Forbes Shire Council will continue to stand alone after the announcement made on the 18th December by Local Government Minister Paul Toole and NSW Premier Mike Baird. Minister Toole announced that the 152 councils in NSW will be reduced to 112, with the number of regional councils cut back from 109 to 87.
Forbes Shire Council now has the opportunity to revise and resubmit its Fit for the Future proposal in 2016 to be reassessed and declared fit. Mayor Phyllis Miller OAM said this was the best news Council could have hoped for.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to continue to represent our community as a stand alone council,” Mayor Miller said. Mayor Miller said the merger proposals announced this morning will go forward to the Chief Executive of Local Government who will conduct public inquiries and then refer their recommendations on to the Boundaries Commission for final determination.
“Our neighbouring councils, Orange, Blayney and Cabonne, have been forced to merge together,” she said. “Our next step is to have meetings with the Mayor of Cabonne and the Mayor of Orange and then meet with the community of Eugowra to get their views on whether they would like us to lobby for a boundary change to enter into Forbes Shire Council.”
“As Forbes Shire Council was declared not fit due scale and capacity, because of population, Council will now be able to resubmit our proposal in 2016.”
Mayor Miller said due to the boundary review process the Local Government elections scheduled for September 2016 will now be pushed back until March 2017. “The result from this announcement is a load off our shoulders not only for Councillors but also for Council staff and the community,” Mayor Miller said. “It has been a very stressful time and for us not to be facing forced amalgamations, with the opportunity to be declared fit, is a testament to us as councillors that we are doing a good job for our community.”
Mayor Miller said, “We can now go forward with our four year delivery plan and of course economic development and job creation is at the top of our list. This means that all of our energy can be focussed on something positive rather than submissions which were taking up a lot of our time.”