Councils see red on IPART rural model

LOCAL Government NSW president Keith Rhoades has urged the government to rule out reinstating a rejected "rural model" that strips small councils of decision-making powers.

Mr Rhoades said the one-size-fits-all approach was replaced with a more flexible model in April that allowed rural councils to retain their independence and powers if they proved they were fit for the future.

Kyogle Council failed to make the grade under the new criteria.

"Senior Nationals MP Katrina Hodgkinson this week issued a media release asking why the structural rural council model had been scrapped," Mr Rhoades said.

"The minister himself has written a letter that says, 'The government remains committed to not imposing a single legislated model on rural councils...'

"Councils are wondering what to make of all of this, and whether the door is open for two or more legislated, structural models that will rob their communities of real local democracy."

The Office of Local Government in April confirmed rural communities were so diverse "that a single legislated model, creating a new type of council, may not be the best solution".

"Instead, councils have the option of preparing a rural council proposal to show how they will improve performance within their current structure," it continued.

Mr Rhoades said councils were angry the abandoned one-size-fits-all model could be reintroduced.

"The goal posts have been moved so many times throughout this process that it's no wonder some in the sector are ready to believe the worst," he said.

-APN NEWSDESK



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