Separation plan for new council almost ready

24th Nov 2020

In a week where suspended councillors are preparing to get back to making decisions for the Armidale Region, the group pushing for separation and formation of a new rural council say they well down the path of completing their submission to go the Minister for Local Government.
Save and Grow Guyra are preparing to follow the lead taken by Cootamundra, Gundagai, Tumbarumba and Tumut, who have already completed submissions for demerger. Cootamundra - Gundagai Regional Council and Snowy Valleys Council were formed in 2016, at the same time as Guyra and Armidale Dumaresq were amalgamated to form Armidale Regional Council
Almost 5 years on from the mergers, the Sydney Morning Herald has recently lifted the lid on what they say is the failure of the controversial policy, revealing that the 20 amalgamated councils had lost $1.03 billion in three years and ratepayers are facing hikes in rates and cuts in services. They have also reported that the NSW Labor Party is pushing for an inquiry into the ‘doomed’ council merger policy
Rob Lenehan and Gordon Youman from Save and Grow Guyra say that they are not surprised that amalgamated councils are under pressure. They said that the amalgamations were doomed to fail and the NSW government had disregarded all the evidence from local government experts such as Brian Dollery and Dr Joseph Drew.
Save and Grow Guyra have continued to meet regularly since the amalgamation and say that their worst fears have come true, including the latest push for a Special Rate Variation.
“From a local point of view we always knew that bigger was not better, particularly in regional areas and we are working to prepare a submission to take to the Minister for Local Government,” Mr Lenehan said.
“We now have a lead to follow with other towns in the same position as us already having lodged their submissions, which are being heard by the Boundaries Commission.”
“What we are proposing is a predominantly rural council which will be at least equal in size to the former Guyra Shire and we hope to have the submission ready to go to the Minister for Local Government in the coming weeks.”