Above: The new Country Press NSW council and executive – back from left, council members Tim Pankhurst (Dubbo Photo News), Dave Rankine (Bathurst City Life), Tracey Frazer (Monaro Post), Paul Mullins (Molong Express), Lloyd Polkinghorne (Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper), Kellie Evans (The Village Voice), front, vice president Wanda Dunnet (The Courier, Narrabri), president Lucie Peart (The Gilgandra Weekly), vice president Lee O’Connor (The Coonamble Times) immediate past president Garry Baker (The Deniliquin Pastoral Times) and deputy president and life member Barry Wilson.

Country Press NSW, the industry body representing independent newspapers in NSW, has entered a new era as the state’s oldest publishing industry body.

The recent Annual General Meeting of the group in Sydney was attended by 30 delegates representing local newspapers and its future reaffirmed.

Country Press NSW is recruiting new members following the withdrawal of the Fairfax stable of newspapers from the organisation in 2017.

Five new member newspapers signed up at the AGM.

Guest speakers included the chair of the Australian Press Council, Neville Stephens, AO, Country Press Australia chair Ben Taylor, South Australia, and Greg Watson representing Queensland Country Press.

The closing address was given by the deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, a former newspaper editor.

The AGM re-elected Gilgandra Weekly proprietor Lucy Pearte as president for a further term, prominent newspaper identity Barry Wilson deputy president with vice presidents Wanda Dunnet, The Courier, Narrabri and a new member of the executive Lee O’Connor, proprietor of the Coonamble Times.

Independent newspapers represented ranged from Bathurst to Monaro and Molong to Dubbo.

“Our members are a reflection of the independent founders who formed our association in 1900, but they also bring a modern gender balance, providing greater stability and diversity that will be appreciated by our 21st century readers,” said Mrs Pearte.