Tweed mayor Barry Longland.
Tweed mayor Barry Longland. John Gass

Tweed mayor extends his horizons

TWEED Shire Council mayor Barry Longland was elected the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils' (NOROC) deputy president last Friday.

He is second in charge to Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell.

Cr Longland said he was pleased to be involved with the organisation and hoped the councils would work hand-in-hand towards a better future for the Northern Rivers.

NOROC is made up of Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore City, Richmond Valley and the Tweed Shire Council.

The aim of NOROC is to talk about joint issues affecting the entire region; they meet quarterly with their respective general managers.

Their four key priorities are to increase regional profile and communication, facilitate joint activities, support research and advocacy and strengthen structure and capacity.

Currently NOROC are discussing the State Governments review of planning procedures, Cr Longland said it would have an impact on the Tweed.

There is a possibility to take local government powers and responsibilities away in regards to building permits and other issues.

The jobs would be allocated to an independent body.
"It's quite radical," he said.

"They're (the State Government) getting opinions and getting local government input."

The discussion was on the agenda for NOROC because it would have a very big impact on the seven councils involved.

Cr Longland said second reform the state government was looking at a review of local government in general.

"It has the title destination 2036," he said.

"This is the one that freaked everyone out around the Northern Rivers; the thought of amalgamation."

When you think about it some council are just not financially sustainable.

He said our area had a population of about 100,000 people where as some in the Northern Rivers only had 2000 to 3000 people.

The third thing NOROC were looking at is a review of the Local Government Act by the State Government.

"The local government act is a huge piece of legislation that dictates just about everything that councillors can do and the way local government should operate," he said.

"It's highly prescriptive and it provides no means or scope for entrepreneurship at the grass roots level and that's part of why they want to review it to take that stuff out of it."

A meeting will be held next Friday in Lismore with the panel members to discuss the review.

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