COMMENT: Council mergers to come at a cost

HOW far the Baird Government goes down the council amalgamation path depends entirely on how much political capital it wants to spend.

Clearly the Coalition is intent on shaking up the local government sector, but it is unclear how it intends the pieces to land.

With a large majority in the New South Wales parliament the government can afford to make some enemies around the state, but it also knows it doesn't have carte blanche.

The bitter experience of the Newman government in Queensland is certain to act as a calming device on any temptation to set a local government revolution in motion.

With an even bigger majority, Mr Newman thought he could do pretty much as he pleased in the Sunshine State. But three years after putting HIM into power, voters decided they had a different opinion and sent him packing.

Councils have been given 30 days to make their own merger plans or put forward a case to stand alone.

While Clarence Valley Council seems safe form any forced amalgamation, it will be fascinating to see how boundaries across the state change in the next month or two.

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