22.6 C
Byron Shire
March 5, 2024

Lismore, Kyogle mayors cool on merger talks

Latest News

French Film Festival – just delicious

This year’s French Film Festival opening night choice is a unique adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s thrilling and beloved classic novel The Three Musketeers. In a double blockbuster film production nominated for six César awards, from director Martin Bourboulon, the opening instalment, D’Artagnan, will open the festival.

Other News

They’re just a Teenage Fanclub, baby

Teenage Fanclub will return to Australia in March performing their first live shows down under since 2019. The renowned Glasgow five-piece – led by founding members Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley, with drummer Francis Macdonald, bassist Dave McGowan and keyboardist Euros Childs – will perform in Byron Bay on Tuesday, 12 March. The tour celebrates the band’s upcoming 12th studio album, Nothing Lasts Forever – set for release in September.

The changing of the possums at Wallum

Yesterday a large group of Wallum development protesters walked onto the site at the end of Omega Circuit, to surround two trees – one known as ‘The Mother Tree’ and one known as ‘The Grandmother Tree’,

Byron influencers

I'd love to know the fashion swimwear evolution for the Bundjalung people swimming at Tyagarah, 60,000, 50,000, 40,000, 30,000,...

Western values

In a recent vote at the United Nations, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on the right of the...

Tweed health services coming closer to home

The Tweed Heads community will benefit from a range of community-based and outreach health services to be delivered under one roof on the site of the current Tweed Hospital, after hospital services transfer to the Tweed Valley Hospital later this year.

Hijacking feminism, harming women

Surely the success of feminist activism is one of the most positive stories of our times. Just think of the limited options of our mothers, compared to young women today. 

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 COMMENT

  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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Interview with Tijuana Cartel

Tijuana Cartel is a renowned Australian musical collective celebrated for their pioneering fusion of diverse genres. Their latest masterpiece, Alectura is an innovative album that once again showcases the band’s expertise in blending organic house and melodic house with captivating rhythms, beats, and global influences.

Concerned about climate change and societal collapse?

Join a Q&A with Jem Bendell for one night only in Byron Bay – Professor of Sustainability, Jem Bendell, was one of the first to directly name and speak out about what the climate crisis means for our civilisation. His seminal paper Deep Adaptation started a global movement by that name as well as inspiring the creation of Extinction Rebellion.

Seedlings: start another Big Scrub

Victoria Cosford There’s something about trees that makes people happy, that evokes a positive response. I’m standing at the newish ReForest Now stall at the...

National inquiry highlights the importance of shopping locally

The final report of the Inquiry into Price Gouging and Unfair Pricing Practices released last month revealed big business has worsened the cost-of-living crisis...