Kyogle Council split on membership to NOROC

KYOGLE Council will stay in the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils - for now.

Kyogle Council last night narrowly rejected a motion to give NOROC 12 months notice of its intention to resign in a 5-4 vote.

But NOROC is not out of the woods yet.

A further motion was put that a report be prepared for the council's next meeting in May, detailing the cost and benefits of being in NOROC. This motion was passed 5-4.

The motion was put to the council by Cr Robert Dwyer, who said there had long been informal talk questioning the benefit of Kyogle belonging to NOROC among councillors outside the council chamber and with constituents.

Among the issues of concern was the voting system, which could deliver up to three extra votes to the chair

CR ROBERT DWYER: Brought a motion asking whether Kyogle should resign from NOROC
CR ROBERT DWYER: Brought a motion asking whether Kyogle should resign from NOROC

because of the inclusion of Rous Water and the Richmond River County Council - both made up of councillors from member councils. He said there was a sense NOROC had become "political".

Cr Dwyer pointed to NOROC's vote on baseline testing for coal-seam gas, saying it would cost the councils $90,000, which ought to have been spent by the State or Federal governments.

He also referred to NOROC's work on affordable housing, which was perceived as less of an issue for Kyogle than for the coastal councils.

NOROC president Jenny Dowell has said the organisation is starting work on a new four-year strategic plan and moving to make the organisation more relevant and responsive to its member councils.

Last night's vote comes after Clarence Valley Council and Richmond Valley Council both declaring they wanted to leave NOROC, with Clarence Mayor Richie Williamson yesterday saying NOROC had "lost its way".



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