MAYORS and general managers from the eight tablelands councils have met with the Local Government Minister Don Page in Armidale.
Mr Page was the guest of a round table meeting with Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Glen Innes, Gwydir, Inverell, Uralla, Tenterfield, Walcha and New England Weeds councils when he visited on Tuesday.
The main topic, according to onlookers, was the future direction of their councils and local issues.
The minister reiterated there would be no forced amalgamations and assured the council representatives that the NSW government believed local
governments were significant players within the state and it was vital they maintained their independence to allow the decentralisation of decision-making.
“To do this successfully we need to make our councils financially sustainable, so it is vital they work together to improve their efficiency,” Mr Page said.
“This can be done by sharing services, expertise and resources.
“It’s no longer a matter of choice; councils must work more collaboratively to achieve these efficiencies.”
The roundtable meeting lasted more than two hours which gave each council a chance to hear from the minister and ask questions about their councils and local government more generally.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said there were also talks on the soon-to-be released final report from the Independent Local Government Review Panel.
Mr Marshall said the minister spoke about the importance of strong local government being vital to the health of local communities.
“As promised, there will be no forced amalgamations which mean local democracy and identity are
maintained, however, councils have to look more regionally in the delivery of services, procurement and infrastructure,” Mr Marshall said.