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Council merger ‘won’t work’

Monday, 22nd September, 2014

Amalgamation of Broken Hill and Central Darling councils would not work, but resource sharing was a priority, said the administrator in charge of Central Darling.

"Given there is a huge chunk of the unincorporated area - it is not necessarily a practical solution," said administrator Greg Wright.

"But looking at collaborating in different levels and resource sharing are high on my agenda," he said.

"We recently agreed for Broken Hill City Council to look after our financial management - as that's an area we have had problems with."

A forum of Far West Council leaders will be held in November this year to discuss governance.

"In recognition of the unique financial and social challenges of remote communities, the government has committed to work directly with Far West councils to develop and deliver an improved model of governance and service delivery," Mr Wright said.

"The model will seek to connect all levels of government to deliver the quality services and opportunities that regional communities deserve."

The Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said councils needed to be aware of some of the "realities" of the NSW Government's reform agenda.

"Many councils are wondering whether the government's 'no forced amalgamation' policy will change once the 2015 State Election is over," said President of Local Government NSW, Cr Keith Rhoades.

"Local Government NSW has long recognised the need for change in the local government sector, but it's imperative that the government's 'carrot and stick' method of encouraging councils to merge does not create a system of haves and have nots," he said.

"While there are many aspects of this reform package that councils agree with, the NSW Local Government sector also universally opposed the recommendation in the
final report of the Independent Local Government Review Panel about rural councils having their responsibilities and regulatory powers stripped back.

"We will continue to oppose the Government on this issue should they persist in paring back rural councils.

"Rural communities deserve the same level and quality of council services as their city counterparts - another fact." said Cr Rhoades.

The State Government suspended Central Darling Shire councillors at the beginning of this year and installed an administrator to make decisions.

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