Corowa and Urana shires will remain merged under the auspice of Federation Council after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed no de-mergers were on the agenda.
Doubt surrounding the future of merged councils was raised early this month amid speculation the new NSW Premier was considering halting forced council mergers still in contention and dismantling those already completed.
The speculation, at least in part, proved unfounded as Ms Berejiklian confirmed on Tuesday that all merged councils across NSW would remain in place to “enjoy the benefits of savings and improvements to services”.
Supported by Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton, Ms Berejiklian said, “since becoming Premier, the Deputy Premier and I have been travelling across NSW, listening to the views and considering the evidence.
“In addition to maintaining all existing mergers, we will push ahead with those councils in Sydney that are before the courts,” Ms Berejiklian said.
However Ms Berejiklian did confirm that the NSW Government would not proceed with plans to combine regional councils that are yet to be merged.
“Whilst there have been a number of significant improvements in merged regional councils, we accept that a one size fits all model does not always apply outside Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The financial benefits over the next 20 years will be 6 times greater in the Sydney councils than those in regional areas.”
Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government was committed to listening, and delivering, for the communities across regional NSW.
“Local councils in the bush have done their fair share to contribute to stronger local government in NSW and today we draw a line under local government amalgamations in the regions,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This decision has been made to ensure that we put an end to the confusion and uncertainty for those councils locked in drawn-out legal battles.
“I am looking forward to the local government elections in September to restore local decision-making to our regions.”
The Premier said new councils created last year, including Federation Council, would continue to serve their communities.
“New councils across NSW have been working hard to deliver better services for their communities,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Residents and ratepayers would be worse off if this was undone.”