Amalgamation an “insult” to Lachlan Shire

Forcing Lachlan Shire Council to amalgamate is an “insult” according to State Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries.

• State Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries told the Argus, a forced amalgamation would be an “insult” to Lachlan Shire Council. He is pictured here with LSC Deputy Mayor Des Manwaring on a visit to Condobolin earlier this year. More on the KEEP LACHLAN LOCAL campaign on page 7.

By Melissa Blewitt

Forcing Lachlan Shire Council to amalgamate is an “insult” according to State Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries.

“Forcing Lachlan Shire Council based on this (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal‘s Fit for the Future) report is an absolute insult to them,” he said.

“Out of all the councils in my electorate, Lachlan is one of the best. Lachlan Shire Council is doing a good job, and they have the right to fight for their community.

“Lachlan Shire does not support amalgamation and neither do I. I will not be supporting any forced amalgamation within my electorate.

“Lachlan Shire Council wants to stand alone and I fully support that decision. I will fight for Lachlan’s right to stand alone.

“It’s a case of why bother, if no economic case has been made for amalgamations and certainly no advantages of the decision explained to communities.

“My position is that I support Lachlan Shire and I will not support any forced amalgamations, and I will be taking my concerns to the Minster for Local Government Paul Toole during the next two sitting weeks of Parliament.”

Mr Humphries said he understood Barwon had “interests that were too broad” and many councils in his electorate would not benefit from amalgamations.

“We need to keep local interests alive and councils working together can achieve great outcomes for their communities.”

Mr Humphries added he felt the emphasis should be more on supporting and empowering Joint Organisations (JO’s).

“I think this whole process has gone in the wrong direction. There should be more emphasis on creating a stronger Regional Organisation of Councils such as Central NSW Councils (CENTROC), which Lachlan is a part of,” he said.

“I think this [the IPART assessments] is the wrong path and we need to look at giving local councils a bigger role in a JO, so they can act as a direct conduit to the State Government.

“This is not to say that those who believe amalgamating will bring benefits, should not go ahead.

“All councils can look at strategic planning and working more efficiently, and I do support that.”

Mr Humphries said he will not be in Condobolin until December, but he has made his feelings clear to both Lachlan Shire Mayor John Medcalf and Deputy Mayor Des Manwaring.

“I spoke to John [Mayor Medcalf] two weeks ago and I made by position clear to him. I do not support forced amalgamations,” he said. “He knows how I feel and I will support Lachlan’s right to fight this decision.”

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