Lobby plugs local links
Advocates are celebrating ongoing collaboration and funding between NSW councils.
More than 70 councils have teamed up with regional neighbours in 11 formalised Joint Organisation alliances to develop strategic influence and benefit from economies of scale.
LGNSW President Linda Scott says the Joint Organisation model should be expanded.
“We welcome the NSW Government’s actions to create [Joint Organisations] … in the regions,” Cr Scott said.
“We want to help ensure that these legislated bodies genuinely do take the Regional Organisation of Councils model, instigated by local government, to the next level.
“That’s why we will continue to call for the same opportunity for metropolitan councils.
“The benefits of Joint Organisations do not just apply in the regions, which is why metropolitan councils should also be eligible for funding to form these formal organisations.”
Cr Scott said the legislation for Joint Organisations should be improved.
“At present there is no legislative mechanism for a council to join the Joint Organisation of their choice, nor to leave if the process fails to deliver for their community,” she said.
“The decisions are at the discretion of the Minister, and this is a matter for concern.
“There are councils that have sought to form a Joint Organisation, and the NSW Government has not allowed them to proceed.
“If councils – such as those in the far west of NSW – wish to form a Joint Organisation, the NSW Government must respect their wishes and allow them to do so.”
LGNSW welcomed $300,000 in seed funding granted by the NSW Government for each new regional Joint Organisation, but called for longer-term funding to back it up.
“A number of LGNSW’s members have found the 2016 amalgamations that were imposed on them have cost far more to implement than the Government estimated and provided for,” Cr Scott said.
“They’re now having to meet this cost from their existing budget, which means potentially less investment in community infrastructure and services.”