Council to consider whether to ‘join or go it alone’.

By The Editor

At its 14 June meeting the Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC) has a number of  issues to ponder.  Not the least of which is to decide whether it will become one of the very last councils in regional  NSW to sign up to be a member of a Joint Organisation (JO).

The council is in receipt of a letter from the Deputy Premier and the Minister for Local Government which in essence states that the CHCC’s option of joining with Grafton in the north is not sustainable and that it needs to decide whether to join with Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Nambucca and Bellingen in the Mid-North Coast JO (MNC-JO) or to remain aloof and alone.

Jenny Clark, a respondent to Outlook, has highlighted in the past that;

Fifty three other regional NSW councils think joining together to at least try and get some economies of scale is a good idea for their ratepayers and at least two, the Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC) and the Nambucca Shire Council, don’t agree.

Like mushrooms the ratepayers of the CHCC at least are ‘kept in the dark and fed the proverbial’ as to why our Council’s ‘wisdom’ is better than that of the 53 other regional councils.

The words ‘lonely shag on a rock’ together with that grand old Greek word, ‘hubris’, spring to mind in regards to the CHCC on this one. I’m really not sure where Nambucca is coming from. But Bellingen thinks both those Councils are wrong.”

This is not some small matter.  Choosing whether to be part of a JO clearly matters to the NSW State Government and it is an issue that appears to broadly have bipartisan support in State Parliament. Failure to be involved in the MNC-JO will have economy of scale ramifications as Jenny Clark rightly states.  And they potentially have consequences that are worn by ratepayers in the long run. So this is no small decision.

We will be watching the choice the CHCC makes on this issue with particular interest as this judgment has the potential to tell us way more about the thinking of Councillors in relation to ‘the bigger picture’ than so far they seem to have appreciated and to also show that hubris is not the case.

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