Business as usual as Orange and Cabonne set to merge with Blayney
As Blayney and village community members would now be aware, the NSW Government announced proposals for the creation of new merged local government areas last Friday morning during a statewide webinar with Mayors and General Managers. In metropolitan Sydney, the number of councils will be reduced from 43 to 25 with the creation of 15 new councils, and in rural and regional NSW there will be 20 new council areas reducing the total number of regional councils from 109 to 87.
This means for Blayney particularly the confirmation of the NSW Government’s proposal for a three way merger with Orange City and Cabonne Councils.
Mayor Scott Ferguson advised ‘This is no surprise for us; the three way partnership of Blayney Shire, Cabonne and Orange City Councils was the preference of the NSW Government and our position has always been that should Cabonne and Orange come together then it is in the best interests of our community to be part of that merger. We have a long history of working together with Cabonne who are our WBC Alliance partners, and a strong connection with Orange via tourism promotion and economic development projects. This is an opportunity to create a new entity of the three existing local government areas, and Blayney intends to take the lead in setting the vision and direction of the new council’.
The next step in the process is the Minister referring the merger proposals to the Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government (OLG) for examination and report under the Local Government Act (1993). Residents, businesses and Councils will have a chance to have their say during a public enquiry and community consultation that will be undertaken by the OLG and the NSW Boundaries Commission.
‘This process could take a few months before the Minister for Local Government is provided with the reports from the OLG and Boundaries Commission, prior to making a decision for each proposal. Further details and guidelines will be issued to Council in early January;’ continued Councillor Ferguson.
This also could have an impact on the timing of the local government elections which are due to be held in September next year. The Premier has pre-empted that a more realistic timeframe may be to postpone this date to March 2017. The NSW Government have established a website www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au which has all the maps and merger proposals, a link of which may be found on Council’s website.
‘For Blayney Shire it’s a very simple case of business as usual for the months ahead, as we are not expecting the whole enquiry process to be completed before May or June 2016. We have our usual services to provide and a current budget to deliver. Then in early 2016; an Operational Plan and budget to prepare for 2016/17 and a four year Delivery Plan that will see some real progress on those capital projects identified in our Long Term Financial Plan.’
‘And finally,’ concluded Councillor Ferguson, ‘I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our community a very safe, enjoyable and relaxing Christmas and a happy New Year with family and friends. I trust that staff, Councillors and the hard working volunteers of our important Council Committees, take a well-earned break so that we are refreshed and ready for 2016.’