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Byron Shire
February 4, 2023

Richmond Valley to consider merger with Kyogle

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A meeting of the Richmond Valley Council. (Pic RVC)
A meeting of the Richmond Valley Council. (Pic RVC)

By Darren Coyne

Richmond Valley councillors will consider merging with Kyogle Shire Council but would want the state government tp stump up at least $20 to $30 million to tackle Kyogle’s infrastructure backlog.

RVC general manager John Walker has told Echonetdaily that RVC would not be interested in a merger unless there was ‘more money on the table’.

Richmond Valley Council GM John Walker. Photo Valley Watchdog
Richmond Valley Council GM John Walker. Photo Valley Watchdog

‘If there is a merger Kyogle would be better off with us than Lismore,” Mr Walker said.

Lismore City Council agrees.

At last night’s meeting, councillors reaffirmed their position to remain a stand-alone council, and reject any merger with Kyogle.

Staff had warned that a merger would benefit Kyogle ratepayers at the expense of Lismore ratepayers.

Kyogle has also voted to remain a stand-alone council, with mayor Danielle Mulholland telling Echonetdaily this week that the council would be putting further arguments to the state government about ‘scale and capacity’.

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

But if the state government proceeds with forced amalgamations, it’s likely that Richmond Valley councillors might decide next week that they would be better being on the front foot by requesting a merger.

Mr Walker said his final recommendation to councillors would be available on the council’s website tomorrow night (Thursday), in preparation for next Tuesday’s meeting.

‘Our position is that we are fit and able to stand alone and that is council’s preferred option however the debate is really deciding whether the government will go head with forced almalgamations and what our attitude to that is,’ he said.

‘We are trying to determine whether to say nothing and let the state make our decision for us or decide to put forward a preferred merger with Kyogle as a precursor to ensure if it happens we will not be disadvantaged.’

Mr Walker said the $10 million being offered by the state government for merged councils was not enough.

‘There is $5 million to be spent on the merger and $5 million for the merged entity to spend on community assets,’ he said.

‘We think it needs to be more because Kyogle has major infrastructure problems with all of its timber bridges.

Mr Walker said at least $20 to $30 million would be needed to make the merger option attractive to RVC.

RVC will meet next Tuesday.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. OMG kyogle does not want to be dragged into the richmond valley council. Walker and Bennet would have let Metgasco destroy the whole region and can’t be trusted.Hands off Kyogle shire

  2. Just give Kyogle Shire Council the $20 or $30 million and we’ll stand alone. I don’t trust RVC to spend the money on us or represent us fairly.

  3. Why is the General Manager John Walker making these statements? He is exceeding his authority as General Manager to be making statements like this, he takes direction from Councillors, the ones elected to represent Richmond Valley people and their interests. Why does he think he can dictate to councillors what they should decide? About time John Walker stopped treating the council as his personal empire and got back in his box.

  4. Perfectly said Margie, my exact thoughts.

    We aren’t for sale Walker.

    Kyogle Council will stand alone thanks very much.

    Your Pro gas stance to the bitter end was enough to show us where your thinking is, “Industrialisation” in the form of mining over our Prime Ag land.

  5. I hope for Kyogle’s sake, that Richmond Valley make the right decision and do not vote to take them over. Kyogle should stand alone.

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