Coffs Harbour last night voted NOT to join a new Mid Coast Joint Organisation (JO) which includes Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Bellingen so as to collaborate on major projects.
Councillors said the New South Wales Government has no legal right to force it into the JO and instead will lobby for a new North Coast organisation.
The Mid North Coast super-council will collaborate with the State Government on major regional projects and it has already had its first meeting.
Coffs Harbour councillor Keith Rhoades said a JO with Clarence Valley and Nambucca would better reflect the northern region.
“We have no community of interest with our friends in Port Macquarie. It is another major regional centre where the government simply wants to put a bucket of money on the table and say you fight over what you want to get for your particular area.”
Coffs Harbour last night agreed to continue a push for a North Coast J-O despite the state government making it clear, it won’t establish any more JOs
Councillor Rhoades said Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton doesn’t have the power to make that decision.
“There is no legislation that states there cannot be two Mid North Coast Joint Organisations, yet the Minister is determined she will not allow a second Joint Organisation. “
Originally published by the ABC at the ABC Coffs Coast Facebook page.
Outlook Editors comment: Councillor Rhodes may well be right in the narrow terms of the law as it stands. But State Governments have many other ways of addressing this issue.
Consider the following; this means the CHCC (pictured above) is currently one of only two councils out of 54 regional councils in NSW who have voted not to join their allocated Joint Organisation. The other is Nambucca. The JO proposal is a bi-partisan policy at State level. Given this do Councillors seriously think that State Governments in Sydney, irrespective of their political colour, are ‘going to let this one go through to the keeper’ and ignore this decision?
And what are the real reasons for the argument that “We have no community of interest with our friends in Port Macquarie”? Leaving aside the fact Port Macquarie, and Kempsey and Bellingen wont take kindly to the gibes inherent in Cr Rhodes comments last time I looked Port Macquarie makes up a fairly large slice of the federal seat of Cowper, as do Kempsey and Bellingen. The same federal seat that covers Coffs Harbour too.
“Call me old fashioned if you like possums” but I reckon that makes for one heck of a community of interest!
Addendum to above story and opinion comment- 15 June 2018 – 15.07 hrs – Here folk are the minutes from the CHCC Council meeting last night. The amended original motion moved by Cr Rhodes was voted for unanimously apparently. Essentially Nambucca wants to be in a JO with Coffs Harbour but Clarence Valley and Bellingen are to be asked to join with these two and move from the JO’s they have recently joined;
Council last considered membership of the Mid North Coast JO at its meeting on 22 March 2018 when it resolved to join a JO comprising Clarence Valley Council, Coffs Harbour City Council, Bellingen Shire Council and Nambucca Shire Council. This resolution was provided to the Minister for Local Government as required by the legislation.
On 11 May 2018, the Local Government (Regional Joint Organisations) Proclamation 2018 was published. The proclamation established the Mid North Coast JO comprising Bellingen Shire Council, Kempsey Shire Council and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
On 24 May 2018, the Mayor received a letter jointly signed by from the Hon. John Barilaro and the Hon. Gabrielle Upton advising that although Coffs Harbour City Council made a resolution to become a member of a JO, it has not been included in the initial proclamation as the resolution did not align with other council resolutions or was conditional on specific actions by the Minister. The letter makes clear the Government’s position that, with the exception of the Far West Region, the NSW Government will not be proclaiming any additional joint organisations in regional NSW. Therefore, Council’s currently resolved position of a four council JO is unlikely to proceed. Further, the letter advises that it is the NSW Government’s intent that all regional councils become a full voting member of a JO, so that their communities can benefit from a strong regional approach to strategic planning, collaboration and advocacy.
On 2 June 2018, Council received advice from Nambucca Shire Council that following consideration of this matter at their Council meeting on 31 May 2018, it was resolved to seek the support of Clarence Valley Council and Coffs Harbour City Council in making representations to the Deputy Premier, the Minister for Local Government and our local State Members for the establishment of a JO comprising Clarence Valley Council, Coffs Harbour City Council and Nambucca Shire Council. Further that Bellingen Shire Council be accepted as a member of the proposed JO should they obtain approval to withdraw from the proclaimed Mid North Coast JO.
Council now needs to consider, that given the State Government’s advised position on JOs, whether it wishes to continue pursuing a four councils North Coast JO or to accept the State Government’s advice and now formally resolve to join the proclaimed Mid North Coast JO. Alternatively Council may choose to take no action at this time and apply a watching brief to this matter. Accepting the State Government’s advice and formally resolving to join the Mid North Coast JO is recommended.
|Motion (Cr Sally Townley / Cr Paul Amos)|
1. Council continue to pursue its resolved position with regard to a Joint Organisation comprising Coffs Harbour City Council, Clarence Valley Council, Nambucca Shire Council and Bellingen Shire Council, and
2. That representations are made to the Deputy Premier, the Minister for Local Government and relevant State members in respect of Council’s position.
|2018/129||Resolved (Cr Keith Rhoades / Cr John Arkan)|
1. Council make further representations, together with Nambucca and Clarence Valley Councils, to the Deputy Premier, the Minister for Local Government and the local State Members for the establishment of a Joint Organisation comprising the Coffs Harbour City, Clarence Valley and Nambucca Shire local government areas; and
In the event that the representations mentioned in 1. above are received in the affirmative by the NSW State Government, further
2. In accordance with Part 7 of Chapter 12 of the Local Government Act 1993 (Act), the Coffs Harbour City Council (Council) resolves:
2.1 That the Council inform the Minister for Local Government (Minister) of the Council’s endorsement of the Minister recommending to the Governor the establishment of a Joint Organisation (Joint Organisation) in accordance with this resolution.
2.2 To approve the inclusion of the Council’s area in the Joint Organisation area.
2.3 That the Joint Organisation be established to cover the Council’s area and any one or more of the following council areas:
2.3.1 Clarence Valley Council
2.3.2 Nambucca Shire Council
2.4 That, on the expiry of a period of 28 days from the making of this resolution, the General Manager provide the Minister:
2.4.1 with a copy of this resolution including the date on which Council made this resolution, and
2.4.2 inform the Minister that this resolution has not been rescinded, for the purpose of the Minister issuing a certificate under section 400P of the Act.
3. Should a Joint Organisation comprising Coffs Harbour City, Clarence Valley and Nambucca Shire local government areas be established, Bellingen Shire Council be invited to join as a member of the subject Joint Organisation on approval to withdraw from the announced Mid North Coast Joint Organisation, or alternatively be offered associate membership.
The Amendment on being put to the meeting was carried unanimously.
The AMENDMENT then became the MOTION.
The Motion on being put to the meeting was carried unanimously.