Media Release: Councils Moving from ‘Status Pending’ to Superior Performance

27 March 2017

Forced amalgamations may have been taken off the table for Orange, Cabonne, Blayney, Bathurst and Oberon councils, but the ongoing work to improve financial sustainability continued today at a special meeting in Blayney.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) Chief Executive Donna Rygate was in Blayney to lead a strategic forum for elected officials and senior staff from each of the five councils.
“Now that a long period of uncertainty is finally at an end, we can focus 100 per cent on the future,” Ms Rygate said.
“While Orange, Cabonne, Blayney, Bathurst and Oberon have all continued to deliver throughout, the controversial forced amalgamation debate has obviously absorbed a significant amount of time and attention.
“Councillors and staff have worked valiantly to balance business-as-usual requirements with the development of improvement plans and responses to Government merger proposals.
“They’ve had to manage both community and staff expectations in an uncertain time.
“But now we finally have some clear air, enabling a 100% focus on achieving the best possible outcomes for local communities, residents and ratepayers into the future.”
Ms Rygate said the rapidly-approaching local government elections, scheduled for September 9, meant that there was a great deal of work to be done in a relatively short period of time.
“There is no doubt that many councils were delighted by the Government’s decision to scrap further amalgamations,” she said.
“What’s most important is what happens next.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the collaborative and the constructive approach being taken by the Forum’s attendees means a strong and productive future for Central Western communities and the councils that represent them. 
“Today, these councils are demonstrating in a very concrete way that they have moved beyond ‘status pending’ and they’re now focused on superior performance.”
Topics on the forum agenda include the practical implications of changes to the Local Government Act, including the roles of mayors and councillors, internal auditing, professional development, new community engagement requirements and key governance issues.
Financial and resourcing strategies have been given a high priority, along with an update for attendees on current Award negotiations and the LGNSW Capability Framework that's currently under development.
The Central West forum is being hosted by Blayney Shire Council, while subsequent forums will be held at the Maitland Council Chambers on 5 April and the Shellharbour Council Chambers on 11 April.
Media Enquiries
Toni Allan: 0412 774 441