Ute Schulenberg

Northern NSW councils vow to stand alone

MORE northern NSW councils have joined Kyogle and vowed to stand independently.

Bellingen mayor Mark Troy was confident the Baird government would accept his council's nomination to pilot a joint organisation with Clarence Valley, Nambucca and Coffs Harbour.

The grouping would allow councils to pool resources and have a single representative to deal with the State Government on regional planning.

"We have support from the other members and have had regular meetings among the four councils," he said.

"We did lodge a submission to become one of the joint organisations (earlier this year) but missed out.

"However the Local Government Minister told me in a conversation that he recognised there was a gap on the North Coast.

"There isn't a joint organisation between the Hunter and the Queensland border."

Bellingen was deemed unfit in the recent IPART local government review, but was not recommended for a merger.

If a neighbouring unfit council chose to nominate itself to join with Bellingen, it could spell a different story.

"But I see no benefit and no need for us to be involved in a merger," Cr Troy said.

Kempsey mayor Liz Campbell said her council would not submit a nomination before the government's November 18 cut-off date for voluntary amalgamations.

"We've made the unanimous decision not to put forward any proposal to merge with another council," she said.

"We already progressing a shared arrangement model with Bellingen and Nambucca Heads."

Cr Troy said he would welcome any mutually beneficial pooling of resources with surrounding councils.

"There's no reason Bellingen can't be part of a North Coast joint organisation and still share services with other councils like Kempsey, Gloucester or anywhere else," he said.

-APN NEWSDESK



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