The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) report into whether NSW Councils were Fit for the Future (FFTF) was handed down last week. Oberon along with 60% of NSW Councils has been deemed unfit. The NSW State Government has requested that Councils now reassess the Independent Local Government Review Panels original recommendations. We have been given 30 days to respond to this recommendation.
Oberon's position was to Stand Alone as an independent Local Government entity. The Independent Local Government Review Panel’s recommendation was a potential merge with Bathurst Regional Council.
We have decided that the responsible approach, considering the monetary incentives offered by the State Government for voluntary merges, is that all available options be presented to the community, including the current position of Standing Alone.
As part of this process, in line with the recommendations, we have held preliminary discussions with our neighbouring Councils, namely, Lithgow and Bathurst.
Oberon Council seek your assistance in providing guidance to Council as to which option you consider best for our community. The options include a voluntary merge with a neighbouring Council, thus utilising the financial incentives currently being offered by the NSW State Government, or maintaining our Stand Alone position and forgoing any potential short term gain, through additional infrastructure projects, but retaining local identity and representation we currently enjoy. The risk associated with Standing Alone is that we may be forced to merge regardless. This will be a decision made by the Government.
The question is: Do the benefits of Standing Alone outweigh the obvious disadvantages?
Oberon Council invite all residents to a public meeting on Monday 9th November, Oberon RSL Club, Dudley Street, Oberon at 7pm. It is imperative whatever your position on this issue you attend this meeting. Any potential outcomes will affect all of our lives in one way or another. If you are unable to attend, We invite you to submit comment to Council prior to 9 November.