NSW Government proposes merger of Queanbeyan City Council and part of Palerang Council

The NSW Government has today announced a proposal to merge Queanbeyan City Council and the western part of Palerang Council. The number of NSW Councils are proposed to reduce from 152 to 112, with regional councils reducing from 109 to 87.

The NSW Government expects this approach will assist the sustainability of the local government sector and provide for improved services and infrastructure, and downward pressure on general rates.

“This is not a surprising step forward in the local government reform process,” Queanbeyan Mayor, Cr Tim Overall said. “One of the options put before Queanbeyan City Council at its 11 November meeting was to move down the path of the partitioning or adjustment of boundaries with Palerang, however this was not supported by Council at the time.

“I understand the Minister will grant authority to the CEO of the Office of Local Government to appoint delegates to assess the issues and benefits of the proposed merger and conduct a public inquiry which will be open to residents of both Palerang and Queanbeyan. The Delegate report will be referred to the Boundaries Commission for a final recommendation to the Minister for his determination regarding the proposed merger.

The Premier announced the date for Local Government elections had been deferred from September 2016 to March 2017 at this stage. Until then, the Minister advised its ‘business as usual’ for the councillors.

Then Premier indicated “this process of local government reform has been four years in the making and it has been made clear on a number of occasions that local government must change to remain sustainable into the future.”

It is understood the government will provide further information to Councils on the next steps in the first working week of January 2016. A website has been established by the Government to provide more information later today.

The NSW Government also announced that it would provide $5m in funding to cover the costs of mergers and $10m towards infrastructure works.