Councillor profiles - Mayor Peter Petty Tenterfield Shire Council, New South Wales
Heritage and natural beauty
Quality nature, quality heritage and quality lifestyle combine in the Tenterfield Local Government area to provide a unique sense of local identity and a strong foundation for our community to prosper. The Shire covers an area of 7333sqkm, with a border to Queensland of some 300kms. It contains many areas of unspoilt natural beauty, straddling the Great Dividing Range in the north of New South Wales with approximately one third of the Shire area being National Park or State Forest. Approximately half of the Shire collects water to the Clarence River Catchment on the east while the western half collects into the upper Murray/Darling Basin. The Jukembal people first inhabited the area, with their territory covering an area from Glen Innes (NSW) to Stanthorpe (QLD). In 1827 Allan Cunningham passed near the present day site of Tenterfield and settlement followed swiftly. In 1889 then Premier of NSW, Sir Henry Parkes, made his famous “Federation Speech” in the Banquet Hall of the Tenterfield School of Arts, which still exists today. While agriculture (beef cattle) is the mainstay of the Shire, a growing number of people are attracted to the mild climate, crisp, dry air, heritage buildings and beautiful scenery either as tourists or remaining to call Tenterfield Shire ‘home.’
I was elected to Council in 2008 becoming Deputy Mayor from September 2011 to September 2012 and I have served as Mayor from September 2012. I feel if you want to make a change, you need to get involved and at the time it was the right thing to do. I have my own Transport Business and I’m also the Field Sales Rep for the NORCO Rural Store in Tenterfield. I have been and still am a Horse Farrier. I have been shoeing horses for over 30 years now.
In the jobs that I do, I get to travel around and deal with people on a daily basis and I really enjoy meeting new people and mingling with the fabulous locals that we have here in our shire – it keeps me in touch with what is going on around the ridges.
Outside of council hours, I love spending time with my wife and family. I do improvements on our 110acre block, which involves working with cattle and horses all the time. When I can, I attend, compete and judge at campdrafts around the country. I also enjoy attending Pony Club days with my granddaughter and on occasion when it is footy season watching the local Rugby League (Tenterfield Tigers) play.
Challenges and achievements
Employment is one of the big challenges that the Tenterfield Shire Local Government area faces but Tenterfield always seems to survive. In the early 1980s it lost two meatworks, Riverston and Andersons; 200 people were employed at each meatworks. Duncan’s Sawmill also shut down and it had 50 odd people employed. The Council and the two Aged Care Facilities are the biggest employers in our shire. Horticulture is becoming a big mover in our local government area along with Tourism. Another challenge that our Shire faces is maintaining and renewing all of our roads and bridges.
One of the best projects that I have been a part of is the Legume to Woodenbong Road Alliance, which involves six other neighbouring councils, two of the six Councils are in QLD and were successful in securing $24 million for this important road, $12 million from the Federal Government and the remaining $12 million from the State Government – this was a wonderful outcome.
The best part of being a Councillor is being involved with the Community at all levels and seeing projects that Council has brought forward and them being completed in the four year Councillor term. In the future, I hope to leave Council in a better place than it was when I started as a Councillor, because otherwise I have wasted my time and energy.