Our partnership with Lachlan Shire Council had its origins in February 2006, when they suggested the communities of Penrith City and Lachlan Shire consider working together through a series of sporting, cultural and educational exchanges, as well as Council to Council activities.
Each Council agreed to develop a partnership, encouraging and supporting local groups and organisations to participate in exchanges to benefit both communities.
Since then a range of community, school and Council to Council exchanges have been run and a network of interested people in both communities has been established, including:
Junior Rugby League Clubs - Condobolin and St Marys;
Lions Club - Condobolin and Emu Plains;
Baptist Church - Lake Cargelligo and Penrith;
Swimming Clubs - Condobolin/Lake Cargelligo and Penrith;
Rural Fire Service Cadets - Condobolin and St Pauls Grammar;
Staff Exchange - Council to Council;
Information Sharing - Council to Council;
Information Displays - Tourist Information Centres of both Condobolin and Penrith; and
School Relationships - several schools are liaising with a view to establishing sister school relationships, including participation by Condobolin High School in the 2006 Solar Boat Challenge which was held on 5 November at the Penrith International Regatta Centre.
On Wednesday 23 August 2006, a delegation from Penrith City, including the Mayor of the day Councillor John Thain and representatives from the local community, travelled to Lachlan Shire to participate in the historic signing of the Friendship Agreement between Penrith City and Lachlan Shire Councils.
The Minister for Local Government, the Hon Kerry Hickey and the Member for Lachlan, the Hon Ian Armstrong attended, along with Mayors and General Managers from surrounding shires and approximately 220 invited guests representing sporting, community and cultural organisations throughout Lachlan Shire and Penrith City.
The morning after the signing ceremony a tree planting ceremony took place in the main street of Condobolin, where two water gums donated by Penrith City Council were planted as a permanent reminder of the relationship between the two regions.
The signing of the agreement attracted significant media coverage. The Mayor of Penrith was interviewed by Prime News and the story also received coverage on Stateline on ABC television. In addition, there was extensive coverage by the local newspapers in Condobolin, and local Penrith papers have also run stories about the event.
The Friendship Agreement between Penrith City Council and Lachlan Shire Council is a good example of councils in NSW developing alliances so that they can investigate and pursue opportunities for working together.
At the signing ceremony, the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Kerry Hickey, commented that such ties between city and country could help save ratepayers' money and meet the challenges of skills shortages in regional NSW. He also said that he hoped other councils would follow the lead of Penrith City Council and Lachlan Shire Council, and establish similar relationships that had the capacity to generate benefits for the communities of the respective regions.
Aside from the more tangible benefits that will be delivered as a result of the relationship, the Friendship Agreement promotes a greater awareness of the respective areas and lifestyles of Penrith City and Lachlan Shire. It will give many residents from Penrith a unique opportunity to understand the complexities of a rural community and learn about the values found in rural Australia.