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Byron Shire
August 4, 2021

Lismore urged to reject Kyogle merger

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Lismore councillors are being urged to reject a merger with Kyogle. Photo Chris Dobney
Lismore councillors are being urged to reject a merger with Kyogle. Photo Chris Dobney

Lismore city council senior staff are urging councillors to reject merging with Kyogle council because Lismore residents would end up bearing the costs.

In a report to tomorrow’s meeting, executive staff have outlined the case against an amalgamation, arguing that while an amalgamation would improve services in Kyogle, Lismore residents would be paying for it.

In a costs and benefits analysis, Lismore staff say a merger would provide a boost of $10.5 million over 10 years, the benefits were marginal in a budget of around $100 million.

‘The most important aspect of note is that the costs of the merger are born disproportionately by Lismore residents and the benefits, albeit marginal, of the merger are almost exclusively gained by residents of Kyogle,’ the staff report says.

‘Service levels in Kyogle will rise significantly and this rise in service level would be funded by the residents of Lismore.’

Factors working against a merger include concerns about the quality of economic data provided by Kyogle council; Kyogle’s backlog of infrastructure works, and differing community aspirations.

‘It is clear from the Community Strategic Plans of both councils that the community of interests are very different.,’ staff say.

‘Lismore is a predominately urban area whereas Kyogle is a predominantly rural area.

‘A merged council will see the interests of these very different communities compromised, with only a very modest and very unreliable positive financial business case.’

Lismore City Council was found to be ‘fit for the future’ under assessments made by the state government, but Kyogle council was found to be not fit.

And while the state is offering a $5 million sweetener if a merger was to go ahead, staff say that would be offset by other ongoing costs.

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  1. It is amazing how conservative Lismore is.
    If there were to be a Council amalgamation then there is no more thinking in conservative terms of “them” and “us”.
    The word “WE” comes into vogue as the town of Kyogle and Lismore then are in the one area of the one big council. There is no more thinking that Kyogle is way, way over there in the bush, and Lismore is way way over here on the hill. There is a link that they then are in the one shire and controlled by one shire council. That is the old thinking like we used too have in Tweed Shire.
    The people at Murwillumbah, “Oh they are the Up-river people. Don’t mix with them as they are too up river while we at Tweed are more worthy as we are the Downriver people at the mouth of the river.”
    Then Jake look at the sky and he says in a long drawl. “Do ya think it will rain.”
    “Maybe that other place Kyogle may have had some, as they are a long ways north of here up in the monsoon area.”

  2. As a Lismore Council ratepayer I would hate to see a merge with Kyogle. We could help them by doing a boundary adjustment taking Lillian Rock, Cawongla and Barkers Vale. That would improve the catchment boundaries, but as for the rest heading west, they have more in common with Richmond Valley and would be a much better fit to merge that way.


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