` If they take these councils out, they’re the major employer in those towns and those towns will eventually die. They’ll shut them down...
AFTER careful deliberation and workshopping of the state government’s proposed joint organisations for council, Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) has recommended to not proceed.
Three issues were highlighted during the last ordinary council meeting held before Easter, on Monday, March 26.
Once a council joins the joint organisation (JO) they may not leave that joint organisation. The March 26 meeting heard that there is still “much uncertainty surrounding the success and operation of joint organisations and council is still undertaking significant merger-related projects and could not commit additional resources to establishing a joint organisation at this time”.
DRC interim CEO Michael Mcmahon’s report showed that the $300,000 seed funding to be provided to each joint organisation by the state government is only available to those joint organisations proclaimed by April 2018 and operational by July 1, 2018.
According to the state government’s definition, a joint organisation “is a new entity under the Local Government Act comprising member councils in regional NSW to provide a stronger voice for the communities they represent”.
“A Joint Organisation will provide a more structured, permanent way for local councils, State agencies and other interested groups to collaborate. Each region will decide its own priorities, working on short- and longterm projects such as attracting a new industry to the region or improving the health of a river system.
“By putting their resources together and focusing on the unique challenges and strengths of their whole region, Joint Organisation members can drive better outcomes for local residents.
“Each Joint Organisation will comprise at least three member councils and align with one of the State’s strategic growth planning regions. One of the member council’s mayors will be elected chairperson and an Executive Officer may be appointed.
“So, there’s just one representative for the councils on a joint organisation who goes and expresses the voice of those communities. Basically, they’ve lost their democratically elected voice in government,” according to Councillor Greg Mohr.
“There’s nothing wrong with the system, with having a democratically elected organisation, because they’re accountable. The government is hoping to bastardise these smaller councils by offering $300,000 to form one organisation.
“I believe the government should deliver proper funding for the smaller regional towns, put decent money and ongoing revenue into those areas, fix their problems. They still contribute to the economy, they still pay tax, they’re still residents and they shouldn’t be left out in the dark.
“If they take these councils out, they’re the major employer in those towns and those towns will eventually die. They’ll shut them down. A lot more services are being shut down, these smaller