Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Deni Mayor’s merger talks with minister

Minister for Local Government Paul Toole in talks with Deniliquin Council.

TYLA HARRINGTON September 5, 2014 3:15am

Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick, Minister for Local Government Paul Toole and council general manager Des Bilske

Deniliquin Council is continuing its proactive, open-minded approach to recommendations from the Independent Local Government Review Panel report, Revitalising Local Government.

Mayor Lindsay Renwick has recently been involved in discussions about the recommendations with Minister for Local Government Paul Toole.

Cr Renwick said Deniliquin Council maintains the view that open, honest dialogue should take place among elected local government leaders in the region, and that at all times a structure that is in the best long-term interest of the region should be the priority.

The Revitalising Local Government report has recommended a merger of Deniliquin Council, Conargo Shire Council, Murray Shire Council and possibly Wakool Shire Council.

Mr Toole has told recent forums there would be a comprehensive response to the report from the State Government ‘‘in the next few months’’.

Cr Renwick welcomed the minister’s comments, saying he believes the region needs certainty in local government.

‘‘At the moment we are not sure what is going to happen,’’ he said.

‘‘The report has recommended a merger of three and perhaps four municipalities in our region.

‘‘This was an independent report prepared for the State Government to map out a future for local government in New South Wales.

‘‘It would therefore be surprising if the government did not support its recommendations and work towards their implementation.

‘‘With that in mind, Deniliquin Council believes our best approach is to be proactive with open and honest discussion among our elected leaders to consider our best options as we go forward,’’ Cr Renwick said.

He emphasised this did not mean Deniliquin Council was supporting the merger recommendation in the review panel’s report.

‘‘We have not voted to support or oppose any merger proposal,’’ Cr Renwick said.

‘‘We simply believe that discussions on the issue need to take place, with the aim of trying to keep control of our destiny.

‘‘Our council does not think ignoring the report’s recommendations, or hoping it will just go away, is the best approach to take.’’

Cr Renwick added through his various roles with the Country Mayors’ Association, the Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils and as a Director of Local Government NSW, he hoped to stay abreast of the latest Government thinking in relation to local government reform.

‘‘I remain open to discussion on this vital issue with Minister Toole, as well as with my fellow mayors in our region,’’ Cr Renwick said.

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