Unincorporated towns frown on 'fourth tier'
Disgruntled rumblings about council reforms have been heard from far west New South Wales.
Community consultation sessions for the NSW Government’s proposed ‘Far West Initiative’ have begun in Broken Hill.
The initiative seeks to create a new regional authority to sit between councils and the state government, taking over some functions of local councils and theoretically helping them share resources and lobby as a collective.
But a lot of residents at the Broken Hill meeting were from the Unincorporated Far West Region, which has no local government, who argue that they do not need the authority.
Some speakers said the unincorporated area actually gets more reliable road maintenance because it is provided by the State Government, rather than the nearby Central Darling Shire.
They said that with the third tier of government already underperforming, there was no need to add a fourth.
Locals say the only consultation was for the proposal for a regional authority, but they would prefer to see the Unincorporated Far West Region expanded to remove more towns from council control.
The Office of Local Government says the regional body would not just be a “talkfest”, and could bring in the Federal Government as well.
But attendees wanted to know how government representation would work, and if individual state and federal agencies sit for talks.
They heard very few concrete plans, and none relating to the actual functions a regional body would be responsible for.
The talks will continue, and many far west residents say they hope more details will be available at future sessions.