Merger on the cards next year for Kyogle

A FORCED amalgamation between Kyogle Council and its larger neighbours could be imposed as early as 2015, says the president of Local Government NSW.

The final report from the Independent Local Government Review Panel, released yesterday, has recommended Kyogle Council amalgamate with either Richmond Valley or Lismore.

While the O'Farrell Government has ruled out forced amalgamations prior to the 2015 election, Keith Rhoades predicted they would intervene once re-elected.

"I doubt very much whether the Coalition's election policy will have no forced amalgamations - you can bet it will not be there," Cr Rhoades said.

The report recommends the creation of a Northern Rivers Joint Regional Organisation to integrate the region's three county councils. This would make the current regional organisation, NOROC, defunct.

Councils may also be free to lift rates above the current rate-pegging limit set annually by pricing authority IPART.

Cr Rhoades said the March 7 closing date for responses to the report was too soon for councils to give adequate feedback, calling for an extension until the end of April.

The report is available online at dlg.nsw.gov.au.



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