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Population growth boost to Murray Shire

New data from the NSW Treasury Corporation shows Murray Shire’s population growth is almost five times greater than that of other like-sized shires.

TRENT HORNEMAN April 4, 2014 4:40am

Murray Shire’s population has grown 8.2 per cent in the past five years.

New data from the NSW Treasury Corporation showed the shire’s population growth was almost five times greater than that of other like-sized shires.

Murray Shire acting general manager Phil Higgins presented a snapshot of the data to councillors at Tuesday’s meeting in Moama.

Mr Higgins said the data would be used for formulating budgets, management plans and used as benchmarking.

In his report to council, Mr Higgins highlighted population growth, unemployment rates, farmland and business rates, domestic waste charges, key financial and asset indicators as the shire’s strengths.

Data on average taxable incomes, business numbers, residential, water and sewerage bills were weaknesses.

The average taxable income for a Murray Shire resident is $33,966, while in other like-sized shires it is $34,729.

Mr Higgins said while some of the data collected was outside of the shire’s control, there was room for improvement.

‘‘This information can be used in conjunction with feedback from ratepayers to either confirm their suggestions or reinforce council’s position,’’ he said.

Mr Higgins said the continued growth in the shire, while being positive, also presented challenges.

‘‘It is something you have to consider with our Local Environment Plan. Population growth will also place pressure on asset capacity,’’ he said.

‘‘Population growth and demand for services such as water and sewerage are ongoing and is something we can gear up a little if needed.’’

Mr Higgins said issues such as business rates and water charges had other deciding factors.

‘‘Being on the river, pumping sheds are classed as businesses which are obviously charged lower rates,’’ he said.

‘‘Water charges also fluctuate depending on the weather.’’

Other interesting statistics included 812 residents in Murray Shire per councillor and 82 full-time staff working at the shire, in comparison to an average 112 full-time staff at other shires.

In terms of public facilities, the data showed that 64.6 per cent of Murray Shire residents have internet access at home, compared to 61.4 per cent of residents in other shires.

Click here to view a two-page document of comparative data released by the NSW Treasury Corporation. Please note the two pages are within the Acting General Manager's report.

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