Meeting backs new Rural Council

Gordon Youman and Rob Lenehan addressing the meeting at Ebor on Monday night
12th Aug 2020

Interested rural residents filled the room at the Ebor Showground on Monday
August 10th to hear and discuss plans to progress a vision to create a new rural council separate from the area of Armidale Regional Council.
Organisers say that the meeting, which was conducted in a COVID safe way, gave full support to proceeding with the formation of a Rural Council.
The push to establish the new council area comes from a group of rural residents who are disillusioned with the outcome of the forced amalgamation.
Previously operating as Guyra Anti Council Amalgamation - ANTY” and “SAVE and GROW Guyra” they are no longer calling for de-amalgamation and are instead pushing ahead with plans for the formation of a completely new council.
The group is made up of rural people who are working through the appropriate steps to realise the concept of a return to a rural-based council.
They say that the legislative process is clear and that they are now assessing in-principle support for the concept, which will in turn lead to a fully costed submission being prepared. The submission must be presented to the Minister for Local Government for referral to the Boundaries Commission.
They have outlined their intentions in an open letter addressed to ‘Guyra Residents’. (below).
Further meetings and community consultations are expected to take place over the coming months.

Guyra Residents
“You are no doubt aware of the abject failure of the Armidale Regional Council, which is now in the hands of Administrator, Mr. Viv May appointed by the Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock. This eventuality is in direct contrast to the fairytale scenario purported in the lead up to, and immediately prior to, the forced amalgamation of Guyra Shire Council into the Armidale Council. That merger was promised to achieve greater efficiencies, better services and even more benefits.
We feel, the act of amalgamation, has led to a disastrous situation for Guyra people.
This is a scenario which we never asked for, never wanted, and which we knew would never work (and hasn’t!). We believe enough is enough!!!
To deal with the consequences of our claim of reduced services, higher costs, lower efficiencies, and lower employment for locals, our Committee is presently refining several proposals for the full separation of Guyra and District from the failed experiment that is Armidale Regional Council. Our process is ongoing, professional, informed and vigorous. Our vision is to create a Rural Council on the front foot and this will be achieved by insisting on a full reparation package including:
1. A complete complement of plant and machinery required to operate our Council.
2. The return of or funds to replace all assets stripped by Armidale Regional Council from Guyra Shire Council over the course of the amalgamation since 2016.
3. The credit of all former Guyra Shire Council funds which disappeared into the Armidale Regional Council honeypot during this dark time.
4. Shire boundaries – two broad proposals are being examined:
a) The first being the return of the former Guyra Shire Council lands (less the Tingha section excised to Inverell Shire Council), and that area would be atoned for, by a readjustment of the boundary whereby commonsense alterations are made with the former Dumaresq Shire lands to create a workable, sustainable Shire area of at least the same population equivalents and an area of 4381 square km.
b) Secondly the full return of all of the former Guyra Shire Council lands being 4300 square km. including the Tingha section which was excised and attached to Inverell Shire Council.
We strongly feel that either way, the new Rural Council must be a viable, efficient and an effective Shire Council of great strength, which will resist any future threats either by fair or foul means.
Gordon Youman
A Rural Council
for Rural People