The New South Wales council amalgamation process drags on, with mixed results for councils handed down by the Land and Environment Court earlier this week.
Justice Time Moore dismissed attempts by Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Ku-Ring-Gai and Shellharbour Councils to block amalgamations with neighbouring councils.
The councils will have the opportunity to appeal the decision over the coming week.
There was better news for Mosman, North Sydney and Strathfield Councils, who have sidestepped pending mergers – at least temporarily – due to flaws found in the respective reports.
Justice Moore ruled the report proposing a merger between Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby Councils was not valid because it ignored a mandatory requirement of the Local Government Act – “the need to ensure that the opinions of each of the diverse communities of the resulting area or areas are effectively represented.”
Mosman Council has welcomed the decision and at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday night, resolved to continue to campaign for independence.
Mosman Mayor Peter Abelson said the Council is working with its legal team to decide the best path forward.
"What we're doing now is working to ensure that every reasonable opportunity is taken to continue fighting for Mosman's independence.
"Council has been unequivocal in its belief that amalgamation will negatively impact Mosman residents and ratepayers. Our community has repeatedly told us they don't want to merge and we remain committed to representing and protecting their interests.
"The judgment is a complex and multi-layered one, and Council’s legal team is continuing to review the 127-page document. The best way forward for Council is likely to become evident over the next week or so."
The Federal Government has approved $2.1 million to fund 10 local government road upgrades across the Northern Territory under the Black Spot Program.
Local Government Association of Northern Territory (LGANT) President Damien Ryan welcomed the announcement.
“The funding is extremely welcome, and also satisfying is that the 10 projects were awarded to local governments that lodged submissions,” Mayor Ryan said.
“Black Spot project funding targets roads where frequent crashes occur and the funding will contribute to safer roads and fewer accidents.
“Councils are well-placed to identify accident black spots in their regions and it is pleasing that a mixture of municipal and regional councils received funding.
“I encourage all councils to work with their communities to identify roads they can nominate for the 2017-18 funding round.”
The funding has been awarded to City of Darwin, East Arnhem Regional Council, Katharine Town Council, MacDonnell Regional Council, Palmerston City Council and West Daly Regional Council.
The Northern Territory black spot program consultative panel will meet in November to consider nominated roads and recommend priority projects for approval by the Federal Government.
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Greater scope for shared services providing better outcomes for local communities has finally been provided to WA Local Governments with the passage of legislation through Parliament yesterday, says WA Local Government Association (WALGA)
The Local Government (Regional Subsidiaries) Bill enables two or more Local Governments to establish joint organisations to deliver shared services.
WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie welcomed the Bill’s passage, stating it would allow Councils to join together to deliver services across those areas where efficiencies had been identified and noted the model was a key recommendation of the 2008 sector-endorsed Systemic Sustainability Study.
“Local Governments have long wished to engage in shared service delivery with their neighbours but were hamstrung by the burdensome administrative requirements under the previous legislation,” Cr Craigie said.
“WALGA has been advocating for this change since 2008, as shared services were identified as a significant avenue for sector reform during our research at the time.
“We can now move into exploring the opportunities this legislation will afford the sector, with possible shared services such as planning approvals processes, road maintenance and administrative systems.”
Cr Craigie said the sector was appreciative of Moore MLA Shane Love and the Nationals for reintroducing the legislation as a private members bill after previous legislation first introduced in 2012 lapsed.
She thanked the Greens and ALP for their support of Local Governments’ advocacy and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson for completing the Bill’s passage through Parliament.
“The flexibility provided by this legislation will finally allow Local Governments to better work together across a whole range of services and will serve to strengthen service delivery to local communities,” she said.
“We look forward to working with our members and the State on the accompanying regulations for the legislation and exploring where efficiency gains can be made.”