Uncertainty around new joint organisations linking NSW councils

The proposed boundaries for regional joint organisations
The proposed boundaries for regional joint organisations

New joint organisations linking NSW councils were set to be established this year, but Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils chair Kevin Mack says it “could be miles away” or not happen at all.

The project began in 2014 and the state government earmarked $5.3 million to roll out the organisations, hoped to “provide a forum for local councils and the state to work together to deliver regional priorities”.

The proposed Riverina joint organisation would represent nine councils including Albury, Greater Hume and Lockhart, extending up past Temora. Cr Mack believed the structure would be better than the current regional organisation of councils but said there was uncertainty around whether it would come into being.

“The legislation was ready to go before Christmas … but it’s been put on hold,” he said.

“Whispers we’re hearing out of the office of local government is they may never happen.

“We’ll be guided by the local government minster and any legislation they decide to put out.”

Greater Hume Council will decide on Wednesday evening whether to withdraw membership from RAMROC.

The withdrawal was originally planned in 2013 but deferred when the NSW Independent Local Government Review Report recommended Greater Hume Shire Council form part of a joint organisation.

As Greater Hume is also a member of the Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils, general manager Steven Pinnuck has recommended to withdraw from RAMROC and save $9178 in membership costs.

Cr Mack said he was confident collaboration between Albury and Greater Hume councils would continue.

“Greater Hume have had dual memberships of RAMROC and REROC for a number of years,” he said.

“It’s more of a cost issue than anything else and they feel their interests lie more in their northern boundary than the western. REROC and RAMROC are working together on waste initiatives and a whole host of projects.”