Rush retains job and gains new deputy

Councillor Martin Rush will lead Muswellbrook Shire as mayor for a further four years.

Cr Rush retained the top job after the position was uncontested at an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday night.

Cr Malcolm Ogg will be deputy mayor, also elected unopposed, and replaces outgoing councillor Jeff Drayton.

Cr Rush returns to the mayoral position for a second consecutive term and is looking forward to working closely and productively with the nine previous councillors and two newcomers, Rod Scholes and Graeme McNeill.

The support shown by his fellow councillors to retain the role as mayor was welcomed by Cr Rush.

“I am very pleased to have the confidence of my colleagues to continue as mayor,” he said.

For the next four years Cr Rush said he had a focus on completing projects started in his previous term as well as advancing on new ones, including the Muscle Creek beautification works, the Campbell’s Corner upgrade, the transformation of the town into a higher education hub, the redevelopment of the showground and potential for more shopping and exhibition options.

Cr Rush added that the council’s unwavering commitment to services and jobs in the shire would persist.

“The council will continue to lobby hard to prevent the state government cutting services in the town and to honour its commitment to increase services in Muswellbrook to at least the state average and to reconstruct the Muswellbrook hospital.”

Cr Ogg had similar views and said he had no hesitations to draw on his more than 20 years’ experience in industrial relations to help deliver what the Muswellbrook community deserved.

Fighting for Muswellbrook’s fair share from the government’s Resources for Regions funding as well as campaigning for a better hospital, fire and ambulance station are all high on his four-year agenda.

He has been a Muswellbrook Shire councillor for 14 consecutive years and was deputy mayor for one of those years, in 2004.

Cr Ogg had early praise for the incoming council and is looking forward to the term ahead.

“It has seemed to have gelled very quickly,” he said.

“I have confidence and strength in the council for the next four years.

“There is a lot of positive energy and attitudes in our councillors, which will make it a good term.”

BACK IN THE HOT SEAT: Muswellbrook Shire Council mayor Martin Rush and his new deputy Malcolm Ogg.

BACK IN THE HOT SEAT: Muswellbrook Shire Council mayor Martin Rush and his new deputy Malcolm Ogg.