is disappearing at a rate of knots. After a very warm Easter break - perfect for camping and family gatherings - we have moved onto shorter days and cooler evenings and mornings.

Message from the Mayor - April 2021

This month we have been blessed with some very welcome and timely rain - almost too good to be true. We are, however, mindful of the havoc that was caused by the torrential rains, particularly for our coastal counterparts. It is our hope that the damage and chaos can be managed as best it can.

Message from the Mayor - June 2021

May has been hectic, to say the least, with a lot of time spent on the road engaging with our representative bodies. This has included appearing before the Parliamentary Inquiry into Health Outcomes and Access to Health and Hospital Services in Rural, Regional and Remote New South Wales. In our brief appearance, and the follow up that we have witnessed, it is glaringly apparent that the way our health care is delivered, by whom it is delivered and our equity in this space, all require serious remodelling.

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Message from the Mayor August 2021

As I sit and ponder the state of the nation, our state and Murrumbidgee Council, it is difficult to fathom the challenges that keep presenting themselves. The latest COVID-19 outbreaks most certainly have created havoc with business, education, Local Government and, most significantly, our health related service delivery.

Message from the Mayor September 2021

We certainly live in an unpredictable environment at the moment. The Public Health message tells us how highly transmissible the Delta strain of COVID-19 is. We have seen how it impacts regional areas, with Shepparton and Temora very close examples. We should all be aware of the considerable risk for our Council footprint given our geographical location and our exposure to three very busy major traffic corridors - the Kidman Way and the Sturt and Newell Highways. The message is clear - Stay home and stay safe!

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Just when we thought all avenues of natural, or unnatural, misadventure had challenged us, we have an earth tremor/quake! I would calmly like to assure whomever is testing our resilience that “we get it”. “Enough is enough!”

Message from the Mayor - March 2022

As this is my first column since the Local Government elections, I would like to begin by congratulating all elected representatives. A very warm welcome to Crs Troy Mauger, Judy Saxvik and Tim Strachan. Welcome back to our returning Councillors – Crs Robert Black (Deputy Mayor), Faith Bryce, Christine Chirgwin, Robert Curphey and Gavin Gilbert.

Message from the Mayor April 2022

Easter is almost here and it’s refreshing to have a major celebration ahead of us without also facing restrictions!

Message from the Mayor July 2022

We’re now in the second month of winter, and the cooler, damper and foggier conditions are certainly a reminder of this time of year. Our roads are busy with the great exodus north to warmer places and, coupled with school holiday traffic, it is a timely reminder to be vigilant on our roads and stay safe.

Message from the Mayor August 2022

As we move through the winter months, we once again find ourselves challenged by another COVID 19 variant. Coupled with a particularly virulent strain of the flu and an accompanying gastro bug, we are all are certainly feeling the strain. Public messaging for all these illnesses is consistent – if someone is unwell, they should stay at home - it really is the only way to get on top of the revolving spread.

Message from the Mayor October 2022

It’s amazing to believe that we are already into October! The plentiful rains continue to fall and our agricultural season is so full of promise and, in turn, our region looks set to deliver in spades.

Message from the Mayor November 2022

Our region is certainly experiencing its share of rain, with the Murrumbidgee River, creeks and waterways carrying large amounts of water. Our thoughts are with anyone who has been impacted by the water. At these times, the SES public messaging is so very important, and we encourage all of the community to listen carefully and follow the relevant advice. The safety of our communities is paramount. Never drive, ride or walk through flood water. If it’s flooded, forget it!

Message from the Mayor February 2023

The Christmas break is now well and truly behind us, and with Easter on the horizon, many of us are looking forward to another well-earned break. What an unusual weather pattern we have been navigating! The colossal rains and resulting flooding in the last quarter of 2022 were challenging, to say the least.

Message from the Mayor March 2023

And in the blink of an eye, we are into the third month of the year! Harvest is complete, finally, and the crop rotations are in full swing. Talk of watering and allocations is on the table and, after the wettest three months in a long time, who would have thought we would be seeing dust!

Message from the Mayor April 2023

In the blink of an eye, Easter has been and gone and we’re now well into the school holidays. With balmy autumn days and the heat of summer behind us, it’s been the perfect time to enjoy a great range of events across the whole area. These include the Jerilderie Fun Fair and market day, Sir John Monash Oration and 100 Year Commemoration of the Jerilderie Cenotaph and the “Women in Business Networking” evening at Darlington Point, all of which were significantly boosted with funding from the NSW Government.

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There was a tremendous turnout to Anzac Day commemorations and it was deeply gratifying to see our unified resolve to honour those who gave their lives for our country. With Anzac Day hot on the heels of Easter and the school holidays, there’s been no shortage of social activities throughout the area. Our free youth skate workshops were a great success, generously funded by the NSW Government. We have also been supporting the children’s Eco Waste workshops run by Kerri Weymouth and Julie Bellato.

Message from the Mayor – June 2023

And in the blink of an eye, we are into June and the winter cold has arrived. With most of the sowing completed, rice is being harvested and cotton picking is commencing. The diverse and robust nature of where we live and what we produce never ceases to amaze me. Our whole area is busy with a broad range of projects on the go. I recently attended Edify Energy’s celebration of the completion of the solar project at Darlington Point. The investment is huge, somewhere in the vicinity of $230 million.

Message from the Mayor – July 2023

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Message from the Mayor August 2023

Message from the Mayor September 2023

Message from the Mayor October 2023

Message from the Mayor November 2023

Spring, and its ever-changing climatic challenges, is certainly making its mark felt. The fluctuations in temperature, the damaging winds, the rain event that saw between 50-70 mm of very welcome rain, and the significant hay fever and related allergy imposts, make for a very interesting part of the world to live in.

Message from the Mayor December 2023

As we quickly move towards the end of the year, life seems to be busier than ever. Harvest is in full swing and it would appear that it is a good harvest.  There is plenty of movement both on and off the road network. Please be careful as you travel our roads, as large machinery, escort vehicles and roadworks all make for a challenging space.   

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Message from the Mayor - March 2024

As this is my first message for 2024, I extend a warm welcome to everyone.

Message from the Mayor - April 2024

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and were able to enjoy the beautiful weather and activities that were available. Our communities were busy throughout March with much social activity taking place. Darlington Point again stepped up to the plate and supported the Riverina Outback Rally, which started there and concluded in Grong Grong. The dedicated teams raised more than $600,000, which is a remarkable result. Well done!