A map showing a series of proposed council mergers indicates that Wingecarribee and Wollondilly Shires will avoid any moves to amalgamate, despite the state government slashing by 40 the number of councils across NSW.
The Premier Mike Baird and Local Government Minister Paul Toole today briefed councils on their fate, and reiterated the financial incentives on offer for councils that do amalgamate.
The Premier also said amalgamations would be referred to the Boundaries Commission under existing rules, squashing rumours that a revised local government act would grant the Minister widespread new powers.
While Wingecarribee will avoid this process, proposed mergers in a number of neighbouring councils will come before the Commission in the new year. Amongst these are: Goulburn Mulwaree swallowing part of Palerang; Shellharbour and Wollongong to merge; and Kiama and Shoalhaven to merge.
To accommodate the timetable for mergers, it is likely local government elections scheduled for September 2016 will take place in March 2017 instead.
In Sydney, 43 councils will be amalgamated into 25, while in regional NSW there is a target of 87 councils, down from 109 currently.
Did you know that Bowral, Moss Vale and Goulburn all thought themselves contenders for the site of Australia’s capital city? A meeting was held at the Bowral School of Arts on Wednesday, March 1, 1899 to advocate for just such a development.
The Australian Electoral Commission has released proposals for the redistribution of New South Wales electorates, as part of it’s regular review to ensure citizens around the country have equally valuable votes. Continue reading →
In a week where all eyes were on Canberra as Malcolm Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott for leadership of the Liberal Party and the nation, Wingecarribee Shire’s leadership also faced a coup.
The Mayor Duncan Gair was turfed out in the annual September circus, meaning we’ve now had three mayors in this term of council. Larry Whipper takes up the mayoral chains and said his priorities will be “to ensure councillors work together towards common goals that will benefit and progress our community.”
Given council’s record of code of conduct complaints this term – the most of any council in the state – it seems unlikely that they will be able to pull together under Cr Whipper’s leadership.
The new Deputy Mayor is Ian Scandrett.
The new mayor added: “Just some of the issues I believe our community wants us to action include improving Council infrastructure and services, investigating green initiatives and exploring greater opportunities for our youth.”
Unfortunately for Wingecarribee, it seems only one of the two leadership coups was legal. The Southern Highland News reports that because council did not give notice of the meeting or publish business papers, it may fall foul of the Local Government Act 1992 (NSW).
Cr Garry Turland certainly thought it did, and refused to take part in the vote. The Office of Local Government has reportedly said it is in contact with Wingecarribee Shire Council.
Meanwhile this week, the state government announced it was placing Hurstville Council into administration because the local government minister “has lost confidence in the council’s ability to conduct itself properly.”
Hurstville Councillors will get a three-month breather while an administrator takes over.
Given the apparent contravention of the Local Government Act and the huge waste of resources invested into code of conduct complaints by Wingecarribee, the ability of a council to conduct it’s business properly seems to be at a rather high threshold.