Peter Alley, Country Labor candidate for Lyne has come out in opposition to the proposed merger of Gloucester, Greater Taree and Great Lakes Councils.
Peter Alley said, “The fundamental financial problem faced by regional councils is that they do not have a sufficient rate base to maintain their extensive road and bridge network. This is the elephant in the room. The proposed Gloucester, Greater Taree and Great Lakes is an exercise in, wallpapering the elephant.”
“Merging Gloucester, Greater Taree and Great Lakes will broaden the rate base by the same amount that their road and bridge network is broadened. The end result is zilch–zero–nada-nothing!”
“No fundamental change.
“Meanwhile, the local council that we are accustomed to – will be a lot less local,” said Mr Alley.
“The skimpish 6 page document provided by the Liberal-National Party NSW Local Government Minister to justify the proposed merger speaks of a potential $30m savings over 20 years – about $16.57 per person per year,” he said.
“However, no information has been provided to substantiate the claim. Anyone who has been involved in mergers of medium to large organizations would be right to be skeptical of this claim.”
Questions have also been raised as to whether sufficient time and sufficient consultation with the community, as required under the Local Government Act, has been complied with.