Shire and city councils across NSW are to joinin one association. Inset: Kevin Skinner.
Shire and city councils across NSW are to joinin one association. Inset: Kevin Skinner.

Merging councils give country power

A DECISION by 78 shire councils across NSW to join hands with their big brothers in city councils by forming a single association is good news for Tweed ratepayers, according to Tweed Mayor Kevin Skinner.

Cr Skinner represented Tweed Shire Council at an historic meeting of the NSW Shires Association in Sydney this week where a merger process with the NSW Local Government Association, which represents city councils, was agreed to.

“Hopefully it will mean for the Tweed that we have got one strong voice that combines the city boys with the country boys that the State Government will listen to,” said Cr Skinner.

He added that as local councils “push towards recognition of local government in the Constitution, hopefully in a referendum in 2013”, the single “strong voice” would help put that case.

More than 150 representatives from 78 shires gathered in Sydney on Wednesday to finalise the merger agreement.

President of the Shires Association Cr Bruce Miller said forming a new association was “a long, involved and formal legal process” but would have benefits.

“It’s long been acknowledged that we need one voice representing local government in NSW to effectively lobby the state and federal government.”

Merger moves:

More than 150 representatives from 78 shires met in Sydney on Wednesday.

They finalised 27 principles for merger drawn up at the Local Government and Shires Associations’ (LGSA) One Association Convention last August.

Shires’ Association president Bruce Miller said he was extremely pleased with the outcome.

Cr Miller said: “Every council was given the chance to speak, regardless of their location, population or size.”

Local Government Association president Keith Rhoades was invited as an observer at the special conference.

“It will mean for the Tweed that we have got one strong voice.”



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