IN making a cross-border deal work Albury needs to realise Wodonga is “no longer the poor cousin picking up the scraps at the table”, a councillor has warned.
Wodonga councillor Tim Quilty’s potshot came as the Twin Cities’ councils signed an agreement to jointly lobby for investment.
“This partnership is only going to work if Albury recognise that Wodonga is no longer the poor cousin picking up the scraps at the table,” Cr Quilty said.
“If we don’t share the benefits of this equally the residents of Wodonga are going to call very loudly to pull the plug.”
Cr Quilty’s concern was shared by colleague Libby Hall who wants a final plan to include exit provisions.
“I would like to point out, that if for some reason, things don’t work out between the two regional cities agreement it is important that we have protections that we can end this agreement,” Cr Hall said.
Speaking to the media, Albury mayor Kevin Mack and his Wodonga counterpart Anna Speedie accepted the concerns as valid.
“We’re not in any way saying this is going to be rosy and we’re going to get this sorted, we’re going to do it perfect the first time,” Cr Mack said.
“I actually applaud the concerns of the Wodonga councillors because as new councillors they have to ask those questions.
“I’ve got a group of councillors that largely have been on council for a long time and appreciate this is an opportunity that we can’t ignore.”
Cr Speedie said it was “absolutely not” a worry that her councillors had reservations.
“We should be questioning every single thing that we do and we always bring that to the table,” she said.
“Every service that we review we should be looking at it from every angle, how do we make it better for our community, how do we reduce costs and is that going to make it better for our community.”
Wodonga councillor Danny Lowe said the agreement was not just about costs but addressing social issues such as homelessness.