OPINION: Windradyne Whisperer with Lachlan Sullivan

COLD SHOULDER: A merger with Bathurst has received a frosty reception from some in Oberon. But not every small council feels the same way.
COLD SHOULDER: A merger with Bathurst has received a frosty reception from some in Oberon. But not every small council feels the same way.

I AM intrigued that when you look around the Central West we have two shires, Cabonne and Oberon, who have a small but committed anti-amalgamation group, while Blayney, which is in a similar position, is happy to be part of a combined Orange, Cabonne and Blayney.   

Bathurst Regional Council has played an interesting, non-aggressive, almost passive strategy - which, in my eyes, will dilute the influence the Bathurst region, as a single entity, holds in the future when compared with the eventual Orange, Blayney and Cabonne entity when competing for future NSW Government grants. 

Oberon and Cabonne appealing against the decision by the Land and Environment Court, seeking permission to wait until the Woollahra Council case is also handed down, will undoubtedly create a delay in when the new entities of Bathurst and Orange, respectively, go to the polls, as the time-frame to establish the new entities would be near impossible to settle by September 2017, when we are scheduled to elect a new council.

What’s mined is his

DURING the Fit for the Future public forums on local government reform, the conveners discussed “incentives” for councils to amalgamate voluntarily. 

I suggested to one well-known Oberonite in attendance, of cricket and theatre fame, that maybe Oberon residents could be offered a seven-day holiday to Fiji in July, which would cost roughly $7 million (based on deals being advertised now), but I was uncertain then, and remain uncertain now, what the incentive is for Bathurst to take on Oberon. 

Bathurst Regional Council has, as a result of this passive, “we’ll do whatever the minister says” strategy, missed a great opportunity to have a balanced portfolio of Oberon, Bathurst and Blayney - all entities with similar socio-economic credentials and communities of interest to Bathurst.

Mayor John Davis in Orange must be sitting back and quietly smiling as Cadia Mine will soon be within his council area - all without a fight.

No Webber for Mount

WHILE the “Great Race” has come and gone, and the hyped-up Brock mini-series is forgotten (like the second placegetter in any event), the Bathurst 12 Hour goes from strength to strength, with big announcements being made on driver line-ups. 

While it’s great to hear local V8 legends like Ingall, Skaife and Longhurst lining up in a sensational looking BMW sponsored by Castrol and Vodafone, I’m saddened to hear former F1 Aussie hero Mark Webber is putting away the driver’s suit.

It means that Mount Panorama will not see Webber’s name on the entry list in a Porsche in the Bathurst 12 Hour - unless, of course, Walkinshaw Racing, which is expected to field at least two factory-backed Porsches in 2017, can pull together the “deal of all deals”.

Thumbs up

MOUNT Panorama creating yet another dramatic end to the Bathurst 1000. The sceptics would suggest it was scripted for TV ratings - which, incidentally, were massive.

Thumbs down

MARK Webber announcing he’ll retire from racing at year’s end, meaning we’ll never see his name on the Bathurst 12 Hour entry list. Or will we?

                                                - LACHLAN SULLIVAN