Local government reform is inevitable: Mayors

Mayors of Boorowa, Young and Harden councils oppose forced amalgamations but admit reform in local government is inevitable.
Nanjing Night Net

Boorowa’s Cr Wendy Tuckerman, Young’s Cr Stuart Freudenstein and Harden’s Cr Chris Manchester met Tuesday outlining their position on a local government report’s recommendations the districts’ councils amalgamate.

The NSW Independent Local Government Review Panel’s draft report, initiated by the state government and released April, said amalgamating the councils would form a “robust unit”.

Both Boorowa and Harden councils have been assessed as “at risk” with “high merger potential” in the report.

Boorowa and Harden have moderate current and negative outlook financial sustainability ratings, declining population projections and low rate bases.

Leaders of the three councils met to begin discussing options to consider for the districts’ long term future.

“All three mayors are strongly opposed to any forced amalgamations but do acknowledge that in order to better service their communities, change from the current system of local government as we know it is inevitable,” they said in a joint statement.

Crs Tuckerman, Freudenstein and Manchester said the region should have been given consideration as an emerging regional centre.

“Most importantly [we] strongly agreed how vital it is that we control our own destiny through strong and cooperative leadership, commitment to our communities and our region,” they said.

Another option the report raised was for the three councils to work as part of a local board in a newly established Central West County Council.

This organisation would cover Cowra, Parkes, Bland, Forbes, Weddin, Lachlan, Cabonne, Blayney and Orange.

The report stated local boards would “service small communities and ensure local identity and representation in very large urban councils”.

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