GWYDIR Shire Council will continue to resist talks of amalgamation with Moree Plains Shire Council following a report from the Independent Local Government Review Panel.
The Twenty Essential Steps – Future Directions for NSW Local Government report released earlier this year listed preferred options for council amalgamations, leading to concerns from local residents and staff.
Gwydir council, which was formed with the amalgamation of the former Bingara and Yallaroi councils in 2004, held a whole-staff meeting this week to assure employees there wouldn’t be any changes in the near future.
The report recommended a reduction in the number of NSW councils from 223 to 97.
Under the preferred options, Gwydir and Moree councils would be amalgamated and Glen Innes Severn Council would merge with Tenterfield Shire Council.
County councils would be established, with Tamworth, Gunnedah, Narrabri and Liverpool Plains making up Namoi County Council and Armidale, Inverell, Guyra, Walcha and Uralla would make up the Northern Tablelands County Council.
Gwydir Shire Council general manager Max Eastcott said the elected council was opposed to any merger discussions.
“Nothing will happen until after the next state election and we’ll continue to resist attempts to merge,” Mr Eastcott said.
“There were some concerns from staff, but if we were amalgamated, all jobs would be protected for at least three years from the date of amalgamation.”
Mr Eastcott said the Gwydir area covered nearly 10,000sq km and close to 2500km in roads.
He said amalgamation could result in a loss of services to the Bingara and Warialda communities.
“The report looked for one solution, which was amalgamation,” Mr Eastcott said.
Moree mayor Katrina Humphries said she wasn’t sure what would happen with the merger.
“The way the state government is overriding local government you wouldn’t know what they’d do,” Cr Humphries said.