Shires stand united

BOMBALA, Snowy River and Cooma-Monaro shires have vowed to put forward a united front to the Minister for Local Government, Don Page, on the 

proposed amalgamation of local government areas.

The councils’ mayors will tell the minister they want to remain autonomous and that they already exercise a large degree of cooperation and resource sharing through their umbrella group, the High Plains Forum.      

According to Bombala council papers, Bombala mayor, Cr Bob Stewart, told a recent meeting of the forum that Bombala Council was “quite comfortable” under the existing model of working together and felt that the forum should respond to the government as a united front for the Monaro when looking at a best governance model for the region.

“He would like to see a continuance of the status quo until a detailed audit for the Monaro can be provided to the councils showing a more efficient and economic benefit outcome,” the council papers say.

The discussion was in response to the independent local government review panel’s taskforce recommendations on revitalising local government which proposed the amalgamation of a number of local government areas.

Cooma-Monaro mayor Dean Lynch suggested the forum get on the “front foot” and show that the three councils already shared significant resources such as libraries and weed management.

After extensive discussion, the forum agreed that it would put forward a joint response.

In a draft letter to Mr Page, the forum said that historically the three councils have been involved in a vast number of collaborative service delivery sharing programs including upgraded technology, mobile libraries, tourism promotions, noxious weed control and regional purchasing.

“The three councils have agreed to continue exploring resource sharing options and delivering shared services to our respective communities based on an appropriate business case,” the forum said.

A “one model fits all” solution was not tenable, it said.