Bega Valley Shire mayor, Bill Taylor, says that forced local government amalgamation remains off the NSW government agenda despite the issue being raised by member for Bega, Andrew Constance.
Cr Taylor’s response comes after Mr Constance raised the issue for discussion at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Batemans Bay on Wednesday night.
“I have spoken with Mr Constance who confirmed that he opened the issue for discussion at the meeting. Andrew has assured me, however, that forced amalgamation is not on the government agenda,” Cr Taylor said.
“The Treasurer is aware of Council’s sound financial position; he acknowledges that we operate well and are well managed with good strategic and financial planning in place.
“Since the reasoning for amalgamation and border adjustment is to boost poor performances within selected local government areas, I am confident that our high performance and our geographic location puts us in a very strong position to continue to operate on the current boundaries.
“I am surprised that the issue was raised, but I understand Mr Constance believes the discussion is warranted. If further discussion is to occur we will not be shy about taking part in a conversation about amalgamation.
“We value and support the current cooperative relationship we have with other councils, and in fact our decision to join the South East Regional Organisation of Councils will only enhance this cooperation. This is consistent with recommendations in the report of the review panel which is at present under consideration by the government.
“We will of course participate in any future debate regarding amalgamation, and we’re always happy to hear what the community thinks regarding this matter.” Cr Taylor said