A draft of the submission was presented to Council at today’s February meeting — the first Ordinary Meeting for 2014.
Wakool Shire Council Mayor Neil Gorey said Council’s response had been developed in consideration of whether communities would be better off under the recommendations.
“Council has also considered two important principles in our response to the recommendations — services to our communities as well as community representation,” Cr Gorey said.
“First and foremost, Council does not believe services and representation will be improved by Wakool becoming part of an amalgamated Conargo/Deniliquin/Murray council. In fact, we have grave concerns about how community representation and services would be improved under this recommendation.”
Cr Gorey added that there were some recommendations Council agreed with, including the creation of a Lower Murray Joint Organisation.
“Obviously there would be plenty of questions about how a joint organisation would work. It must be able to deliver improved services to our communities,” he said.
“Councils could provide specific services across this particular organisation. For example, Wakool could provide health and building services, as well as bridge building capability.”
Cr Gorey said that while Wakool Shire was not opposed to the recommendation to become a Rural Council, it would need more information about it would operate.
“We’re happy to work with the Division of Local Government to see if this would work for Wakool.”
In its submission, Council has also agreed with measures to tackle the infrastructure backlog and improve service delivery.
“In fact, we would be prepared to participate in a pilot around these measures proposed by the Independent Panel and other recommendations,” Cr Gorey said.
Council also agreed with the Independent Panel’s recommendations to change the Council rating system, including replacement or streamlining of rate-pegging.