Great Lakes Council does not need to merge

An announcement from the NSW Government has stated Great Lakes Council will be allowed to continue to stand-alone in order to best deliver local government services to the Great Lakes region into the future.

Cr Jim Morwitch, Mayor Jan McWilliams, Deputy Mayor Len Roberts and General Manager Glenn Handford
Cr Jim Morwitch, Mayor Jan McWilliams, Deputy Mayor Len Roberts and General Manager Glenn Handford

“The NSW Government has recognised the hard work and sound management undertaken at Great Lakes Council over the last decade in this announcement,” said Council’s General Manager, Mr Glenn Handford.

NSW Minister for Local Government, Mr Paul Toole said today that regional Councils that were deemed Fit for the Future, like Great Lakes, would now be able to commence implementation of their Fit for the Future proposals.

“We were pleased that we were declared fit for the future as a result of many years work by our Councillors and staff towards achieving sustainable financial management,” said Mr Handford.

“In addition this has required our ratepayers to affirm our plans through supporting the need for responsible rate increases over past years.

“Without these measures, we would not have satisfied the requirements to be declared fit for the future,” he said.

“We will await the reform proposals in the new year and we will continue to work with the NSW Government to deliver on our Fit for the Future proposal.”

Mr Handford said that Great Lakes Council will now continue to focus on providing sustainable local government services for its community.

“We will continue to listen to our community when they tell us how they want us to deliver services.”

“We are going to get on with the job that we are doing well.”


Port Stephens Council is to merge with Newcastle Council

FURTHER to last weeks state government’s local government reform announcement and the proposed merger of Port Stephens with Newcastle City Council, Port Stephens Council acting General Manager Mike McIntosh told Myall Coast News, “Obviously, the state government announcement this morning came as a shock given it completely turned on its head previous indications made about the future of local government in the Hunter region.”
“Council, the Mayor and the General Manager had been informed, on multiple occasions in public and in private, that Port Stephens’ fit for the future status meant that it would stand alone into the future and would not be merged with any of its neighbours,” he said.
“We now accept that this is not the case and we are focused on where to from here.”
Mr McIntosh said that the Port Stephens Council looks forward to the challenge this change also presents and we are up for it.
“We know we have the great staff, the runs on the board, and any opportunity to contribute positively to the improved delivery of local government services in the region we welcome,” he said.
Mr McIntosh said, “I appreciate this is an uncertain time. But can I assure you of one thing – Port Stephens Council as it stands today will continue to ensure we are doing our very best to deliver for the people of Port Stephens.”

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