23.2 C
Byron Shire
February 8, 2023

Lismore, Kyogle mayors cool on merger talks

Latest News

Iron Gates development in Evans Head land owners go into administration – again

The Iron Gates development, that is on flood- and fire-prone land near Evans Head, has been fought by the community for over 30 years. The current company that owns the site, Goldcoral Pty Ltd whose director is Graeme Ingles, has now been placed into administration.

Other News

Land values rise

Your cover story on 25 January claims that land valuation rises could herald increases in Council rates. This is...

Perrottet’s election gamble on cashless pokies

It would appear ClubsNSW is not having a good year, and today’s announcement that the NSW government has proposed a gambling reform policy that would ensure all poker machines in the state become cashless by 2028 hasn't made it any better.

It’s not the fossils, it’s the fools 

Humans have been muddling along in cities for around twelve thousand years, says Wikipedia, although if you count using an alphabet of some kind as the criterion of civilisation, the time span drops to a mere fifty centuries.

Local libraries get ByteWise about science

A National Science and Technology Centre program, ByteWise is a revolving showcase of 24 interactive exhibitions that will be touring the Northern Rivers for the next three months.

A big month in the House

Back by popular demand is the Moontide Ensemble in their farewell show before heading overseas. The Moontide Ensemble returns to the Brunswick Picture House to perform their highly regarded audiovisual show. 

Lismore trial of recycled crushed glass in concrete

A trial to use recycled crushed glass in concrete as a replacement for sand will be taking place in Lismore at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell. (File pic)
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell. (File pic)

Darren Coyne

The state government should be looking at amalgamating Sydney councils before worrying about councils in country areas, according to Lismore’s mayor Jenny Dowell.

‘It’s very top heavy down there in Sydney,” Cr Dowell told Echonetdaily.

‘Some city councils are very small with regards to their population size and geographic areas and they don’t have the same growth and pressures on infrastructure so they are very top heavy.’

To put that in context, Cr Dowell said Brisbane city had one council while Sydney had 41 councils.

Cr Dowell was responding to reports that Kyogle council had decided not to take part in a preparing a joint application for the government’s Fit for the Future program, but would concentrate on proving its own viability.

‘We asked Kyogle about two months ago if they could have a decision to us by Christmas because there’s a lot of work involved but Kyogle have said they will go down a different route and that’s fine,’ she said.

‘We’ll do our own Fit for the Future report and Kyogle, which has applied for a rate increase through IPART, will do its own.’

Cr Dowell said it would be difficult to meet the state government’s timeframe of June next year if Kyogle eventually decided it wanted to pursue a merger with Lismore.

‘It’s not for us to ask for more time but I believe there will be councils throughout the state having that conversation with the office of local government,’ she said.

Cr Dowell said it was hard to see benefits of amalgamating Lismore with Kyogle.

‘It would be challenging for us,’ she said.

‘There is a $5 million incentive to merge but that wouldn’t touch the sides of bringing the rating systems into alignment let alone dealing with all the wooden bridges and other challenges in the Kyogle area,’ she said.

Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland. (file pic)
Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland. (file pic)

Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland told Echonetdaily that Kyogle’s main focus at present was making the council sustainable for the future.

‘We’re not sustainable as we are so we’re looking at a rates increase. There’s two options, 22 per cent over five years, or 46 per cent,’ she said.

‘The 22 per cent option is a resolution of the council and if we get approval from the community and our submission is successful then we can look at whether we need to merge or can standalone.’

She also pointed out that federal government funding cutbacks of financial assistance grants to councils meant that 8 per cent of the 22 per cent proposed increase would be simply to cover those losses.

Cr Mulholland also questioned why the state government was prepared to spend $600 million supporting amalgamations when the money could be better spent dealing with dealing with infrastructure backlogs.

‘We’ve got 213 timber bridges, which is the most in NSW, and I believe the southern hemisphere, and we’ve got a $40 million backlog, so when we are looking at merger issues we’re going to have to look at their capacity to address that backlog.’

She said that community surveys on the amalgamation issue had shown that more than 70 per cent of the community was against merging with another council.

But the state government appears set on mergers.

‘We’re on the Titanic and the government is the orchestra,’ she said.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Councils like Lismore get amalgamated because the mayor has run up huge debts and has no concept of a balanced budget. Maybe you should list Lismore’s debt from 2010 to now so Jenny can comment . I also recall Jenny stating Debt would not increase in 2012/2013


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Far North Coast branch of NSW Farmers launches

The new NSW Farmers Far North Coast Branch, that will be representing farmers from the Tweed and Byron Shires, launched yesterday.

New Lismore refugee support group starting up

A local group from the Lismore area, the Lismore Region Refugee Settlement (LRRS), have come together to support refugees settling in the area. 

A tribute for Richard Moloney

Byron Shire has lost another of its colourful characters, the irrepressible Richard Moloney, who died suddenly but peacefully in his home at the end of January.

Flood rebuilds hampered by ‘like-for-like’ insurance clause

Attempts by flood-affected homeowners to retrofit their homes with flood-resilient materials are being cruelled by insurance companies and builders, a local resident says.