Thursday, June 20, 2024

Cootamundra-Gundagai council welcomes demerger after six ‘tough’ years

Minister for Local Government, Wendy Tuckerman, has announced the decision to demerge Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC) – a move that’s been welcomed by the amalgamated council after six “tough” years.

Mrs Tuckerman said she considered the recent reports published by the Local Government Boundaries Commission, which examined the demerger proposal under Section 218CC of the Local Government Act 1993.

“This is a complex decision which I’ve made after considering both the report and dissenting report,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

The Minister said her decision was based on the merits of the proposal put forward by Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council and the subsequent recommendations and examination by the independent Boundaries Commission.

“There are countless examples across the state of amalgamated councils performing strongly by lowering costs and delivering better infrastructure and services for residents,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“It is disappointing that Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council has not been able to achieve this outcome.”

“I’d like to thank Cootamundra-Gundagai councillors and staff for serving their communities. I will make a further announcement on next steps and transitional arrangements in due course.

“Finally, I’d also like to acknowledge the Local Council Boundaries Commission for its work.”

CGRC Acting General Manager, Glen McAtear said the last six years have been tough on staff, and stressed the need for patience and consideration as the organisation goes through the transitional stages to reinstate the former Cootamundra and Gundagai Shire

“The Minister will come up with a model for the demerge, and our organisation as it is today will work with the Minister to ensure a smooth transition. It won’t happen overnight, and none of us at this time have any idea how long the transition will take.

“However, at this point it’s business as usual. I have every confidence that our staff will act professionally and competently delivering services to our communities, whilst working together to ensure that the demerging of the organisation is successful,” Mr McAtear said.

He said CGRC Mayor, Charlie Sheahan had spoken with Minister Tuckerman and Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, to assure them of Council’s support.

“We have made it clear that to expect staff to go through another two years is unreasonable and we want to get this demerger under way as quickly as possible,” Mr McAtear added.

“We must remember that during the last six years, there have been some wonderful projects and advancements delivered for our communities, many that have gone on in the background that have seen an improvement in processes, facilities, and efficiencies.

“There have been great relationships formed between staff members from both communities, with skills and experience passed on for the benefit of the organisation and in turn for our communities. I hope that the experiences we have all had will enhance the way we work forward, and we will continue to support each other into the future,” he said.

Mayor Sheahan said Council staff would continue to deliver community services during the transition.

“Councillors have committed to work together and with the Minister as we await advice from the Minister and Office for Local Government on the timing and implementation of the de-amalgamation,” he said.

“Now we get down to work, it is going to be a big job to demerge, there will be some pain and my focus is to support all staff as we move through this process.”

Mrs Tuckerman said it is anticipated council elections for the de-amalgamated shires will be held in line with the local government general elections in September 2024.

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