Kyogle Mayor says majority against amalgamation
KYOGLE Mayor Danielle Mulholland says the majority of her constituents are against amalgamation, despite the final report from the Independent Local Government Review Panel recommending a merger with either Lismore or Richmond Valley councils.
"There's a whole lot of questions that need to be answered before we even think about amalgamation," she said.
Cr Mulholland said Kyogle Council sent a response to the review panel before the release of the final report, requesting they outline the benefits of amalgamation to the Kyogle Council.
The report identified the Richmond Valley and Kyogle councils as financially "weak" while Lismore City Council received a "moderate" financial sustainability rating.
Cr Mulholland questioned why the report would recommend the merger of two weak councils.
"You're just exacerbating the problem, in my view," she said.
Given the large area Kyogle Council is responsible for delivering services to, Cr Mulholland said she predicted a large level of service decline if the council was forced to amalgamate.
"How can they guarantee they will deliver the same level of service?" she said.
An alternative recommendation of the report is for Kyogle Council to become part of the newly formed Northern Rivers Joint Organisation.
Across the state, new Joint Organisations would replace County Councils and require mandatory participation from local governments.
Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) president Barry Longland said there would be very little difference between the proposed joint organisations and the existing NOROC.
"There will be very little difference other than grouping County Councils under that umbrella," he said.
"It builds on the strength that the ROCs can have and gives local councils more bargaining power with the state and federal governments."
Under the proposals, the Far North Coast, Richmond River and Rous Water county councils - responsible for the eradication of noxious weeds, floodplain management and bulk potable water supply - would become subsidiaries of the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation.