Support for reform call

STATE MLC Catherine Cusack's calls for the reform of local councils in the Northern Rivers is striking a chord with the public and local councillors – though the idea of amalgamation is less popular.

This week Ms Cusack said it was vital that local governments be reformed to make them more productive, efficient and deliver better outcomes at lower prices.

The economies of scale resulting from amalgamating councils would mean they became more professional, which would encourage the State Government to delegate more decisions to local communities.

“This is in everybody's interests,” Ms Cusack said. But local councillors were in the main against the notion of bigger councils.

Ballina Shire councillor Keith Johnson said Ms Cusack's thinking was “just plain wrong”.

“The only facts she has publicly put forward are a comparison with other states and the assertion that ‘economies of scale' will produce efficiencies,” Cr Johnson said.

This view was echoed by Byron Shire deputy mayor Basil Cameron, who said it had never been shown that amalgamation would lead to greater efficiencies.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said there was already a high degree of co-operation between councils in the Northern Rivers.



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