AMALGAMATIONS might be the “noisy” part of local government reform, but there are many other changes coming to councils like Bathurst.
Participants at this week’s annual Local Government Conference were told by Minister for Local Government Paul Toole that reforms would deliver benefits for communities across the state.
“People only talk about mergers, but there’s now two-year terms for mayors and integrity reforms,” he said.
“There’s also regulatory reforms and rate reviews.
“Mergers are just the noisy part [of the reforms].”
As a former Bathurst Regional Council mayor, Mr Toole said he knows only too well the position that mayors and councillors are facing.
“I used to attended these conferences as a mayor and for 20 years nothing ever got done,” he said.
“There’s a whole lot of things happening that they’ve never seen before.”
Mergers are just the noisy part [of local government reforms].Minister for Local Government Paul Toole
Bathurst Regional Council community and cultural services director Alan Cattermole, councillor Bobby Bourke and deputy mayor Ian North were among the local delegation at the conference.
Mr Toole said the NSW Government has undertaken the most significant reform the local government sector has ever seen.
“We have created new councils across NSW, we are transforming the way regional councils work through the development of Joint Organisations and the Far West Initiative and we're modernising the Local Government Act,” he said.
Mr Toole said the conference was an opportunity for new and returning councillors to shape the future of local government and address the everyday issues that matter to local communities.
“Last month’s council elections saw many new faces elected to councils across the state, and it was very pleasing to see many of them at this year’s conference,” he said.
A new strategy for a long-term plan to boost the workforce of councils was also announced at the conference.
The NSW Local Government Workforce Strategy 2016-2020 will help local governments tackle workforce challenges, develop talent and attract and retaining leaders.