CENTROC has officially expressed its opposition to forced amalgamation.
Nanjing Night Net

Bathurst Council Chambers.

Representatives of the 17 member councils met at Mount Panorama on Thursday to discuss the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s final report into the state’s councils.

The panel has made it clear that councils should consider forming alliances.

Earlier this year representatives of Bathurst Regional Council travelled to the Hunter region to see firsthand the preferred model for joint council ventures.

On Thursday, CEO of the Hunter group of councils Roger Stephan outlined how their model works to CENTROC members who did not make the trip.

The mayors and general managers of Bathurst, Oberon, Lithgow and Blayney councils have already met to discuss the option of forming a voluntary alliance.

Bathurst mayor Gary Rush is of the opinion that if these councils take a proactive approach, it would indicate they were in control of their own destiny.

The Bathurst mayor said CENTROC would be making a submission that it does not support the formation of mandatory joint organisations, however, he said certain aspects of the review were well received.

Cr Rush said member councils were cautious, and wished to explore all the options before any decisions were made.

“No council used the opportunity to state their position,” he said. “It is fair to say all local government areas realise there is a lot to consider. However, they don’t want any collaboration to be mandatory.

“I personally think there are advantages in having discussions and looking at how we can work together to achieve positive outcomes, particularly in relation to financial and resource sharing,” he said.

Cr Rush said chair of Central West Tourism, Norm Mann also spoke at Thursday’s CENTROC meeting.

He said they learned some funds have been allocated for distribution among local councils.

In the Bathurst region, these funds will go towards initiatives already planned.

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