Albury and Wodonga councils to meet on Friday and agree to historic partnership

FLASHBACK: NSW Premier Bob Carr and Victorian Premier Steve Bracks pushed for a merger of Albury and Wodonga councils in 2001.
FLASHBACK: NSW Premier Bob Carr and Victorian Premier Steve Bracks pushed for a merger of Albury and Wodonga councils in 2001.

A PARTNERSHIP to be agreed to by Albury and Wodonga councils on Friday won’t be the catalyst for another attempt to merge both entities.

The two councils will tick-off the historic agreement at back-to-back special meetings at The Cube after the deal was fast-tracked following a successful united effort in obtaining $140 million in federal funding for upgrades to the trouble-plagued North-East railway line.

But the meeting agenda clearly states the proposal is not about “revisiting One City”.

The most recent failed bid to merge the two councils was attempted in 2002 by NSW Premier Bob Carr and his Victorian counterpart Steve Bracks.

“It is about promoting two cities working together as one community, and through that collaboration realising and releasing the full potential that can be created by working together as a much larger community and economy,” the agenda states.

“This proposal responds to the loud and clear message both councils received from their respective communities when developing their community plans.

“That is please work together for the benefit of both cities, and realise the opportunity to achieve community aspirations and ambitions, deliver value for money and adopt a regional perspective.

“This partnership agreement formalises and gives structure to the current co-operative approach to planning, funding and building major infrastructure and facilities across the two cities.”

Mayors Kevin Mack and Anna Speedie and two other councillors from Albury and Wodonga to sit on a Two Cities, One Community working group.

Cr John Watson and deputy mayor Danny Lowe have been nominated as the Wodonga representatives.

Albury councillors joining the working group will be confirmed on Friday.

Albury recently aborted plans to build a $50 million indoor swimming pool complex next door to Lauren Jackson Sports Centre and instead is investigating a regional facility with Wodonga.