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12 March, 2022

Batten batting for Macquarie council

The first meeting of the new Castlereagh Macquarie County Council (CMCC) was held last week in Coonamble.

By Emily Middleton

Gilgandra mayor Doug Batten was elected as chair, and councillor Bill Fisher from Coonamble was elected as deputy chair, for the ensuing two years.

“It’s a job that needed doing and I’m doing it!” said Cr Doug Batten.

“I was previously the chair, but I have been re-elected after 12 months off.

“Weeds are a real challenge to the rural sector, and the CMCC undertakes the weeds functions for the five involved councils, and in doing so we are able to achieve economies of scale.”

The CMCC is a single purpose Council which is responsible for fulfilling the obligations of its five constituent council’s obligations under the Noxious Plants Act of 1993.

It was established in 1947, and the present area of operation of the CMCC are Coonamble, Gilgandra, Warren, Walgett, and Warrumbungle encompass- ing a total area of 60,000 square kilometres.

The CMCC employs weeds officers in each of these local government areas. The core role is the enforcement of control of noxious plants on private lands and the control of these plants on council lands. The county works in close association with the Macquarie and Lachlan weeds advisory committees as well as the central and north west Local Land Service groups.

“Invasive weed species are among the most serious threats to Australia’s natural environment and primary production industries,” said Cr Batten.

“Weeds have a major economic and environmental impact which threatens natural landscapes, agricultural lands and waterways.”

During the last term of council, the CMCC underwent significant changes relating to the biosecurity act under the leadership of outgoing Chairman Cr Peter Shinton of the Warrumbungle council. Cr Batten acknowledged the work of the previous council and the financially sustainable position the organisation is in. As is the case with all landholders, one of the challenges before the CMCC is the ongoing application of the NSW Biosecurity Act in 2017, in particular working in partnership with land- holders to ensure positive outcomes in regard to the management of noxious plant species. 

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