Jerilderie Shire Mayor Terry Hogan says council amalgamations may be needed in the future, but for now he is happy they will not be forced on local government.February 13, 2013 4:14am
The assurance was given by three local state members at a Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils (RAMROC) meeting on Thursday.
Member for Murray-Darling John Williams, NSW Education Minister and Member for Murrumbidgee Adrian Piccoli and Member for Albury Greg Aplin were quizzed on a number of issued relating to local government at the special meeting.
Cr Hogan and Conargo Shire general manager Barry Barlow said the prospect of amalgamations dominated discussion.
It is part of a wider independent review of local government.
Cr Hogan, who is also RAMROC chair, says he believes council amalgamations may be necessary in the future.
However, he joined other member councils in welcoming news that none would be compulsory right now.
‘‘We (local government) seem to be facing more and more regulation, and we need specialists to help us carry out and meet those regulations.
‘‘There will be some shires who may have to consider amalgamation now because of a lack of population and subsequent low rate base .
‘‘You have to be living in a big, deep, dark cave to not see that some changes need to be made in the future to continue meeting the needs of our communities.
‘‘But it was spelled out emphatically that there would be no forced amalgamations at this stage.’’
Mr Barlow said the reiteration that there would be no forced amalgamations by the local members was ‘‘very, very good news’’.
‘‘The state government advised the local members there would be no forced amalgamations or boundary changes in country areas.
‘‘I find that reassuring, because I believe we (Conargo Shire) are viable and can sustain and provide for our ratepayers.
‘‘It’s also reassuring to hear from a staff point of view.’’
Cr Hogan said a review report based on council consultations meetings, which are not believed to have been held in this area yet, was due ‘‘soon’’.
He said with no forced amalgamations, the future control of water and sewerage was likely to be the most anticipated part of the report.
The NSW Government first proposed to introduce state government controlled water and sewerage services in 2007.
At the time, councils said losing control of the services would remove millions of dollars from council revenue and affect a large number of jobs.
In an attempt to keep the services in local hands, RAMROC developed a regional alliance model of management to be called RAMROC Water.
The government’s push for the change went quiet in 2010, but Cr Hogan said it would form part of the local government review.
He said councils may need to fight to retain the services again if the NSW Government goes back to its original plan.
Former councillor Chris Hazelman has been elected as seventh councillor for Greater Shepparton.
Police are currently at the scene of a double fatal collision involving two cars in at the Cahill Road, Gilmore Street and Woods Road intersection in Yarrawonga.
Tatura Community House held its annual High Tea fundraiser at the facility on Tuesday, with a full-house present to enjoy a sumptuous morning tea, good conversation and relaxing time together.
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Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society hosted an afternoon tea to recognise long-standing members Barrie and Flora Griffin and John and Margaret Harley.
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Scone Equine Hospital relaunches local veterinary practice.
A beauty pamper day has raised a whopping $18k to assist local lady Terri Bevan with her ongoing medical costs associated with her brain tumour
A planning scheme amendment to allow the expansion and redevelopment of the IGA supermarket at Heathcote has been approved by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
The second Koonoomoo Pickers and Packers Charity Ball came to town on the weekend, and was bigger and better than ever.
An exciting three-hole playoff saw Virginia Lange take a narrow win in the Deniliquin Ladies Golf Championship last Thursday.
The G-MW Murray gravity irrigation system has received 35 per cent and the Goulburn system 42 per cent of allocation from July 1.
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