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YOUNG MAYOR LEADS GUNNEDAH

Gunnedah shire council has elected its new mayor. 24-year-old Adam Marshall was elevated to the top job unopposed. Colleen Fuller was voted in as deputy, after beating Steve Benham in a secret ballot. And in Narrabri, George Sevil was voted out as mayor, with councillor Robyn Faber winning the top job after a show of hands. There were five nominations for deputy mayor, with newly elected councillor, Lester Kelly, appointed to the position.

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NEW-LOOK TAMWORTH COUNCIL

Nine Independents will make up the new Tamworth Regional Council with a mix of both old faces and new. Eight of the elected councillors already have local government experience, but the biggest upset was the backlash against Country’s Labor’s Diane Carter, who fell just 800 votes short of the final cut.

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BREAKTHROUGH ON MINING STUDY

Landholders on the Liverpool Plains may have made a breakthrough with the state government over studying the potential impact of coal mining on the region’s underground water supply. Round table discussions are underway between the farmers, BHP Billiton, the Department of Primary Industries and other stakeholders. The Primary Industries Minister, Ian MacDonald, wants an agreement this week on terms of reference for a possible water study, although he has not yet committed any funding. (****)

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BULIMBAL SCHOOL RECEIVES LEG UP

Tamworth’s Bulimbal School, which caters for students with special needs, has received another boost. With a development application currently before council to rebuild the school in south Tamworth at a cost of $7-million, the school will now receive an extra teacher next year. Bulimbal is one of 40 special schools across the state where the teaching principal will be replaced with a new full time teacher, in a bid to free up the principal to focus on broader learning and welfare issues.

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DROUGHT IMPACTS ON WOMEN

The impact of the drought on women and young people was in the spotlight in Tamworth today. Various service providers, including Hunter New England Health and the Department of Primary Industries, are helping to develop a strategy aimed at improving access to mental health services. Specialist Project Officer Tracey Carnie says one of the biggest concerns, family breakdowns. ” Through financial stress which could lead to physical or emotional abuse. Other things are women going back to work after living on the farm.” The forum also heard how isolated young people are affected by struggling families not being able to afford boarding school fees. (*****)

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TEENAGER FACES MURDER CHARGE

A 16-year-old boy has been remanded in custody, after appearing in the Glen Innes Children’s Court charged with murdering his neighbour. The teenager was arrested yesterday after the discovery of a 64-year-old man’s body in a burnt-out house near Tingha. Police spent the day searching for the boy, who allegedly stole the dead man’s car. He was arrested at a house in Inverell. The case was adjourned to Moree Children’s Court tomorrow, where the boy is due to appear via video link from the youth detention centre at Grafton.

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TAMWORTH ELECTION RESULTS IN

Election results are in for the Tamworth Regional Council, with the distribution of preferences being finalised this afternoon. Five councillors will keep their positions, they include current mayor James Treloar, Russell Webb, Phil Betts, Col Murray and Warren Woodley. The new faces are Helen Tickle, Juanita Wilson, Ray Tait and Paul Durant. Meanwhile, Guyra Shire Council held its mayoral elections today. Hans Hietbrink (pron: height-brink) was the only nominee for mayor while Shane Davidson was returned as deputy mayor. (*****)

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