Wingecarribee Shire Council General Manager Jason Gordon last night aired his views on the NSW State Government’s recently released Future Directions for NSW Local Government paper.
“The report contains numerous recommendations and suggestions for councils across the state,” Mr Gordon said after the Council meeting.
“Included are suggested reforms to the way councils manage their day-to-day activities, their finances, infrastructure and governance.
“It also discusses the merit of changes to the current rate-pegging system, increased professional development of councillors and the argument for a popularly elected mayor,” the General Manager added.
“However, the recommendation that would have the largest impact on our Shire is the proposal to amalgamate our Shire with a number of neighbouring councils.”
As per the report, the current proposal for Wingecarribee Shire Council is to merge with Goulburn-Mulwaree, Upper Lachlan, Yass Valley and Palerang Councils under the banner of Capital Country County Council. Scope also exists for a partial merger with Wollondilly Shire Council and its immediate neighbours.
Whilst the report cites Queanbeyan as the preferred location of our regional head office, it also advocates retaining local service centres.
“It’s important to remember that the formation of a County Council is only a recommendation at this stage,” Mr Gordon said.
“Council will subsequently be attending a Regional Councils Workshop on the 4 June in Bungendore to discuss the proposed changes,” Mr Gordon added.
“Our Shire’s ratepayers can rest assured Council will not agree to any decisions until our local community has been consulted and that any changes should be in the best interests of the majority of residents.”
The Future Directions report is the third paper in the State Government’s review of Local Government following last year’s Strengthening NSW Remote Communities and this year’s Options to Enhance Regional Collaboration papers. The final brief in the series, a review of submissions and final report to the Minister for Local Government is due in September 2013.