NSW Member for Murray Darling John Williams has said Berrigan Shire should not be included in any future merger.January 22, 2014 4:18am
Mr Williams was responding to the release of the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s report this month which recommends Berrigan merge with Jerilderie Shire.
He told the Southern Riverina News he wasn’t sure amalgamation was the best option for Berrigan.
‘‘I think Berrigan, in my personal opinion, is an outstanding shire,’’ Mr Williams said.
‘‘It provides very well for the community.
‘‘I’m not saying Jerilderie doesn’t, but I don’t think there would be any value (in amalgamating) for Berrigan Shire.’’
Both Berrigan and Jerilderie Shire senior staff and councillors say they are keeping an open mind about proposed amalgamations, and Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils’ executive officer Ray Stubbs says more investigation is needed.
Mr Stubbs said it was important for the NSW Government and shires to assess all options before committing to an amalgamation.
‘‘Amalgamation can have benefits, but there’s no use amalgamating for the sake of it,’’ he said.
‘‘In other words, there’s no use putting two councils together and expecting it to solve all problems.’’
The Independent Local Government Review Panel was formed after the release of a report on the financial viability of all NSW Councils.
It highlighted that most councils in the Southern Riverina and across to Deniliquin and District were at financial risk.
The original report recommended mergers may be the only way to ensure the long-term viability of councils.
The review panel supported the recommendation in its in-depth report, as well as changes to the local government structure.
Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins said he continues to have an ‘‘open mind’’ about amalgamating with another shire, but agreed there needed to be clear benefits.
‘‘There are some positive parts throughout the report, however we see it as quite bizarre that they are suggesting we put a moderately rated council with a lowly rated council,’’ he said.
‘‘Putting together two councils which the government thinks are weak isn’t going to create stronger councils.’’
Mr Perkins said the other option of a Joint Organisation, merging five regional councils, ‘‘would further erode’’ the situation of local government.
Since the release of the panel’s report, NSW Minister for Local Government Don Page has reiterated the government would continue its ‘‘no forced amalgamations’’ approach.
He does, however, encourage local government to seriously consider mergers.
‘‘The reports show quite clearly that local government is facing many challenges and that no change is simply not an option if we want NSW to become number one again,’’ Mr Page said.
‘‘However, this change needs to be developed in partnership with councils and their communities.’’
The late Margaret 'Dharrul' Wirrpanda has joined Mooroopna's Alf 'Uncle Boydie' Turner as an inductee this year into the Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll.
Yarrawonga Football Netball Club has confirmed the appointment of Brendan Fevola as co-coach for season 2015.
Goulburn Valley Fins and Fenders Car Club is getting ready to host its second annual Show and Shine event at Tatura Racecourse on Saturday, October 18.
Residents are being warned they could face severe penalties if out of control burn-offs damaged someone else’s property.
The Nanneella hall and recreation reserve committee is inviting everyone to join its clearance sale on October 25.
National Party ticket up for grabs
Developer of the Elloura estate wants to build another road to Buckley Park among other changes.
Terry Hogan has stood down as Mayor of Jerilderie Shire due to an ongoing battle with cancer.
Heathcote Community House staff are encouraging people to send a postcard to show their support.
Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs Tim Bull visits Cobram to assist councils and incumbent MP.
Keen Deni Ute Muster fans rolled into town early for the weekend's event.
The only consistent thing about frost damage in crops was its random nature, a cropping expert told his field day audience at Finley last Friday.
Last week's Coledale poll dorset stud ram sale was the best in the stud's 45-year history.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.